"Great on paper....poor in real life."2.5 starson by schm1tz
Pros: Sony-Ericsson makes tethering easy.
Cons: Dedicated Call and End keys, Equalizer not available for bluetooth headphones, Poorly designed SIM slot, Slow UI, Buggy Firmware.
Summary: The Good:
Sony-Ericsson's PC Suite will set up a dial up networking profile on your computer that makes tethering to a laptop ridiculously easy. Even better: Since the software makes the network think it's just your phone using data you won't need to pay for a pricier laptop data plan. During the limited experimentation I did with this feature most web sites I visited with the phone in 3G mode actually loaded faster than when using wifi to connect to my DSL line at home.
The dedicated Call and End keys that cnet editors like so much are a nuisance to long-term Sony-Ericsson users. We long ago learned that the functions of those keys are performed just fine by soft keys, eliminating the needless expense of adding two keys that serve no other purpose than making less room on your keypad for more usefull functions. Sony-Ericsson has mitigated their uselessness somewhat by providing other undocumented functions for them -- bringing to mind another issue: an owners manual whose sole purpose seem to be taking up space and displacing air, without really providing much information about the phone.
cnet editors take note: the poor 3G reception you experienced is easily fixed. poor GSM reception, worse 3G reception, and insane battery drain in 3G mode prompted me to assign a shortcut key for the sole purpose of disabling and enabling 3G mode. The same problems caused the phone to freeze frequently, requiring the removal and replacement of the battery to restore function. A firmware update seemed to fix the freezing by causing the phone to spontaneously reboot two or three times an hour instead. Similar problems experienced by Sony-Ericsson W580 users suggested that the issue was poor contact between the SIM card and the phone. The solution: two layers of transparent tape applied to the back of the sim card made it thick enough to fit snugly in the poorly designed SIM slot, eliminated all reception and rebooting problems, and reduced 3G battery drain to a more normal level.
Sony-Ericsson's "Disc2Phone" software has been replaced by "Sony-Ericsson Media Manager" -- probably to achieve uniform branding with the PSP's "PSP Media Manager." Unfortunately "Sony Ericsson Media Manager" shares "PSP Media Manager's" biggest flaw; after paying hundreds of dollars for the device, Sony wants still more money for software that should come with it free. Granted the software's basic functionality is free, but Sony still wants you to pay around nine dollars to enable the remaining features.
Bluetooth stereo so I can finally use my bluetooth headphones. Except the phone's graphic equalizer only works with wired headphones, not with the internal speakers or bluetooth headphones. Why?
Display freezes frequently. This can be disconcerting when inputing text or browsing the web because all user input is still recorded, it just isn't displayed until the phone manages to catch up. Unless you want to retype text messages or hunt for the place you left off on the web page you were reading you'll quickly learn to stop everything your doing and wait for the phone to catch when the freeze occurs.