Music handsets comparison - which one to choose?

One of the new main stream devices that we have seen the last few months is the music phone. A device equipped with a music player and dedicated music keys. Mobile-Review made an interesting comparison that you should read before you search on!

It’s widely known, that comparisons based off real handsets’ specifications often attract attention of wide audience - though once we get to comparing music phones, one can justly say that all conclusions depend on subjective impressions, as tastes differ. Frequencies measurement does not give plain data, which can help in practice either - how can you judge whether device A is superior to device B when both of them have default earphones plugged in and output sound is almost of the same quality? It seems under these conditions such issues are pointless and not worth posting.

However there is something that saves the day - so called focus-groups, which arrive at a conclusion by testing music playback quality and overall feeling of every given device subjectively. These experiments allow obtaining information that are likely to prove useful in practice, and predicting attitude towards the product once it is released. Not a single magazine provided test of this kind, thus has managed to hit the status of pioneer once again. I should stress that in most cases focus-groups are organized by manufacturers themselves, nevertheless they don’t completely fulfill their main objective - rating a device fairly, and pretty often those results turn out to be biased. Before putting our hands on the very experimental results, let’s see which models have undergone our tests.

Conclusion and results of comparison

Let’s move on to the most interesting part of our review - the results. But before we start, I’d like to highlight several conclusions that can be made already. First of all, Samsung handsets (all ordinary phones, except for i300, this is a different story) are not “music” ones, this is not the place where we are discovering America. Lack of many typical features for these kind of of phones prevents us from even announcing the deciding mark, same goes for Siemens, however the manufacturer announced quite a big number of “music” phones that are scheduled to hit the shelves this year, but so far there aren’t even prototypes. Considering the amount of bugs in software firmware for today and lack of default features, like shuffle playback mode, it’s hard to except much from the upcoming models so far. I am speaking only about the aspect of “music” phones.

Secondly, the dominating brand on today's market is Sony Ericsson's Walkman. The company has maximal amount of models, we did not even include W550i in our review, otherwise the material would have gone way out of hand big. It’s up to Walkman phones to set trends for “music” phones. This was proven by our “focus groups”, the expectations always meet the specifications. At the same time, expectations from Nokia’s product were a lot higher than its actual specifications. Let’s count the overall points for phones and see what we get in the end:

Model and total score

Abstracting of price for every handset, its availability on the market, we can say that the winner of this review in terms of quality is Motorola ROKR E2, followed closely by dense group of Walkman branded phones from Sony Ericsson, and only then we see Nokia and its 3250. But perhaps the price of the product will change everything? Since it’s up to price/quality ratio to give the final verdict in favor of one or other product, sometimes not so interesting product can be better than others due to its price. Let’s add the price of these phones to our current matrix. This parameter was counted in the following way: ratio of overall points to price multiplied by 100. The more the number is - the more attractive the phone will be.

Model related to the total score, price and a corresponding ratio

The fact that ROKR E2 is the leader is not so suprirising, the phone turned out very successful in all directions (other functions are great as well). But manufacturer is not in a rush to release this model as quickly as possible, it will hit the shelves only in Autumn. At that moment the positions can change, but I still think that the model will remain impressive, it’s jus the competition between already available music phones that will grow, and it is very interesting to say the least (remember that the design will not suit everyone, it’s a mobile phone for young people). Sony Ericsson’s products W800i and W810i are rather interesting as well.As for W900i, this model does not look so appealing when compared to the competitiros, it has low price/quality ratio. The situation is same for Nokia 3250, there is almost 2x gap between the leader and this model. We can always say “hey, it’s a smartphone, it means.” and what just this means exactly? We were comparing only “musical” part of the handset, and this part has been inferior when compared to others. This is why it takes last place in our rankings, this position is well-deserved.

We did not include phones that are coming from higher price segment, but we are already working on another material that will concentrate on those models. It’s just because smartphones have so many issues. Once again I’d like to point out that you can select only those functions, that you actually need, after that try calculating the score again, we clearly described the method. Perhaps some model will become more attractive than others just for you.

For the complete story and the complete information about the devices feel free to check out the following link: Music handsets comparison - which one to choose


Eldar Murtazin ([email protected])
Translated by Oleg Kononosov ([email protected])

Published ’ 07 April 2006 on

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