Sony Ericsson has announced that it plans to fully converge its 'W' and 'C' brands at some point in the near future, offering no real distinction in terms of a choice between photography or music - just equal quality levels of both.

We liked

Certainly the inclusion of an 8.1 megapixel camera on a Walkman phone makes a clear statement that this is a phone aiming for the best of both worlds, and it's borrowed some of our favourite features from the Cybershot series, such as BestPic, smile detection and its 16x digital zoom (the quality at full zoom deteriorates of course, but to nowhere near the extent that we'd feared).

Sony Ericsson's Walkman music player has all its usual features, such as the Clear Stereo and Clear Bass audio enhancements, as well as the SensMe emotional playlists and TrackID for identifying unknown tunes on the onboardFM radio.

There's a five-band graphic equaliser too, as well as the best supplied ear buds we've yet received with a camphone - despite the presence of a 3.5mm jack plug (the first Walkman phone to have one) this was the first time we really didn't feel we needed it.

Sony Ericsson's new MediaGo media syncing software for PC and Mac isn't up there with iTunes but it's a big improvement on the rather basic Sony Ericsson PC Suite or even Sony's Media Manager in terms of intuitiveness and versatility. It also offers free full-length movies, at least for the next 12 months, via Sony's PlayNow Arena download service.

We disliked

That video stand seems like a good idea, but it's a shame it had to be so flimsy - we can image seeing quite a few disfigured W995s over the next few months as the stands feel like they'd be easy to accidentally snap off.

The camera is a slight disappointment, if only because our expectations were so high. The quality of the pictures doesn't put it clearly in front of other 8 megapixel warriors such as the LG Renoir or Samsung's Pixon M8800.

But that said, there's not a great deal in it, and it's still a more than decent camera.

The problem with full-featured media phones is that you're tempted to use them a lot, whether it be for web browsing, video viewing, music listening or even the odd phone call. Unfortunately, the battery on the W995 won't win any awards for longevity, especially if you're planning to make full use of
the phone's capabilities.

Verdict

We liked the Sony Ericsson W995 - it's still very much a music phone, and it does it better than virtually anything bar the iPod, and even though its camera isn't quite at the top of the 8 megapixel game, it's certainly good enough to make it worth your while.

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