A tiny phone with a big voice.
Screen and Camera
The screen as mentioned before is 3.2” which is adequate when typing out quick messages or dialing, but becomes a bit cumbersome when trying to use the web browser. And like most smartphones, the screen is quite difficult to read in bright conditions or sunlight. And when the screen is powered off, you can notice the grid of dots that correspond to your touch gestures, which makes the phone look less polished.
The 5 megapixel camera at the rear takes some fairly decent photos in bright light, but when I took some photos with the flash on, it ended up washing out most of the photos. The front-facing camera provides a rather grainy image during video calls, and even self-portrait photos looked rather poor. The camera app also allows you to take ‘3D’ photos, but this is just a fancy name for a panoramic photo. You simply press the camera button and pan the phone from left to right to capture a panoramic photo. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, so I don’t think it’s a feature you’ll be using often. One thing I did appreciate is that there was almost no shutter delay in between taking a photo and the camera being ready to take the next picture – something that I had always wished was present in my previous Android phones.
The major attraction of this phone is that it has Walkman capabilities – at first I had no clue what this meant, but then I figured out that the phone possessed the great audio features of Sony’s Walkman devices, so I was eager to give this a good test. You can activate the Walkman app by either tapping the device in the Apps menu, or hitting the dedicated orange Walkman button at the top of the phone. You then simply scroll through your music library and hit play to enjoy some truly phenomenal audio. I’m being serious here – for such a tiny phone, this thing can pump out some serious volume. Bass and treble sounded crystal clear through the phone’s rear speakers no matter what I played. From mp3s to YouTube clips, the audio was consistently good and never faltering. When I plugged in the supplied headphones the experience was the same, and though I would have preferred the headphones to be of the in-ear kind, I was still able to enjoy the music at a comfortable volume without going deaf. Sony’s Walkman technology really shines through on this phone and delivers a truly impressive audio experience.
Viewing photos and video on the device is also fairly straightforward using the in-built Gallery apps, and since the phone is DLNA certified you can turn on the media server option to stream content to compatible devices.
On a full charge with Wi-fi on and listening to about 3 albums non-stop through the day, I was able to get about 6 hours of usage before I was prompted to plug in my charger. That’s not too bad considering I probably had countless apps running in the background that I hadn’t closed properly. Even when watching HD clips or charging, the phone never got warm at all, which was good. Call quality seemed to be a bit iffy at times – sometimes on speakerphone I could hear the other person clearly, but they couldn’t hear me properly and I had to switch to using the headset.
At the end of my time with the WT19i I had mixed feelings. As a Walkman branded device it excels in every way, with impressive audio capabilities given the size of the device. As a phone however, it doesn’t quite match up to today’s rather lofty expectations. But rather than dismiss the WT19i, I would say that it’s the ideal phone for someone who’s looking for a basic smartphone that’s not complicated and just does the bare minimum. There are plenty of other Android fish in the sea that you can look at, so unless you really are looking for incredible audio performance from a phone, this one might not make your wishlist.