A few years ago Sony Ericsson lead the music handset pack, with its Walkman range, including the W880i and W910i. But since then the industry has change, thanks to the iPod and the iPhone. Sony Ericsson hasn’t given up on the once famous Walkman brand. This latest handset – the WT13i Mix offers music features at a budget price point.
What we like
At 88g the Mix is very light small enough to fit into a shirt or jeans pocket. Constructed from plastic, the smooth rubberised back is easy to grip and our unit was supplied with swappable green and chrome-effect plastic strips that can be swapped if you fancy a bit of a change.
Unlike the majority of Sony Ericsson’s recent mobile phones the Mix Walkman isn’t running Android. So although the interface looks similar to the Xperia Arc, Xperia Mini etc, there are only two homescreens and a full menu accessed by swiping up, but few customisation options. It’s simple to use though using the huge Home button.
The 3-inch screen has a respectable resolution of 400×240. Videos look excellent with bright colours and lots of detail you can easily watch YouTube videos via the mobile optimised website.
Of course the main selling point of this phone is its music ability and it’s pretty good. The supplied headphones aren’t bad at all and quick access controls for Walkman and Zap are location on top alongside the 3.5mm jack.
Use ‘Zap’ to listen to the chorus of a sony. Press the button and a robotic voice says: ‘Zapper Short/Long’ before playing either 4 or 15 seconds, useful perhaps if you want to find a specific song but only know the chorus, but it’s certainly not essential.
The same can be said for the Karaoke function. In order to sing you need to create your own lyrics using a text document, before transferring it to your phone via a computer. Entering the lyrics is a really laborious process: you have to note the start time before each line of text. Get it right and it’s quite fun – the lyrics light up when it’s time to sing, but again it’s not essential.
Sony Ericsson’s included a respectable Facebook app, that’s similar in layout to the Android and iOS apps, you can quickly update your status and check news feeds. Yahoo Mail and Gmail clients are included on the phone, they’re perfectly usable too, although they keyboard is a little small.
Your five five favourite contacts can be added to the Friends application, with their phone number and email log in to Facebook and Twitter and it will update their status at intervals from 15 mins to 3 hours.
Battery life is really impressive, we managed to get a 14 hours of listening – more than Sony Ericsson’s quoted 13 hours, this was with a good mornings solid use for email and the Internet before.
What we don’t like
We’ll start with the lack of 3G, which makes the Mix feel slow. Although the phone is very simple to use, the screen just isn’t very responsive, on numerous occasions we found ourselves tapping twice, this is especially troublesome when writing text messages.
The Xperia Mix doesn’t of course run Android – so crucially you can’t download apps, which means sticking with Yahoo and Gmail clients and three games including Quadrapop, which takes us back to 2007.
Certain phone features aren’t where where we expected them to be. For example Equaliser and Stereo Widening are only available via the Settings menu, not the music app. You can’t create playlists via the phone either, instead you have to download the Media Go software.
For a music phone file support is quite poor, with just MP3 and AAC out of the box, although we should note that for the young audience the Mix Walkman is aimed at this will be fine.
256MB internal memory is comparable to phones of this price bracket, but seems really low for a music phone, holding approximately 64 songs, although considering you can get a 2GB card for around £3, this isn’t a big deal.
The Obigo Q7 browser is extremely primitive, the screen size means text is squashed into a single column and despite ‘Show pictures’ being activated we couldn’t see any pictures – we’re guessing it’s a memory issue, you can’t have more than one screen open either. We’d suggest instantly downloading a new browser.
The Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman would have been an amazing phone – four years ago. Now it just seems desperately dated, especially you can get an Android handset with a far better touchscreen, apps and 3G for almost the same price.
The Mix is aimed at the young music fan looking for a cheap, but capable music phone and to that end it is successful. If you’re not overly bothered about music features we’s suggest going for the Orange Stockholm instead – it can do so much more. And for serious about music, with deeper pockets, we’d suggest waiting for the Live with Walkman instead.
Handset provided by Vodafone