As a Walkman handset, music is obviously the core skill for the W995 and it has all the features we've come to expect, with exceptionally good sound quality augmented by Clear Stereo and Clear Bass features, as well as a five-band graphic equaliser and FM radio with RDS.
But the W995 comes with its own set of external stereo speakers.
They do a good job of augmenting the handset's own stereo output, and provide enough volume to fill a medium-size room with background sounds. They run off the phone's battery though, and there's no way to plug either into the mains when they're connected, so it's a feature you'll want to use sparingly.
SPEAKERS: they do a good job but we'd still recommend using the supplied earphones wherever possible
The supplied headphones are supposedly the best that Sony Ericsson can offer and they are indeed very good, with a pleasingly broad dynamic range and decent levels of bass. This is the first Walkman phone with a 3.5mm jack plug – and the first time we've felt that we didn't really need it.
The W995 plays MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC and WMA audio formats (but no ATRAC, which seems to have been left out to quietly die by Sony) and MPEG-4 and WMV formats for video.
Playback quality was generally decent enough considering the size of the screen, though not all formats can be shown full screen – so widescreen movie trailers for instance played with black bars on top and bottom.
MUSIC & VIDEO: the W995 is a great little media player but falls behind many of its big touchscreen rivals
The new MediaGo syncing software is a boon, making it easier to sync media with your PC or Mac. There's even an online store, not that there's a lot on it just yet, and a selection of free movies via the PlayNow Arena online service, which offers locked ODF files.
They're not great movies in truth, Jackass 2.5 was the best available last we looked (no, really), but it does offer an easy way to get full-length, free and legal films onto phone, and Sony Ericsson says it will be adding five new films each month.