Long term review: Sony Ericsson W810i phone

Sony Ericsson W810i

A year ago I pondered buying a Sony Ericsson K750i but eventually bought it’s big brother, the Sony Ericsson W810i instead. At the time I was impressed, especially with the panorama function of the camera, but I’ve grown to loath this piece of technology in the year since I bought it. Here’s why.

  • “Message waiting, Too many messages. Delete some from any folder. Delete now? Despite the fact there’s a 512MB memory stick plugged into the side, the phone can only store about 130 text messages. My old Nokia 7650 spoiled me. I rarely deleted any text messages but this phone is always on the brink of being full. That’s a problem I can accept, except it’s buggy. For some reason the phone checks the sim card memory and asks me to delete messages from there too, even though messages are delivered to phone memory. That is very annoying.
  • Keyboard Lock – during a call the Menu button becomes the End Call button. After finishing a call, if the other party hangs up first and I don’t hit “End Call” fast enough it reverts back to the Menu function. Hitting that brings up the main menu of course. On a Sony Ericsson, the keyboard lock sequence is “*” “Menu”. See where I’m going? To lock the phone I need to exit the menu and then hit that sequence of keys. Why couldn’t you just copy what Nokia do with their “Menu” “*” sequence? It just works better.
  • Walkman – I have no use for the Walkman function. That’s my own fault for picking the wrong phone, but it had a good camera, integrated radio and the price was right. What I can complain about is the too-prominent position of the Walkman button. It’s way too easy to click.
  • Durability – the phone seems to be quite delicate. For the most part it sits on my desk, but about a month ago while out, it slipped from my hand. Since then the phone hasn’t been itself. At random, it will reset and a message appears on screen about an inactive sim card. I need to remove the battery to restore it.
  • Meteor, my phone company, decided in their wisdom that the first two items on the phone menu would cause the phone to go online. The first link went to their homepage before I changed it to my own blog and the second is a generic “Meteor WAP” icon. To prevent the phone accidentally going online I dug through the preferences and now clicking those icons brings up a username/password form. Much better than potentially expensive GPRS bills.

On the plus side, sound quality is good, battery life is ok. Camera is excellent for what it is. Images are noisy, but it’s packed full of features. I love the panorama function. The included memory stick makes it easy to copy files to and from my PC or Mac.

Would I buy a Sony Ericsson phone again? If they had a sensible keyboard locking sequence, then maybe. As it is, I’m going back to Nokia. For my next phone I would like a bog-standard device that makes calls, can store hundreds of texts, has at least a 2MP camera and a memory card.
Any suggestions?

19 thoughts on “Long term review: Sony Ericsson W810i phone

  1. I went for the K750i same time you went for the W810i (pretty simular phones), I hated it after a week – everything is awkward, especially texting, being a Nokia man I was used to “0” being the space, but Sony Ericsson in their wisdom set theirs at “#”.

    Some great functions – too many if you ask me. My next phone will be the Nokia 6300 – My Mam got one for Christmas, it’s easy to use, excellant camera (a lot better than the Sony Ericsson), reasconably priced, and it’s a Nokia. Other good points are it seems pretty durable, the only thing I’d be worried about with it would be the screen being scratched.

    So I’ll be heading out tomorrow to port to Vodafone, and upgrade to the 6300.


    1. I have one of these for 2 !/2 years now and the only problem i’ve had is the sound jamming (not like Bob Marley) on full volume in speaker mode. i can understand the mild frustration of texting or locking if you’ve been on a Nokia for a while, but i thnk that NOKIA arent all they’re made out to be. My wife went through 3 in 2 years. Mine is older than 3 Nokia’s combined.

  2. We really like the W810i in our creative multimedia curriculum at http://learning.tippinst.ie but for many of the reasons you hate it. Its easy Walkman controls make playing back tracks so simple and tactile. Its battery will get you from Dublin to Galway on the bus while also listening for incoming calls, and still have enough power for a late night crawl-about.

    And aren’t you worried about losing your phone with thousands of messages inside its message memory? I cull those once a week because of worries I have about friends getting phished by phone thieves.

  3. Got to agree with Aaron about the 6300 (now called the 6300 classic). I have had one since April.

    It’s almost bomb proof, does the job beautifully and looks great too. It’s got a metal chassis and battery cover, and although I have dropped mine a few times it’s stood up well with no scratches on the screen.

  4. I wouldn’t touch Nokia any more – wouldn’t go back to them after switching from a horrible clunky 6288 to that classic Sony Ericsson – the K800i, and this is after being a life-long (well, almost) Nokia fan.

    The K800i may be old (and I’d probably be happier with a K770i) but it’s the most reliable bit of technology I’ve used in a long-ass time. I’ve tried various Nokias;- the N73, the E65, the N95 and they all suffer from the same faults and foibles – slow menu system, slow reactions when you hit buttons, poor battery life and lack of features that I’ll really use. (I mean come on … GPS? Feck that… I use EVERY feature on the K800i, from the radio to the MP3 player, the 3.2MP camera with build in live blogspot blogging, flash and auto-focus, the 5 alarms, calendar, web browser – even VideoDJ, PhotoDJ and MusicDJ – hell, I’ve even made calls and sent texts, checked my email, and taken some notes on it…)

  5. Yes, I agree with Niall O’K,, this phone have everything what I need. I realise that it’s not perfect, but in my opinion one of the best. I cannot imagine life without 5 alarms, good battery, radio, mp3 player with good quality sound (it’s very important for me). Funny thing is, that for me camera is useless, I used it 3 time in my life.

    It’s your choice but for now I stay with SE.


  6. i grew up with walkman. evolved with the diskman. and now, in the age of mobile phones, media players and other cool gadgets, w810i is the ultimate tech buddy for me. got it for a year now… maybe only a w960i could beat it. just maybe.

    for those nokia fans, just go, stay with your nokias. there aren’t enough se-walkman phones for all of us anyway…. se-walkman phones are limited edition.


  7. do not buy the W810i. it keeps switching off when it feels like it. and is now working slow as anything it takes me half an hour to switch it on literarly

  8. hey guys,

    ive had the w810i phone for about a year now, and its got everything i need but just like some of you guys, its got problems-

    – it says memory full after about only 130 messages and that annoys me because i text alot!!

    -Just like dannii it keeps switching itself off from time to time! i thought it could be the low battery but it switches off even when the batterys full! it was ok at first but it started switching off about a month ago. and it is also vey very slow.

    apart from all that its a great phone, i just wish it wouldnt switch off. but anyway im gettin the w990 phone for m birthday i hope thats alot better!!!

  9. I bought the w810i less than a year ago. I initially fell in love with it, great functions, good sound quality, etc.
    Than problems started to pop up: It goes off automatically. This I solved by putting a piece of paper between the battery and the case, as the battery sometimes lost connection with the phone.

    Now the next problem: It types in randomly numbers, letters, etc. If I type in a digit it decides to write three of the and the 1-2 and three don’t work anymore…

    I’m sorry w810i, you really dissappointed me! I will quickly look for a solid reliable phone!

  10. I’ve had the w810i for about a year and a half and I’m very happy. Durable, reliable and long lasting. Came across this site as I was searching for a memory card for the phone around the 4/8Gb size. And I’ll be sticking with this phone until it either dies, or is lost.
    The mp3 player is great, although transferring songs onto the memory stick can take up to minute per track. The keypad lock is fine. When people can’t get their head around the “#” button as the space instead of nokia’s “0”, my hope for the future of mankind dwindles every time. In comparison with other phone companies, the signal strength is very good. The torch on the phone has come in handy on countless occasions, while the radio is as it should be. My only problem with the phone is the lack of a universal earphone socket. I use the Mp3 player daily and the ericsson jack is terribly designed. My paranoia at times pushes me to ponder if the jack was deliberately designed in such a way that they break so regularly. After forking out €40 on my third set I finally started buying them online for €15 incl. p&p. General wear and tear it certainly is not; I would urge ericsson to rethink this for future models. They are the only phone company which do such a thing and will turn many off them (including myself).

  11. I think the W810i is a great phone and I have loved having it for the past 2 years (roughly). There are some small things that irritate me. Like the play button, I accidently hit it just when taking it out of my pocket which causes it to play music (which is very very loud when you are in the middle of a lecture) and the amount of messages you can hold is pathetic. There have been times when I’m texting a lot and I have had to empty it after about 2 days. Though I’m normally very careful with phones and mp3’s and stuff, this one has seen a lot of falls. It’s recently been showing the signs of the falls though. This is my fault though, not the phones. It has a lot of memory issues, it can remember any photos I have taken. It randomly replaces texts with old texts, especially if I don’t reply to the text. And it turns off sometimes when I try to call someone. I doubt these are characteristic of the phone and I have just killed it really.

  12. I got this phone at the end of 07. I love this phone to bits for a few reasons. I find it to be the most durable phone I’ve had since the Nokia 3310 I got in May 2001. Every other phone I owned, broke before 18 months. Except Nokia 3510i which enjoyed freezing a lot.T Only the battery cover needed more durability. Sellotape’s there instead! That’s not for everyone’s taste I admit.

    The battery life was and is excellent. If I didn’t use it for listening to music, it still lasts around 3 days with 25 texts a day and 10-20 minutes of calls.

    The torch is very useful. The radio is even more so. Initially I never used the walkman function, but I use it now with a 2GB card and I find it okay, and the battery life’s good, considering it’s a phone that’s playing it.

    And perhaps most importantly, I can use myphoneexplorer with it. The 200 SMS (less if larger texts are sent/rcvd) limit is annoying, but I can simply sync the phone up with MPE and do lots of stuff with the texts. Then delete all the texts or whatever ones I select off the phone. I won’t go into more here.

    The button assignments during calls and in the outbox did need improvement. And the lack of headphone socket is thoroughly irritating. But myphoneexplorer and the sheer stability and lack of bugs in this phone has won me over from Nokia. It does what I expect it to do, almost perfectly.

  13. I preach the awesomeness of my w810i to anyone who will listen. The phone feels great in my hand and is exceedingly durable. I’ve dropped it (repeatedly) on bathroom tile, parking lots, you name it, and it’s held up like a champ for two years. I use and appreciate the mp3 functionality, but yes the software is lacking. I think Matthew T above is forgetting that the headphones that come with the phone detach in the middle so that it can hook up with regular headphones, or with a stereo if you have a male to male cord. But my favorite feature of the phone is its FM radio. It sounds silly, and I ignored it for a while, but now I find myself listening to the radio on my phone when I do pretty much anything. Very nice!

  14. I have had my W810i for a couple of years, and have had other phones (Nokia, Samsung, etc) but I love my old 810! I have a newer SE phone (G502) which is great too, and faster with 3G, but I keep going back to the 810, cos it’s such a solid phone. The camera is good, sound quality and signal is excellent, walkman feature I use all the time (and it sounds great!) and I have never had any issues with stability or durability. I don’t see the need to store hundreds of SMS’s (do you go back through them and read them all??) so clean out the SMS folders every now and then… once they are read/replied to, I have little use for them! This phone feels solid, has a great battery, and feels like it will last a few more years yet. Screen is lower res than newer phones, but does a good job and is easy to see, so I don’t see the need to complain. I will miss my 810 when (or more to the point, IF) it finally dies. I highly recommend this phone!

  15. hello guys…
    i have the w810i for a approx 2 years maybe more….
    and recently im having a problem that when someone calls the phone switches off..and now the phone the switched off …just like that …the battery is not loose i tried jerking it arounf but it was fine…and even when trying to call some one the phone restarts..i really love the w810i its a amazing phone but this is becoming highly irritating now..
    any help would be highly appreciated..

  16. I’ve had a w810i phone for several years & have always loved it & all its features. But lately I’ve found it difficult, sometimes impossible, to use the right-hand keys when texting! Has anyone else had this problem & do they know if its fixable?

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