Sony Ericsson reliability called into question?

What Mobile
February 24, 2009

Mobile News reports:

Dealers have raised serious questions over the build quality of Sony Ericsson handsets after widespread problems with the C905, its latest high-end device.

Many customers have complained to independent dealers that the earpiece on the C905 stops working soon after purchase, with a flex cable between the top and bottom of the slider cable failing. Some have also criticised the manufacturer for how long it takes to repair handsets.

Complete Communications proprietor Adam Nyman said: “I’m not stocking the C905 any more. Sony Ericsson is denying all knowledge of problems and is taking up to three weeks to send back repaired phones. People want reliability in their mobiles and can’t wait that long.

“Its last decent release was the K810 but since then all the phones have been faulty. Take the W595 for example – the keypad fell apart shortly after purchase. Unless it addresses these problems Sony Ericsson is in big danger of falling behind its rivals.”

Mobile Zone proprietor Mike Young reported faults on several handsets and criticised Sony Ericsson for not having a repair centre like its rivals.

“We’ve had the same enquiries about the C905. The K850 is still a nightmare because of endless failures with the key membrane. The new parts don’t seem to work either. And the flip mechanism on the W350i breaks too easily as well.”

The Phone Shop proprietor Adrian Foot said parts for faulty Sony Ericsson phones were harder to get hold of. “A lot of customers seem to be having problems with the C902’s keypad, with the UI board underneath the keypad failing. There hasn’t been a decent release since the K800 a couple of years ago. Customers are having to wait up to six weeks to get their phone back.”

Sony Ericsson managing director Nathan Vautier said: “We are very aware of this. We need to take a step up and understand where these quality issues are coming from.  We have gone from having one of the best performing quality brands to having issues on certain products.

“We are addressing this radically, starting from within the core of our manufacturing business, in changing how we conduct our research and development, where we source our components and how we test our products.

“We will also manage this locally through post sales teams. In the short term we will be looking at ways to support this further through more accessible software downloads. But it has to start within the product itself.”


What Mobile has found that the C905 has other problems, some related to firmware and others to hardware. Regular reboots have been reduced almost to nil with firmware R1BA02 (issued in October 2008), but there are still many situations that result in the phone slowing to a crawl, losing Internet connectivity and even disabling Wi-Fi or Bluetooth without warning. The camera will also pause at times for no obvious reason, meaning it’s quite possible to miss a photo opportunity completely.

Hardware problems include buttons failing to respond as well as the above reported earpiece problem.

The biggest problem is the unpredictable battery life, with users reporting the battery dying in a matter of hours, despite not being even being used. This is likely to be another software problem.

According to, Sony Ericsson has addressed many of the hardware problems on later production builds – but the firmware is still an issue that needs to be resolved. In January, it was announced that C905 owners would soon be able to get an update that offered bug fixes and new features (Smile Shutter, YouTube uploading, threaded SMS conversations) but as we approach March, the update has still not been made available either using the SEUS (PC-based update software) or the Update Service on the phone itself.


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