3G WCDMA 2100MHz and tri-band 2G GSM connectivity
Keep connected around the world with the multimode WCDMA/GSM W850i. The handset supports the high speed WCDMA 2100MHz network, and three lower speed GSM networks: GSM 900, 1800, and 1900MHz.
The W850i will automatically switch between a 3G or 2G signal when required, and change 2G network bands without any user input to achieve the best signal. You can use the W850i on most continents around the globe, except those which use the GSM 800MHz network like the Americas.
Compact sliding form factor
The sliding form factor is a style that we haven’t seen from Sony Ericsson before – the company have usually opted mostly for the clamshell or swivel form factor outside of the standard candy bar.
Sony Ericsson have done well with the W850i, making it a lightweight and extremely durable handset. The W850i weighs around 116grams and measures 98 х 47 х 21 mm.
240 x 320 pixel 262,144 colour TFT LCD display
The 240 x 320 pixel TFT LCD on the W850i can display about 8 lines of text (with the status bar and soft key text labels shown) at once, and is capable of displaying up to 262,144 colours.
This display is perfect for the 2mpx camera viewfinder, where images and video look pristine! The media player on the handset is also capable of playing video clips full screen, and there is a full screen slideshow feature in the image viewer application.
2mpx digital camera with 4x digital zoom
The digital camera on the W850i can capture still images up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. The camera is also capable of video recording with or without audio. There is a dedicated flash for capturing images in low-lighting situations, and a dedicated camera shutter key on the right hand side of the handset. The camera application is aligned horizontally to give you a similar feel as to when you’re using a regular digital camera.
Unfortunately the W850i’s camera does not have auto focusing abilities, or a macro mode for close up shots. For more information on this, and the rest of the cameras’ functionality, check the Camera Performance section on page two.
Memory Stick Pro Duo support
Sony Ericsson have added a Memory Stick Pro Duo port to the W850i, which can be accessed from the top of the handset (hot-swappable). I’m a bit confused as to why Sony Ericsson opted for this type of memory format, when they only recently released their new smaller M2 memory format.
Never the less, the W850i’s sales package does come with a huge 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card. This makes the W850i a much more desirable handset for the targeted market, who will use the W850i to listen to their music stored on the handset whilst on the go.
16MB internal memory
A mediocre 16MB of internal memory is available to the user on the Sony Ericsson W850i. That’s enough space for about 2-3 average size high quality MP3 files. Thankfully Sony Ericsson have included a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card in the sales package for additional storage.
While using the W850i I stored almost everything on the external memory card, and left the internal memory space for things like messages, contacts, the calendar, and other functions requiring a slice of the memory. This was also easier to manage when it came to connecting the W850i to a PC using the Mass Storage Device USB profile, which you can only access the Memory Stick Pro Duo in.
SMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging with T9 predictive text
Keep in contact with friends and family with the usual set of messaging features: SMS/EMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging. Enjoy quick messaging with T9 predictive text.
GPRS and WCDMA data
The W850i is compatible with three 2G frequencies and one 3G frequency – allowing you to keep connected around the globe. With support for the 2G GPRS data protocol and the 3G WCDMA protocol, you can also access the internet to download e-mails, browse WAP sites, send and receive MMS messages, and more.
WCDMA offers speeds of up to 384kbp/s, with GPRS around 48kbp/s.
Bluetooth version 2.0 with A2DP stereo profile
Bluetooth version 2.0 can be used to connect with any Bluetooth accessory with the freedom of no wires. Version 2.0 of the specification on the W850i extends the range from the 10m maximum in previous versions, and also includes the A2DP profile.
A2DP offers high quality stereo audio with compatible devices like Bluetooth headphones.
Infrared and USB mass storage connectivity
If Bluetooth isn’t your thing, or you’d rather use a wired option when connecting to a computer, Infrared and USB can be used as an alternative. Infrared is aging technology, but many manufacturers insist on keeping it in their handsets for compatibility.
USB version 2.0 on the W850i includes the USB Mass Storage Device profile for easy drag & drop file transfers with a PC. There is a USB data-cable in the sales package along with a CD full of software for your PC.
Walkman version 2.0 application for music playback
The second version of the Walkman application is installed on the W850i – offering music playback even when the ‘phone’ features of the handset are turned off. For video playback there is a separate media player application, which does support full screen playback.
Upon turning on the W850i the user is prompted to select either flight mode, or phone mode. In phone mode all features that use radio signals (phone calls, GPRS/WCDMA, Stereo FM radio, etc) are unavailable. All other features can be accessed, including the Walkman application. In phone mode you can still access the Walkman application at any time.
The actual application is very well laid out, displaying everything you need to know about the current song playing, and upcoming details about the currently playlist. The artist, song name, and album (discovered through ID3 tagging on MP3 files) are displayed towards the bottom of the screen, and album art (if included) to the right hand side of the screen. The progress indicator is above the ID3 information, and to the left above this is the playback time and total time, and song number/songs left in current playlist.
The middle button of the navigational pad is used to pause/play songs, with left and right used for moving back and forth through the song or skipping to the next/previous song. The Walkman application automatically scans the internal and external memory for compatible audio files to add to the library. To get you started, the W850i’s sales package comes with a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo.
The W850i has an awesome lighting effect for the Walkman application – when started, the row of buttons below the display light up bright orange, including the actual Walkman button. When the application is closed it fades back to white.
Stereo FM radio with RDS
If you’ve finished playing the DJ with the Walkman software, you can easily switch to listening to the FM stereo radio by plugging in the included stereo head phones. The headphones act as the aerial for the FM stereo, so they must be plugged in at all times. You can play the radio through the loudspeaker once you’ve tuned in, though!
The W850i also has RDS technology, which more and more radio stations are now taking advantage of. The technology allows the radio stations to transmit the name, artist, and other information about the song that is currently playing.
TrackID and PlayNow online services
TrackID is Sony Ericsson’s new service which records a small segment of a song, send it off to a music recognition service and then have the details of the song sent back to your phone. The service does use a data connection (GPRS/WCDMA) to send off the recorded segment, so this may attract costs from your provider.
PlayNow is Sony Ericsson’s own ring tone store which provides MP3 ring tones for the top songs in the country, made especially for your handset. The songs do cost to download, and like TrackID you will also be charged data charges from your provider to download the ring tone.