Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman smartphone review

Walkman-branded budget music phone with Android-like OS
Photo of Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman smartphone
£100 , SIM-free

The Sony Ericsson Walkman has its work cut out. With Android smartphones coming with music playback features built in, and plenty of additional audio apps available from the Android Market, you have to wonder what it can do that’s so special.

Small, neat, customisable
Well, music capability aside this is a small, neat handset that’s suitable for little fingers and little pockets. Its screen measures a dainty 3in across diagonal corners and delivers at a relatively low 400×240 pixels.

Our review handset was black with a sliver band round the edges, and you can customise this band. Our box had a lime green alternative that was quite easy to fit. Overall specifications fit in with the £110 price tag, with a 3.2-megapixel camera, 100MB of built-in storage and an operating system which is designed to look like a skinned version of Android but isn’t Android at all.

Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman

Sluggish performance
Unfortunately that proprietary operating system is a bit of a let-down. You get just two home screens, one of which presents the date and time while the other gives you quick access to contacts and social media updates. There’s an overlay to these two screens that’s very like the skin Sony Ericsson applies to Android with its neat little corner icons, but the comparisons to Android aren’t really born out in practice. The OS used here feeling clunky by comparison.

Moreover the Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman lacks 3G, which seems like a huge omission these days. Wi-Fi is present, though. Messaging is hampered by the use of an alphanumeric keyboard in both wide and tall screen modes. Yes, there’s predictive text, but the lack of Qwerty feels, like the rest of this handset, actually, rather old-fashioned. Web browsing is another area that suffers – there’s no Flash, sites take a long time to load, and zooming is tricky. Auto-rotate into wide mode helps, but not a lot.

Music features
The Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman is arguably all about music, so it could redeem itself if it does music well. A button on the top edge takes you straight to the music player, and a second button causes ‘Zappin’ to kick in. This gives short bursts of the intro sections of tunes so you can find what you want to listen to easily.

Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman

There’s a on-screen ‘karaoke effect’ button, which tries to remove voices so that you can sing the lyrics yourself. It is only partly effective, turning voices into an echo-ey but very much still present sound.

The Mix Walkman’s speaker is loud but quality isn’t great, and we weren’t overly impressed by the bundled headset, either. You may well find using your own headphones improves things. We did. The lack of built-in storage for music and absence of a bundled SD card really rankles, too.

Company: Sony Ericsson

Website: http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/mobilephones/overview/mix-walkman-phone?cc=gb&lc=en#view=overview

Positives
  • Compact and low-cost.
Negative
  • Doesn't have enough music speciality; generally disappointing.

Verdict

Sony Ericsson really hasn't done enough here to make the musical aspects of the Mix Walkman stand out - and without the added allure of 3G or an app store to expand on what's on board (though Java apps are supported) we find this handset hard to recommend.