A pair of feature phones, the Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman and annoyingly named Sony Ericsson txt pro are two very similar touchscreen phones that offer to aim very keen value for money.
Unlike other recent Sony Ericsson phones, the Mix Walkman and txt pro are not Android devices, despite having touchscreens. With prepay Android smartphones in the UK now edging below the £100 (€110) barrier, it's hard to see what sort of a future these "dumb" feature phones have.
Both handset have a very similar hardware specification, the main difference being that the txt pro has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Common features to both the Mix Walkman and txt pro include a 3" 240 x 400 pixel capacitive touchscreen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth and a microSD slot, a media player, FM radio and a 3.5mm audio socket.
As is common with devices like this, neither handset supports 3G but they do support WiFi which means that they can be used for free on a home wireless network. Ditching 3G in phones like this makes them cheaper, lighter and gives them a longer battery life, so it is not a bad compromise.
Despite not being smartphones, there seems to be a decent amount of software built in, including a web browser, email client and support for Twitter, Facebook and Google Talk. Because both phones support Java, then it should be possible to add simple Java-based applications to it if you want.
The Mix Walkman comes with an enhanced "Walkman" media player which includes a "Zappin" key to preview the lyrics of the next track to see if you really want to listen to it. You can also record karaoke sessions and there are built-in stereo speakers as well. This is a very light weight device at just 88 grams. One odd feature is a set of interchangeable coloured bands that go around the edge, including one with a pink cloud or a green bird kesting out
The txt pro comes with a nice looking QWERTY keyboard, which makes it a little heavier than the Walkman version, but at 100 grams it is still very pocket friendly. It's missing some of the more advanced media features of the Walkman Mix, but the txt pro is still a capable media device.
We don't know how much these phones will be, but as you can buy a rival Samsung Corby II device SIM-free for about €100, then we don't think that they will be much more expensive than that. But with Android prices coming down all the time, and in particular with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 costing just €130 or so, then we think that these handsets might have a tough time selling themselves.
Sony Ericsson say that both these handsets should be available during Q3 2011.