The thin and sexy W580i brings great new meaning to walking with your phone. It's ideal for musically-inclined health junkies that loves to walk, run or jog with their MP3 player and their phone. The phone is sleek and lightweight but also solidly built.
The W580i is one of the latest Walkman phones from Sony Ericsson. Sporting a slim design measuring 99 by 47 by 14mm and weighing just 94 grams, the W580i is packed with some funky features such as an MP3 player, radio and a pedometer that counts your steps. These could be seen as just gimmicks but at the end of the day you're carrying less.
For those less concerned about music and step counting, the W580i displays a brilliant, clear TFT screen with 262K colours and 240 by 320 pixels. The 2-megapixel camera protected beneath the closed slide records both stills and video and has a variety of shooting modes and functions including night mode, blogging, panorama, sepia and black and white effects, minus a flash. White balance and picture quality is, to an extent, adjustable. With 12MB internal memory and a 512MB Memory Stick Micro M2 included in the box, the W580i is built well with a nice look and feel. It comes in three styles (white with orange, black with orange and grey with blue) and even has coloured lights streaming out of it when the phone rings.
Being that it is a slider phone, the keypad is set in and can be difficult to press keys with larger fingers. The navigation buttons are well sized and the layout is typical of most Sony Ericssons, making it easy to use.
This phone has been marketed as a "Street Style Walkman Phone" for active people. Its list of features fit this description well and set it aside from the rest of the Sony Ericsson models. As mentioned, it's a portable MP3 player, a camera, a camcorder, a radio tuner, a pedometer and a mobile web browser. It supports quad-band GSM and EDGE networks -- it's not 3G unfortunately.
Like many of the latest Sony Ericsson phones, Java games and applications, blogs, RSS feeds and music recognition are available on the W580i as well as the standard organiser applications including calculator, alarm clock, calendar, notes, phone book, flight mode, stopwatch and timer.
It also has a feature called "Shake to Shuffle" where you can randomly select a song by shaking it. It's funky, doesn't always work so well, but again, another gimmick where changing a track is just as easy as pressing a button.
The battery life on the W580i is pretty standard with approximately nine hours talk time and 370 hours standby time. Call quality is fairly good, although our review model cut out a few times where we had to restart the phone. Talking on the slider phone was quite comfortable whether the phone was open or closed.
The 2-megapixel camera and clear screen provided good picture quality. Having the camera integrated in the slide allows the lens to be protected. Unlike other Sony Ericsson phones, the W580i is usually held in portrait orientation as opposed to switching to the landscape position when taking a photo. We found this quite handy for capturing those random, once-in-a-life time shots.
The most unique feature of the W580i is the built-in pedometer. It is not the most accurate meter as most of the time you're either holding the phone or it's in a bag or pocket and not secured on the hip for the most accurate measurement. So for the enthusiastic step counter, we'd suggest buying a real pedometer with a clip.
The sound quality is good for a personal music player. Having the music player on loudspeaker distorts the sound a bit, but this isn't a major concern as its not often you play portable music out loud. The FM radio tuner doesn't have great reception and often while travelling we needed to turn the radio to mono mode and switch off the RDS in order to reduce the crackle. As with any portable radio, this is to be expected and it's easy to flick to the MP3 player when the radio gets snowed under. The portable hands-free kit also doubles as a radio tuner for the phone and comes with noise-cancelling ear buds.
One little annoying thing that we did find with the W580i is that the phone can't be locked after using it with the slider closed and it doesn't have an automatic lock.
This is clearly not a high-end phone and the feature performance is quite standard. It's definitely made for active people and we'd recommend it to anyone who wants a thin slider phone.