Sony Ericsson W508

The W508 is a great phone for listening to music and playing games, but it's yet another Walkman phone from Sony Ericsson that doesn’t really standout from the pack.


6.9
CNET Rating
6.3
User Rating

View more from Sony Ericsson »

About The Author

CNET Editor

When Irene's not finding reasons to go globetrotting, with a camera almost permanently fixed to her face, she's reading up on all the latest gizmos and gadgets or trying her hand at adventure sports.


Sony Ericsson has quite a few Walkman phones out — fat ones, skinny ones, flashy ones and bland ones. The Sony Ericsson W508 is the current model, and it's of the slim, lightweight and slightly bland type in a clamshell form.

Design and features

At first one could easily be fooled into thinking this was a slim MP3 player and not a flip phone. Coloured in boring grey, the W508 has external music controls, a small OLED screen, a camera lens and the sensor for "Gesture Control" on the exterior. Gesture control is used for muting calls or to snooze an alarm by waving your hand in front of the sensor.

The W508 fits snugly in your palm with the handy controls on the front removing the need to open the clamshell for many operations. The time, battery life and song titles appear on the external display. Also within reach without having to adjust your grip is the volume rocker and hold button (to prevent any accidental bumps from activating the music player) along the right side of the phone.

And if using buttons aren't your style, there is Shake control. By shaking the phone in certain directions it can shuffle music tracks, go to the next or previous song, and control the volume. It's a bit redundant when the keys are all there on the outside of the phone (and you won't have to risk straining your wrist!).

On the left is Sony Ericsson's customary proprietary port for the included charger, USB and headphones (the hands-free headphones have a 3.5mm port).

You also get an orange "Style-Up Cover" if gunmetal grey is not to your liking, plus you have the option of buying other coloured covers. The faceplates are easy to remove and attach, as they're made of a slim plastic that easily click into place. Unfortunately, you can only change the front exterior — the back of the phone will always be grey.

Opening the phone reveals flat circular keys that are evenly spaced from each other. This may take some getting used to, especially when the only thing to feel your way across is the slightly raised border around each key.

On top of the internal 100MB memory, Sony Ericsson has included a 1GB Memory Stick Micro (M2), with the option of expanding it up to 16GB.

The W508 certainly isn't short on features. Besides those mentioned above, for half a grand you get a music player with TrackID and Mega Bass, a 3.2-megapixel camera (no flash), stereo Bluetooth, a speakerphone, video calling, sound recorder, an FM radio, YouTube integration, PC syncing, USB mass storage, modem support, messaging and email, instant messaging, 3D games and a personal organiser.

Performance

Music listening was a joy, it was really smooth, and not thin on bass. The clarity of notes came through nicely via the supplied headphones and speaker. At one point, to our embarrassment, we thought the sound was playing through the headphones when the boss told us to keep it down did we realise it was playing through the speakers.

The external music player controls, which are capacitive buttons, didn't work as well as we had hoped. It took numerous taps (and a few whacks) to get an initial response from the phone, but once we got it started there were no further problems.

Based on where the camera lens is on the flip top, we found that our finger often apperared in photos and we'd have to either angle the phone or the lid to have the lens point straight on rather than downward. Once we got that straight, images appeared crisp and clear on the phone's screen at its highest resolution, and on the PC they looked good too. Both images and videos are viewable at almost all angles on the phone's shiny (and highly reflective) OLED screen.

When making calls, the other parties reported that we came through loud and clear, but we struggled at times when listening to them with background noise melding in and becoming one sound. Putting the volume up didn't help either. We tried calling various people and various phone types (Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson) and found we had the same results.

Sony Ericsson rates battery life of the W508 at 10 hours (2G)/four hours (3G) talk time, 400 hours (2G/3G) on standby, 24 hours of music listening, and up to two hours of video calls. When we used the phone to make calls, listen to non-stop music, play a few games (and leave it to run in the background) and watch the occasional video, the battery lasted for 38 hours. We were impressed with this result and with average use the phone should last a lot longer before needing a charge.

If flip is your favourite style of phone and want a very good MP3 player with a few games, then the W508 is just what you're looking for. Otherwise, Sony Ericsson's previous Walkman models will do the job just as well and at a more affordable price.

Editor's note: Sony Ericsson sent us another phone to review as the original phone we reviewed was buggy. Audio quality was decent in the new handset, with voices sounding natural. Should you have a problem similar to the one we experienced, we highly recommend you take the W508 back to the retailer.

Previous Story

Nokia powering up self-charging phone

Mobile Phones
Next Story

Sony Ericsson W995



Add Your Review 28


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
bobbo
1
Rating
 

bobbo posted a review   

I only got this phone because it was one of only a few models in the store. DO NOT GET this phone. I bought it in August, didn't really use it all fall since I was abroad, and then was immediately faced with problems as soon as I started using it in January. First of all, the action is VERY slow and there is a significant delay any time you press buttons, which confuses you as to what you're actually doing. Sometimes the screen just goes dark for about thirty seconds. Worst of all, though, is that half the time it won't let me do anything at all because it says that my SIM card is inactive or that there isn't a SIM card at all, despite the fact that both the phone and card are effectively brand new. Plus, just today I went out and got a new SIM card and I'm still having this problem. In short, this phone is cheaply made and as a phone performs extremely poorly. I can't speak to the walkman part of it.

guitargirl
9
Rating
 

guitargirl posted a review   

The Good:audio quality, camera. battery life etc...

The Bad:keypad takes some getting used to

remember the days when phones were for calling... how did you survive, I'm happy with everything. Mine is the white and green one (I like green ok!)
in general, I think it's just what I need in a phone, me being a schoolgirl whose life revolves around music...
I'll admit I never liked ericssons, but I can't find a reason to not like this one, it's slim, light, has a better battery life than my old samsung star and the sound quality isn't what i'd expect from a cellphone's speaker.
The system isn't buggy, Mine's never crashed or anything, then again, no cellphone has ever crashed in my posession.
my one problem though is the keypad, it's flat... just like with the samsung, I have to look where I type, but got used to it much quicker than the touch screen.
the music player is better then I expected, If you're playing music in the background, a message pops up on the wallpaper, exterior screen etc. saying "blink182-all the small things" or whatever you're playing, you can immediately skip or change from the shortcut, pause or play and skip without it being flipped open, this is very good if you can remember to turn off the lock,lol.
the phone doesn't have to be a boring grey, mine is white and green, colourful and not at all boring. ask for different colours when you buy, I'm still not sick of the bright lime green yet.
have I mentioned it's just the right size, small enough to carry around in your skinny jeans' pockets, and big enough to actually type with.

 

YuuShi posted a comment   

The Good:The design, messaging.

The Bad:The system.

I had mine for less than a year, and it has began to shows signs of spoiling and it is giving me a BIG headache.
When you're half way messaging then it would suddenly hang, and then the screens will go black and you can't do anything but take out the battery. And I had already went to the repair center and it worked fine for ONE day and the old problem came back. And now, even if you took out the battery and place it back, sometimes it would hang while the phone is starting up. Damn, it has been giving me a lot of headaches and now I hate sony ericsson phones.

 

Donald posted a reply   

That is so very true..i have had it for 7 months now and it has started to lag, show SIM errors, etc. Its really becoming a pain now...

 

Hippie posted a comment   

Should I buy this fone ???

 

Hippie posted a comment   

Should I buy this fone ???

Oldtimer
3
Rating
 

Oldtimer posted a review   

The Good:Good Camera, nice to use

The Bad:Extremely poor battery life

S/E list up to 400 hours battery life on Stand by, mine will give me 4 to 5 days for weeks, then all of a sudden it is down to 48hrs and it is flat.

Adult Human
2
Rating
 

Adult Human posted a review   

The Good:Pretty blue colour

The Bad:Everything else

I've had this "upgrade" less than a week. It's very fiddly to use and requires constant changing of screens to do anything. The txt letters ate tiny and ( so far ) I've been unable to change them. There is no real ring tone ( only songs- and they're crap) and worst it CANNOT hold a charge. Light-normal use and the battery's flat with 24 hours. DON'T BUY ONE! You have been advised.

 

sakura posted a comment   

The Good:pic quality,sounds n evrythng!!!!

The Bad:pix shaking,cannot take pic at the front lense...dats oLLLL~~~

i lov my fon anyway!!! nothng is perfct!!!


Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Sony Ericsson W508

  • bobbo

    bobbo

    Rating1

    "I only got this phone because it was one of only a few models in the store. DO NOT GET this phone. I bought it in August, didn't really use it all fall since I was abroad, and then was immediately ..."

  • guitargirl

    guitargirl

    Rating9

    "remember the days when phones were for calling... how did you survive, I'm happy with everything. Mine is the white and green one (I like green ok!)
    in general, I think it's just what I need..."

  • YuuShi

    YuuShi

    "I had mine for less than a year, and it has began to shows signs of spoiling and it is giving me a BIG headache.
    When you're half way messaging then it would suddenly hang, and then the scre..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products