Sony Ericsson Walkman W600, Stocking Stuffer

Consider the Sony Ericsson W600 the ideal stocking stuffer for the geek(s) in your life. An update to Sony’s venerable Walkman brand—which, thankfully, leaves out the ancient Huey Lewis cassette tapes—this diminutive device has one of the best music players I’ve seen yet in a mobile phone yet. Announced last summer, and just recently available, Sony Ericsson has delivered arguably the best portable music phone yet, a vast improvement over the dreaded Apple-Motorola’s iPod-ROKR debacle.

Here’s why it’s the ideal gift: At just $150 (after rebate), Sony Ericsson’s newest Walkman offers one of the cheapest feature-packed phones available. In addition to an excellent and spacious LCD screen, the W600 also offers built-in Bluetooth, which makes it possible to transfer songs from your PC onto the phone easily. One thing to note: There’s only 256 megabytes of internal memory, and no external memory slot, so you can only hold about 30 minutes worth of music.

Fortunately the phone also comes up with a great FM radio with the included headset acting as a surprisingly good antenna—I experienced very little interference on most of the popular radio stations here in the Bay area. Rounding out some of the features, the W600 also packs an EDGE-radio for decent speed Internet surfing and downloads, and comes up with editing software that well let aspiring deejays mix their own songs and video clips.

Best of all, the W600 is a great phone with excellent battery life. With moderate phone usage (about 20 minutes a day) I managed to make the battery last for nearly a week and had no problems with dropped calls. The W600 isn’t Sony Ericsson’s best device to date—it’s not as solid as the S710 or the 610—but it looks great and plays music as well as any other MP3 player available that’s not called the iPod.

Review by Matt Maier, wireless and gizmo correspondent for Business 2.0 magazine. Subscribe to his Weekly Wireless Report.