For all of its aural posturing, the Live with Walkman isn't really any better suited to playing your music than any other Android device. In fact, in many ways, it's worse.
Selling a phone like this -- even at such a modest price -- with a 2GB microSD card is almost unbelievable. Casual music listeners won't be satisfied by 2GB, let alone the kind of serious fans that Sony Ericsson so badly needs to keep that once-proud Walkman brand alive.
Aside from the flashing light and the handy Walkman button, the Live with Walkman doesn't actually provide anything that isn't already available on Sony Ericsson's Xperia phones.
However, when considering the bigger picture, this handset makes more sense. It retails for around £150 SIM-free and unlocked, yet it offers Android 2.3, a 1GHz processor, 720p video recording and the very latest version of Sony Ericsson's likeable Timescape user interface.
When placed alongside other budget Android phones -- many of which remain saddled with sub-1GHz CPUs and Android 2.2 -- the Live with Walkman starts to look very attractive indeed.
While it's unlikely to tempt music buffs away from their iPhones or iPods, the Live with Walkman represents the perfect entry-point for younger users or Android newcomers.
There will be many people who only need to take one brief look at the HTC Rhyme's plum casing and gorgeous accessories before deciding that this simply has to be their next phone.
The HTC Rhyme's plum colouring and svelte frame should appeal to budding fashionistas.
We'd be willing to bet that not many gadget-obsessed blokes will want a phone that comes with a glowing charm, however.
There's still lots to like about the Rhyme. The collection of accessories will appeal to some people, even if the earphones are poor quality and the dock has tinny speakers. It would have been welcome had HTC included a pair of the iBeats earphones that shipped with the Sensation XE, but that's probably asking a little too much.
Despite the positives, the Rhyme seems like an odd choice for the debut of Sense 3.5. The 1GHz processor gets the job done but it struggles when burdened with too much work. The resultant stuttering and slowdown do much to dent the otherwise positive impression offered up by Sense 3.5.
The Rhyme is unlikely to blow your socks off if you're in the market for a cutting-edge device. But it does manage to combine good looks with an impressive range of accessories.
We were fans of the Defy the first time round, and we're fans of the DefyPlus. The same solid shell is complemented by updated innards, and we think the Defy Plus is a winner.
The HTC Sensation XE, the first Beats handset, perhaps should be something more than just an upgrade. But that's a position it can never really escape from. It feels like the Sensation released back in May 2011, but then that was a fantastic phone.
With HTC Sense 3.5 on other HTC devices and Android 4.0 just about to emerge (at the time of writing), the HTC Sensation XE might initially leave you slightly on the back foot. Whether the Beats side of things really works for you will come down to how you like to consume your media. If you want things your way, you lose the ability to turn on the software enhancement. Device-wide support is something HTC need to address.
But in our time with the Sensation it hasn't failed to deliver. It's done everything we wanted it to and it has been stable and fast throughout and the battery hasn't critically failed us either. Pull it out in the pub and it still draws admiring glances, as do those very capable headphones in the box, which come with almost limitless street cred.
If you're looking to buy a Sensation, get the XE if you get the choice. If you're feeling jealous as an existing Sensation owner, buy yourself some decent headphones and relax.
Samsung's latest tablet takes the company into yet another screen size territory – that of 8.9in. And it's this size of screen that could be the dark horse in the tablet arena as it gives you greater space than 7in tablets yet is more portable than those with larger screens.
The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman has a well equipped media player with the emphasis on music and a good quality camera too, but it’s a pity that there's not a beefier battery on-board.
Aesthetics aside, the speed and ease of use of the Lumia 800 – and the remarkable People application – make this a very attractive alternative to the iPhone. Even if you don’t do much social networking, it’s nice to have communications and events aggregated under by contact or group. People who see it, like it.
Is the BlackBerry Torch 9860 good enough to arrest RIM’s decline? On balance I'd say, yes. It’s fast, well made and mercifully free of dependency on the likes of Zune or iTunes. The UI may not be the last word in cool but it works well enough and media file support is impressive. The lack of third party apps and the absence of Flash are enough to ensure BB7 won’t lure me away from Android but it no longer feels like switching would be an excessive compromise to gain access to BlackBerry messaging services.
Motorola RAZR Verdict
A new benchmark for the Motorola brand, the RAZR is an impressive, high-end, well functioning handset but one that is not quite a market leader or on par with the likes of the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II. In a less than appealing way Moto has managed to make a large handset feel big beyond its size with what should be a dominant display feeling beautiful but lost.
Samsung Galaxy Note Verdict
Large in size, humongous in potential, the Samsung Galaxy Note might not be a first smartphone for the masses, what it is however, is a device that will enhance the experience of many a business user. The Note’s only downfall in popularity is in how much it has limited its prospective target audience.
One of the first modern mobile devices that makes a stylus not only work but further enhance the user interaction with the product, the Samsung Galaxy Note could well be the first in a new era of business minded hybrid devices with its strong all-round performances making it a must for those looking to get work done on the go.
Nokia Lumia 800: Verdict
Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop called this the ‘first real Windows Phone’ and based on this performance, it’s hard not to agree - if you can stand the slightly smaller screen, that is.
Battery life isn’t stellar, and while we like the contrast ratios of the ClearBlack Display, it’s not the best on the market. However, it’s going to be more than enough for those that pick up the Lumia as their first Windows Phone, and both Nokia and Microsoft will be pretty pleased with the first fruits of their partnership.
The HTC Sensation XE is a powerful phone with a powerful brand attached to it - Dr. Dre's Beats. However, for the most part it's just like the original Sensation. It has a faster processor, but this isn't hugely apparent in normal usage. Build quality is great, it's fast and has a large, sharp screen, but the quality of the S-LCD panel isn't great and the Beats red bits don't mesh entirely well with the design. It's certainly a decent phone that can more-than do justice to Android, but when the original Sensation is now available for about £100 less, you can get better audio quality by spending the difference on a great pair of earphones, instead of the just-good Beats bundled pair here.
After a number of years in the wilderness, Sony Ericsson (soon just Sony) is finding its feet again. The Xperia Active is a well-made, carefully thought out, specialist smartphone for those who love the outdoors. It is rugged, portable, comes with an excellent bundle including a runner's armband and has snappy performance which belies its run-of-the-mill specifications. Pricing is also very competitive with only the sizeable caveats of call quality and battery life dragging down an otherwise excellent smartphone. The green shoots of recovery continue.
The BlackBerry 9860 is a perfectly competent handset with a smart design, easy to use interface, and a healthy selection of features. However, when compared to the competition, it's hard to know exactly who the BlackBerry 9860 is going to appeal to. For your average man on the street, mid-range Android handsets beat it for price and features (if not build), and have a much better stocked app store. And it certainly doesn't have the might to take on the likes of the iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S II. This only leaves the corporate market and BlackBerry fans. With regards the former, the touchscreen form factor may not sit well with the majority of users, particularly when the typing experience isn't quite good enough. Likewise, don't BlackBerry fans buy them primarily for the keyboard anyway? Whatever the case, this certainly isn't a bad phone, just not one we'd outright recommend.
Originally published at OneMobileRing.com