Sony Ericsson – W595 review

neat slider phone with its own headphones splitter
Photo of Sony Ericsson – W595
£175 (SIM-free), from £free on contract

Sony Ericsson doesn’t always get the design of its mobiles right. Most significantly, buttons can be too small and fiddly for the average finger to get to grips with. And then there is the ridiculous shake control system where you waggle the phone left and right to move between tracks, up and down to change volume. Bizarre.

Shake control is here, though you can easily ignore it as you have to hold a side button down to use it. But the hardware design is, for our money, immaculate.

This HSDPA handset is a slider. The fascia has a rubbery texture that assists with grip and the slide mechanism is smooth, making this feel like a more expensive handset than it actually is.

The front buttons run to a set of music playback controls on the D-pad. When you’ve activated the camera its central button shoots photos, while pressing its sides moves you between the gallery, stills shooting and video shooting.

To the left and right of the D-pad are button arrays in a sideways-on horseshoe arrangement. These give you access to Call and End, softmenus, Clear and the good old Sony Ericsson Activity menu which lets you get to running applications, your own shortcuts, alerts and Internet stuff.

Sliders should be small and this one meets that requirement. When closed the W595 comes in at 100mm tall. When opened it stretches to 130mm. It is 47mm wide, 14mm thick and weighs 104g.

Inside the slide the keys are individually shaped and have a distinctive look but they remain easy to use. Sony Ericsson proves with this phone that it can marry distinctive looks with good usability.

The screen is a bit on the small side at 2.2 inches, but at least it benefits from a motion sensor so when you twist the phone in your hands the screen swivels round obligingly.

As a Walkman branded handset you’ll probably like the 2GB Memory Stick Micro that augments the 40MB of built-in memory. Less pleasant is the proprietary headset connector which Sony Ericsson insists on bundling with its handsets. When the phone’s design is as neat as this one, the bulky side-mounted connector is tedious.

Interestingly enough, though, the cable ends not with the headset itself but with a two-way splitter for 3.5mm jacks. You and a friend can share your music with this arrangement, though the splitter itself is a bulky item to carry.

You might think that music is at the heart of things with this phone and you’d be right. But there is another multimedia asset here. The YouTube application that is on-board lets you download content and you can upload to your account too.

The 3.2-megapixel camera lacks autofocus or flash and we found it to have a fair amount of shutter lag. There is a front-facing camera for video calling and plenty of additional software including pedometer software Walk Mate, an FM radio and a Web browser.

Company: Sony Ericsson

Contact: 08705 237 237

Sony Ericsson proves it can do good design with this handset and it is a very neat mid-range option. Just don't expect perfect photos every time, or that the headphones will slip into the tiniest of pockets.