Sony Ericsson W580 Walkman Phone

The W580 Walkman phone is one of the few slider form factor devices that Sony Ericsson currently produces. In terms of hardware, this quad-band GSM/EDGE handset and the non-Walkman S500, which was released a month and a half later, are near clones. The W580 gains the advantage of the better music player as well as a built-in pedometer, something we first saw on the W710 last year. With an attractive shape and Sony Ericsson's thoughtful user interface, the W580 appears to have what it takes to be a standout handset in a crowded market.

The W580 is a moderately sized phone. It weighs just a hair over 93g (3.7oz) and measures up at 100mm x 47mm x 15mm (3.9" x 1.9" x .6") in size. That's fairly compact. The 2", 262k color TFT display on the front of the device, though small, is pretty bright and is generally readable in all lighting conditions. The phone's gray plastic cover, with its metallic blue highlights, is quite attractive and stays clean looking. A simple chrome volume control is on the left edge of the W580, the power switch and M2 memory card slot are located on the top, and the fast port data/headset connector is located on the right side. The bottom of the device has a bend to it that houses the internal antenna and adds a nice twist to the design.

While the d-pad and surrounding buttons are accessible at all times, the keypad and the camera stay out of view until the W580 is opened up. The d-pad itself has a pretty nice feel to it, but is hampered a bit by the raised rim that surrounds it. That rim is used by the thumb to open and close the slider mechanism, so I understand why it is there. The softkeys, back and C keys, and the dedicated Walkman and shortcuts keys all work well, though the later two are quite small. Small also describes the alphanumeric keys on the keypad. They have a reasonable feel to them, but the overall design of the keypad is somewhat cramped, though very attractive. At least the keys are backlit properly and are very easy to read. The camera sits behind the W580's display, and is surrounded by the same metallic blue material used elsewhere on the phone. It is cool looking, and quite obvious.

Speaking of cool and obvious, the W580 is equipped with what Sony Ericsson calls light effects. These lights are located behind the W580's softkeys and shine out the sides of the device in various shades and patterns. The lights will tell the W580 user when a call or messaging is arriving, and can be configured to be off, on, or on only when the phone is in silent mode. There are 16 different color patterns that users can chose from.

In addition to the gray with blue color scheme of our review unit, a white with orange version of the W580 is also available. We have also been told to expect a black with orange version to become available starting sometime in October.