Sony Ericsson w810i Mini Review

April 21, 2007

Last week I bought a new cell phone; a Sony Ericsson w810i from Cingular AT&T. My last phone was purchased years ago, back when even having a color screen was a high-end luxury option, so I’ve been having fun with all the new features on the w810i. In case anyone else is considering using this phone with a Macintosh, here’s a short summary of my experience so far.

Bluetooth Internet

Internet access works great from my PowerBook. Once I paired the phone with my laptop, all I had to do was click the bluetooth menu icon and select ‘Join Network on W810i’. That’s much easier than I would have expected. It’s going to be great the next time I go on vacation; no more trips to the public library just to check my email over the wireless network.

iSync Compatibility

Address Book syncing works, but in a kind of poor way. It’s all done through iSync, and while names, phone numbers and email addresses all seem to transfer fine, the phone itself doesn’t always know how to parse these fields. The biggest issue is with extensions. If I have a phone number in Address Book formatted as (555)555-5555 x555, the phone tries to dial 555 555 5555 555. With the extra three digits at the end, the call doesn’t go through and I receive a recorded error message instead. I guess if I want to sync with Address Book I have to remove any extensions, which is very disappointing.

Although Address Book lets you dial numbers and send SMS messages through bluetooth, these features don’t work with the w810i. I’ve read that there’s an unofficial work-around, but I haven’t bothered with it yet.

iCal syncing also goes through iSync, and although I haven’t used it much it seems to work fine.

File Transfers

File transfers work great using bluetooth. I’ve tested it by sending and receiving a few photos and songs, and I haven’t run into any issues. The phone also comes with a USB cable, but I haven’t found a need for it yet. If you’re going to be transferring a large number of files, I’d suggest buying a card reader for the memory stick (the phone includes a 256MB card). Bluetooth works great, but it’s still a little slow.

Camera Capability

As a camera, the phone is fine. 2MP, autofocus, and it even has a very powerful LED light that works as a decent flash. The shots are a little grainy, but it is a camera phone after all. I took some shots of a band playing in a dark nightclub last week, and they turned out surprisingly good.

Media Player

The FM radio is neat, even though I didn’t buy the phone for it’s media capabilities. The best feature is that when you’re browsing stations, the phone shows you the name of the station along with the frequency. Very useful if you’re traveling and not familiar with the local radio stations.

The music player itself seems decent enough, but I doubt it will ever replace my iPod.


The built-in email application is extremely disappointing. It only supports a few providers (Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL basically), and even if I did use one of them I doubt I’d care too much for the client application. I know you can download GMail and other java clients, but you still lose push email and you can’t replace the big email icon on the main menu with your preferred application.

I’ve also been playing around with Google Maps and a few other java applications, but that’s really getting off the topic of the phone itself.

Feel free to leave a comment if there are any other features I should look into.

Marc Charbonneau is a mobile software engineer in Portland, OR. Want to reply to this article? Get in touch on Twitter @mbcharbonneau.