2006/10/13

Sony Ericsson W810 Detailed Review

Hace ya casi un mes que me compré un celular Sony Ericsson W810 y menos de dos semanas que le he habilitado acceso a Internet por tecnología EDGE mediante la red de ANCEL. Esta es mi primera experiencia como usuario de un servicio de Internet mobil GPRS, el cual por suerte sólo me cobran una tarifa plana de $70 pesos mensuales, a los cuales se le debe sumar los $100 que como mínimo se le debe acreditar al celular para mantenerlo operativo en la red y que pueda acceder al servicio WAP.

Este modelo W810, es el primer teléfono celular multifunción que he comprado, y más que por sus funciones telefónicas lo compré con el fin de usarlo principalmente para acceder a Internet a un precio mensual económico y así disminuir lo más posible el uso del modem o las horas transcurridas en un ciber café, y así depaso aprovecho lo ahorrado para acelerar la comprar de algunas otras cosas a las que ahora les doy más prioridad que a engancharme otra vez por un año con el pago de una conexión full internet a $890 pesos. Es más mientras aprovecho la conexión limitada a Internet que me ofrece este celular le doy tiempo a ANCEL para que baje un poco más el costo del servicio ADSL.

Instead of writing a verbose and lengthy review I prefer to be synthetic and point out the W810 main Pro and Cons from my new user point of view:

Pros:

1. Very cool minimalist design
2. Efficient keypad lighting with ambient light sensor
3. FM radio station auto-scan and memory function
4. Built-in image editor can easily crop images to be used as screen background
5. To save battery life at home or while we are not on the move, the W810 can be used with the AC adapter/charger attached or connected to a powered USB port.
6. Nice collection of games, applications, (animated) background pictures, themes and MP3 and MIDI ringtones available for free to download into this model from Sony Ericsson website.
7. 512 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo card and Memory Stick adapter included.
8. Cool in-ear heaphones with three differently sized earbuds replacements. These headphones' excellent bass response renders Megabass equalizer option almost overkill, while this setting is really required to get good bass response in other third party headphones.
9. You can plug your favorite headphones into a standard headphone jack located in the handsfree cable mic pod if you don't like the included in-ear headphones stuck deep into your ears. You will just have to handle double the cable length and try to avoid tangle.
10. RSS News Reader midlet pre-installed. Most reviews say this program is accesible from the Messaging menu but, at least in my phone it is found as a standalone item in File Manager's Applications submenu.
11. EDGE network support. An "E" will be displayed above the signal strentgh bars if EDGE network is reachable.
12. Battery can be charged through a USB port although this option is much slower than using the AC adaptor charger. Try turning off the phone after connecting the USB port for faster battery charging.
13. 2 mega pixels still camera with auto-focus, macro mode, night mode and camera mirror for self-portraits.
14. Camera light. Operation modes are: constant light, one minute auto-off and SOS signal.
15. USB mass storage. When connected to a computer through the included propietary USB cable, the internal phone memory and memory stick card file systems are seen as independent USB drives by Windows File Manager
16. Text files and complete (with images) HTML pages stored in memory open in the browser
17. The included Sony Ericsson MMS Home Studio (template editor), can be used to transfer selectable text into the phone.

Cons:

1. Some included videos, ringstones, pictures, themes and songs are permanently deleted when you perform a complete Master Reset.
2. "Fully charged" screen is only displayed when the phone is turned off while charging. If you charge the phone in stand-by mode the battery icon does not indicate current charging level; you have to click the lateral plus-minus key to display the phone status screen and scroll down to see the battery status.
3. Propietary USB cable connector. Mini-USB connectors used in Motorola and other brands could soon become a standard for mobile phones. Mini-USB connectors are also supported by Asus optional card reader/gadget charger drive bay console.
4. Phone's web browser Netfront 3.2. can save complete pages in MHT format but cannot load these saved files for offline vieweing.
5. MIDI ringtones or files can only be played with the file manager. They are not playable in the walkman application.
6. No built-in standard headphone jack.
7. No Wi-Fi antenna
8. No Video-call front camera
9. No stereo Bluetooth support
10. Camera light must be turn on/off manually, decreasing battery life.
11. Camera shutter sound cannot be disabled and its level is not adjustable.
12. No camera lens cover
13. Handsfree cable must be attached for the radio to operate, even if you want to listen to the radio through the speakers.
14. No AM radio band support
15. No native support for synchronization with any popular media player.
16. No standard playlist support
17. While the screen is off during standby, you can press the laterall plus-minus key to display time in large bold numbers in a white background. Given the screen size, I consider displaying just the time in such a raw style a waste of resources. Let's also display at least the date, battery level and missed calls, new messages indicators.
18. When you turn on the phone an optional screen asks if you want to turn on the fully functional phone or just the walkman feature. This set of options could be extended with options like "just the radio", "just the camera", "just the organizer".
19. When you connect the phone into a computer USB port a screen asks if you want to turn the phone or the file transfer feature. I would like an additional option to just charge the battery.
20. Still camera auto-focus is slow to engage
21. To view thumbnails of pictures taken with the camera you have to exit the camera application and go to File Manager -> Pictures -> Camera Photos
22. Pictures viewed in File Manager can only be zoomed and panned if displayed horizontally as if you where using the phone in camera mode. There's a trick to be able to zoom portrait photos: rotate them twice using the built-in PhotoDJ application, so when you set them to display horizontally you will actually see them in portrait orientation with the zoom/pan feature enabled.
23. Video playback cannot be looped
24. No support for video playlists
25. Installed applications (midlets) cannot be backup to a PC through Bluetooth or USB cable. You have to download each application JAD and/or JAR with a desktop PC
26. Sony Ericsson Sync Manager does not support Palm Desktop for syncing notes, calendar or contacts
27. Sony Ericsson's online phone setup web service didn't sent to my phone the promised SMS messages containing WAP and MMS setup.
28. My phone has T9 dictionaries for Spanish, Chinese, French and Portugueese but lacks a T9 dictionary for English and it looks to be a fixed setup.
29. Internet Explorer's bookmark file is not compatible with the built-in Netfront browser bookmark file format, so you can't paste your desktop bookmarks into your phone memory and expect them to be operational, usually the url will be almost blank. Wierd!
30. Sony Ericsson desktop Image Editor fixed JPEG image compression results in unacceptable poor quality images

About Memory Stick Pro Duo

Memory Stick Pro Duo is a propietary memory card format just available from Sony. There are fake memory cards arround which do not even bother to feature false model and serial numbers in the card back side.

Battery Charge Status While Charging

How to know when the battery is fully charged while using the AC charger?
When you press the OK key the phone screen will turn on and eventually display "Fully Charged" only if you follow next steps:
1. Connect the AC charger to the phone
2. Connect the AC charger to an electrical outlet
3. Turn off the phone. The phone will reinitiate in charging only mode.
Supposedly this way to charge the phone is also faster than doing it with the phone in stand by operation.
When the phone screen indicates to be fully charged, disconnect the phone from the AC cable, then disconnect the AC charger from the electrical outlet and finally turn on the phone.

By the end of this year I will make a second rerview of this gadget and tell you how it has change my lifestyle, if I am still satisfied with it and if I feel my investment was worth the price.