We all remember how the Walkman revolutionized the way we listened to music back in the 70's. Now it's legacy lives on only in the digital media players and Sony Ericsson's W – series. The Sony Ericsson Xperia W8 is an Android Eclair 2.1 powered smartphone trying to revive the Walkman brand. It was built using the Xperia X8 as a template and promise do deliver a very easy to use and fast interface and great audio quality.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia W8 is basically a Xperia X8 with the Walkman logo and different colors. You get the same 3” 320*480 resolution capacitive display. Which is pretty good, with natural looking colors and pretty good viewing angles. One problem is that the screen tends to flicker for a few seconds when you turn it on and another is sunlight legibility.
The Xperia W8 measures 99 x 54 x 15 and weighs 104 grams. The body is made entirely of plastic with the back cover resembling anodized aluminum. The front of the device holds the 3” display, 3 hardware keys under it, earpiece,sensors and secondary VGA camera above. The left side is bare while the right side holds the camera key and volume rocker. On top we find the micro USB port, the 3.5mm jack and the power key. The back holds the 3.2MPx camera. Remove the back cover and you get a 1200 mAh battery that gives the W8 up to 446 h (476 h in 3G) of stand by and up to 4 h 45 min of talk time.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia W8 is powered by a 600 MHz ARM 11 processor with Adreno 200 GPU and runs Android 2.1 Eclair with UX interface. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use. The down side is that each of the homescreens can hold only one widget but you can put one shortcut in each corner of the screen.
In terms of software you get Timescape(which acts like a social hub but also keeps track of your messages and call logs, YouTube player, Google Maps and Wisepilot. In terms of connectivity you get quad band GSM, tri band HSDPA, Wi-FI, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, MicroUSB and FM radio. The built in browser supports both pinch zoom and Adobe Flash.
The 3.2 MPx camera is average. Pictures have a fair amount of detail but are a bit blurry because of the lack of auto focus. Also you don't get a flash. Video recording is done in VGA resolution @ 30fps. Watching movies on the W8 is not something you would want to do every day because of the small display and the low compatibility with video files.
In terms of music you get a great set of premium earphones/hands-free with media and volume controls and great sound quality. The audio player is quite basic, we would have expected more from a Walkman orientated phone but you can always download another from the Android market. We were surprised to see that the audio player lacked the equalizer function and the Mega bass option. Overall listening to music is a very pleasant experience but mostly because of the great headset but we would have expected more from the W8, at least the in call quality is decent.
Overall the Sony Ericsson Xperia W8 is a simple to use, basic smartphone that doesn't quite bring back the Walkman brand. The aging Android 2.1 Eclair OS, the basic music player and small display aren't selling points. But if you want a basic smartphone/music player with great headphone than this is a good choice.