Sony Ericsson is gradually moving towards concentrating on mid to high range handsets, but there’s no denying that the Swedish manufacturer’s current portfolio includes a phone for all, and the W395 hits the low-to-mid budget, just above the W205 in the scale.
The first thing that you’ll notice with the W395 is its pretty decent styling. There doesn’t seem to be any cutting of corners here, with a shiny fascia and nicely curved corners.
The only thing that Sony Ericsson has missed in hardware terms is the keypad layout. The number keys all form one block, with only a slight curve on each row, making it difficult to differentiate between each button.
As is the norm for sliders, the upper screen part gets in the way of the top row of keys too. This is nothing short of irritating when trying to speed text, or typing a phone number containing 1, 2 or 3.
Another foible comes to light when you turn the W395 on, because the interface is a underwhelming. It’s the standard software, but the let down comes from using large text that makes the 176×220 pixel screen look smaller than it is.
The redeeming feature of the Sony Ericsson W395 is the Walkman player. To trigger the function, simply tap the Walkman button to the bottom left of the circular navigation key and you’ll enter the well respected music player. Using the music keys on the front of the W395, you can control the player, whether the slider is opened or closed.
However, the (stereo) speakers are on the rear, so we recommend flipping the phone over for optimum sound quality.
Alternatively, you could use the proprietary earphones that come packaged in the box.
We’d be a little less inclined to do the latter because, put simply, the bundled ‘phones will ruin any sound coming from the W395. There isn’t even an adaptor to allow you to use your own earphones (as with the higher-end Walkman models), so you’d be well advised to head to eBay and get some on the cheap.
In terms of imaging quality, the 2-megapixel camera is a disappointment. Sure, the camera isn’t the main focus of a Walkman phone, but the 2-megapixel sensor is still a let down – and other manufacturers are managing to include at least 3-megapixels as the bare minimum these days.
Video is another let down, with the W395 only recording 176×144 pixels at 15 frames-per-second. The Sony Ericsson W395 may seem cheap, and a step up from the W205, but you’re not really getting the value for money you would with the latter model.
Taking into account the ergonomics of the keypad and the low quality camera and video, this is a good Walkman phone built around a nothing-special handset.
The Sony Ericsson W395 is far from perfect, especially as it has a relatively high price compared to other budget phones, and the low quality camera for both imaging and video is inexcusable. The saving grace is the decent Walkman music player, and stereo speakers built-in – although you’ll need to invest in a better set of headphones to enjoy the music properly on the move. The user interface doesn’t really work well on the low-resolution display either, making this an average looking phone that doesn’t offer anything particularly amazing.