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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.
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.
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.
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.
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