After much investigation, I settled on the SE W810i handset because of its impressive array of features, OS X compatibility, and similar form factor to my SE T637. Here’s what I’ve learned in daily use.
As you may recall, I asked Mac DevCenter readers their thoughts in my post, Time for a New Phone. The ensuing discussion was wildly helpful and led to me choosing the SE W810i. After a few days of use with Cingular’s GSM/EDGE network, I’m happy with my choice… for the most part. Here’s how it shakes out.
Handset feels very similar to my T637 but with added controls and attractive black matte finish. I can use my existing case, but the power adapter is different than the T637 and Z600 (bummer). Major improvements include removable Memory Stick PRO Duo (from the side even!), direct USB connectivity, and vastly improved camera (2 MPs with nice image quality).
Using Mac OS X 10.4.7, iSync works wonderfully. My contacts and calendar sync easily via Bluetooth. It just works, and that’s exactly what I wanted. The only gotcha is the time zone sync — a problem I had with my other SE phones too. The calendar dates are an hour off. My workaround is to turn off “auto time zone” and set the GMT to -7 instead of -8 (which it should be). Don’t know why this happens… maybe you do.
My major frustration has been using OS X’s Address Book to send SMS. I had read that this is supposed to work with the W810i, but my testing indicates that it doesn’t. If you’ve had success with this, please post a comment for others. I may have missed something here, but it’s worked for me before with the other phones.
I really like the USB Mass Storage capability, where both the phone and the memory card show up as drives on the Mac Desktop. But the connectively seems much more like USB 1.1 than 2.0. So if I have a lot of files to transfer, I take the card out of the phone (which is very easy) and use a USB 2.0 card reader/writer.
I wish there was a stereo mini-jack for output right on the handset instead of having to use the hands-free adapter. It’s another cord to carry that I wish I could leave behind.
Actually, this list could be its own article, but I’ll breeze through them here.
- Camera is surprisingly good with nice features including autofocus, white balance, aux light, decent Jpeg metadata, and intelligent auto ISO setting. I can make photo quality 5×7 prints, and very good 8×10s… from a camera phone!
- Video recording (174×144, 10fps, .3gp, 8KHz mono) is amazing. QuickTime handles the files with ease.
- Walkman function for music, podcasts, and video is outstanding. I can play both my MP3s and my AACs purchased in iTMS. Can store up to 2GBs on memory card. You definitely don’t need an iPod shuffle if you have this device.
- FM radio is wonderful. Have missed having a radio on the go, and this one works well with presets, song metadata, and stereo output.
- Love EDGE connectivity. Also like having a quad band handset that allows me to receive the best network anywhere in the world.
For someone like me, the SE W810i is five desired devices in one very compact package: phone, camera, audio player, FM radio, and PIM. It’s a feat of engineering to squeeze all of these features into a phone that is essentially the same size as the one it replaces. Sound quality is great on all fronts, screen is bright and saturated, design and construction are top notch. Sony Ericsson has really created a slick device here that caters to Mac users as well as those who use Windows. I’m sure Apple is watching closely. The W810i is a winner.