The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman represents Sony Ericsson’s latest attempt to blend its legendary Walkman brand name with Android smart phones, and we have to admit that lookswise, it stands out from the rest. Not the first times Sony Ericsson is trying to mix man and robot. But this time they’re not simply putting the W in Android. The Live with Walkman is part of the company’s ongoing effort to bring their smart phone lineup up to date. It offers some decent specs as well, namely a 1GHz processor, 3.2-inch display, and both a rear and front-facing camera, which puts it right in the mid-range category of smart phones. But is it that good? Let us take it for a spin and find out!
Hardware: Sturdy Stuff
The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman comes with a standard set of accessories. You get the essential USB cable and detachable charger head, a pair of comfortable earphones in matching white color and 2 GB’s worth of extra storage on a MicroSD card in the phone itself. It might be thick, but the Walkman Live is comfortingly solid and boasts some very decent innards – a 1 GHz Scorpion processor along with Adreno 205 GPU. There is a secondary camera in the front and a 5.0- mega pixel camera with LED flash at the back. In terms of connectivity the device is capable of offering HSDPA speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps but not HSUPA. Nonetheless, the phone does offer Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
Display: Small yet Enough to carry Out
The front of the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is occupied by a bland-looking 3.2-inch display with a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels. Punching these numbers in a PPI calculator gives us the figure of 180 pixels per inch, which is not bad, but nothing is impressive either. Its color reproduction leans a bit towards the warm side, while its contrast levels and viewing angles are average at best. Another problem that we notice is that its pixel response time is rather high, meaning that moving objects leave a faint blurry trail behind them. At least the display brightness output is high enough to make using the Smartphone on a sunny day comfortable.
Software: Gingerbread Glory
The phone runs on Android 2.3 operating system. The semicircular corners remain on Sony Ericsson’s Timescape UI. But now instead of one function they can house five functions. There are five home screen panels, which can be customized by adding widgets, shortcuts and folders. The capacitive touch of the phone is good. The keys on the onscreen keyboard, however, are too small for comfortable typing – a result of the small display, we think.
Sony Ericsson’s Timescape combines all your SMS, SNS, e-mail and voice communications works smoothly with its scrollable tiled interface. Web browsing is good, with support for Flash and dedicated zoom buttons and multi-touch making things easy online.
Apart from the quality along with the XLoud feature the infinity button lets you find related content to the music that is being played on the phone. The sound of the music player is great through loudspeaker and engulfing through the headphones -hey, this is a Walkman phone! The light placed around the 3.5 mm jack blinks rhythmically when the music plays but can be disabled too. A Track ID app is also pre-loaded for track recognition, and works on the FM radio as well.
Camera: For the Street Photographers
The 5.0-megapixel camera on the phone provides respectable stills with shooting modes that include smile detection, scene recognition, panorama and 3D sweep panorama, although 3D panorama is very cumbersome to use – you need to move the camera at just the right speed for it to work. The camera can also capture good quality 720p HD videos and comes with face detection and infinity modes. As far as playback goes, the phone played 1080p HD videos with ease, even though there was no dedicated video player on the phone.
When it comes to in-call performance, the earpiece of the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is sufficiently loud, but leaves some room for improvement. “Muffled voices” is what we hear through it, and a rattling noise becomes audible when its volume is turned up to the maximum. On the other hand, the microphone does an excellent job. It picks up clean and distinct voices, which are sufficiently loud on the other side of the line.
The 1200mAh battery that the Live comes with can provide a little over six and a half hours of 3G talk time or 350 hours of stand-by, which is nothing out of the ordinary. When it comes to audio playback, about 17 hours is how long the battery will last, and that is far from impressive as even dumb music phones can last longer than that.
Sadly, we experienced a number of random reboots while using the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman. Over the course of two days, the device restarted a total of four times on its own even though it was not in use. . The problem persisted even after installing the most up-to-date software. A quick search online shows that a number of users are dealing with the same issue, so we hope that Sony Ericsson is going to address it without delay.
The Live with Walkman will take over from the Sony Ericsson W8. It’s nothing out of the natural order of things. The Better camera and processor as well as the bigger display take it ahead of the Ericsson W8. This is an upgrade that makes sense in the context of the Xperia lineup.
It makes even more sense in the light of a recent announcement about Sony Ericsson eying a complete shift to Smartphones. The refreshed Xperia lineup will be a solid foundation to build on. But they need to fill some blanks between the two Arcs and the two minis. That’s where phones like the Live with Walkman and the Xperia Active come in. The way we see it, the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is at the bottom of the Xperia food chain. No shame in that: it’s the phone with the youngest demographics and one that seems to know its target audience well.
The phone is priced a bit higher than it was expected. In the Indian Streets you will get the Walkman around Rs.14K. If you are having a budget of Rs.14K, you can add some more bucks and go for one of the latest Windows Phone i.e. Samsung Omnia W. If you get this phone under the price bracket of Rs.13,500 then you can go for this one.