sony ericsson w395

Sony Ericsson's W395 is a likeable budget Walkman handset with a cracking audio performance. Its other features may feel standard issue low budget, and its build may feel a bit plasticky, but it's a straightforward to use no-fuss slider mobile that has some appeal to younger phone buyers - particularly those who want to use those loud speakers to pump out their tunes.

We liked:

The high quality music player performance really pumps up the W395's appeal; it's a chief selling point of any Walkman phone, and the earphones deliver.

Packing in a 1GB Memory Stick Micro card provides enough tune-playing room to get you started, and it's easy to swap cards on the move without fiddling with the back or battery.

The stereo speakers on the back pack quite a punch – they're LOUD, if not particularly subtle – but don't expect much in terms of decent bass.

The camera puts in an adequate performance for an entry-level 2-megapixel shooter, providing decent enough snaps without being stand-out for this class. The user interface overall is also straightforward to operate, and the controls responsive.

We disliked:

Music-wise, that lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket or adaptor, and the positioning of the connector socket on the side of the phone are, once again, disappointing in a Walkman music-orientated handset.

The lack of 3G is naturally going to be a drawback, and the mobile browser experience has a low-grade clunky feel to it. Mobile optimised sites work fine, but its target audience may have higher expectations for the device. Email set-up is too clunky for a phone pitched at this level too; an automated system, as used on Sony Ericsson's more mid-tier phones would be far more user-friendly.

No onboard flash means the camera isn't much use in dark environments, which could be a drawback too for its target audience. And the small, low res display isn't ideal for onscreen content viewing.

Verdict:

Any Walkman phone is asking to be judged on its musical merits, and the budget Sony Ericsson W395 kicks in with a very ear-pleasing music player experience. Sure, there are compromises, and the W395 is far from the most feature-heavy of handsets out there around this sort of price level.

There's plenty more it could have packed in, but as it stands, its key features – including that loud loudspeaker - will have plenty of appeal for its younger target audience who are after a high quality tune-playing mobile that's got enough of the other stuff too.