A tiny phone with a big voice.
Long before the dawn of mp3 players crammed with hundreds of songs, there was the humble CD player, and before that the cassette player, or the Walkman to be precise. There was nothing quite like donning those huge headphones with the silver band and bopping along the street like you didn’t have a care in the world. So when the Sony Ericsson WT19i Walkman phone landed on my desk, I was eager to swap out my phone for a few days and see just how this little gem would hold up.
Specifications & Design
At first glance the WT19i looks quite innocent with its non-flashy white looks and matte backing. The phone is nearly the same size as my current phone which is a Blackberry 9800, but feels much lighter due to the absence of a physical keyboard. Even though its mostly encased in hard plastic, the phone doesn’t feel cheap at all, though I’m sure that after a few accidental drops the plastic will give way in certain places.
Measuring 106 x 56.5 x 14.2 mm and weighing less than 120g, the phone is easy to slip into your pocket and forget about. At the front of the phone is the forward-facing camera and three buttons – Back, Home, and Menu, with the power button at the top of the device along with a dedicated button to launch the Walkman feature of the phone. The right side sports the volume rocker and dedicated camera button, while a micro-USB connector is on the left for recharging the device as well as connecting it to your PC. At the back of the phone is the 5 Megapixel camera and flash, as well as two tiny speakers for audio, which I’ll touch upon later. A Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 1GHz processor powers the device, with 512MB RAM and 1GB ROM. Under the back cover is a slot for your SIM card as well as for microSD storage up to 32GB. Finally, the screen is a 3.2” 320×480 LCD which is fine for general usage, but becomes difficult to use when browsing the web.
The phone bundles with Android 2.3 and features a UI designed by Sony Ericsson. Each corner of the phone’s screen can be used to launch a particular app shortcut such as email or SMS, and even the main app list has been tweaked a bit. In addition to the stock Android apps, the phone bundles with its own brand of programs – the Timescape app is something we’ve seen in other Sony Ericsson phones, and provides you with a ‘stream’ of information such as your messages, emails, tweets, and Facebook alerts. You can also download more apps via a “Get Apps” program, but most of these just link back to the Android Market, so you’re better off just using the Market app directly.
It feels a bit awkward using an older version of Android having being recently spoiled by Ice Cream Sandwich, but it’s more or less a fairly pain-free experience navigating through the menus and launching apps. Typing on the other hand is a bit of a challenge – in portrait mode the phone provides a predictive text input which for the most part works well despite the small screen, but it’s the annoying autocorrect that too frequently changes your words into something else. Thankfully you can rotate the phone horizontally to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard which makes things a lot easier.