As Japan's CDMA big dog, KDDI au holds a unique spot in the market -- but if you think that means they're light on offerings against the more popular HSPA models supported by NTT DoCoMo and Softbank, you'd be dead wrong. The carrier's latest lineup includes a monster camera-cum-phone-cum-camera from Casio, an AQUOS-branded Sharp that's just about big enough to replace your television (not really though), and updates of older models that are still high-tech enough to make most of us look like neanderthals.
Hitachi Wooo W63H
It looks like pretty much any other Japanese flip, but the W63H probably has just about the most gorgeous screen we'll never see. Why? Turns out this sucker packs 3.1 inches of wide VGA OLED bliss, which explains why it's using the same Wooo branding as Hitachi's line of HDTVs. The phone is also capable of smoothing out one-seg's standard 15fps frame rate to 30fps, features a 5-megapixel camera, and has 600MB of storage space on board. It's available in Garnet Orange (pictured), Sapphire Black, and Opal White.
Casio EXILIM W63CA
Let's jump right into the big guns, shall we? The W63CA matches the W63H's 3.1-inch WVGA OLED display, but ups the imaging ante with a massive 8.1-megapixel (well, 8.09-megapixel, technically) camera that features face-detecting autofocus -- and it's still 1.5mm thinner than the W53CA it replaces. At 17.4mm, it's not setting any records, granted -- but every little bit helps. This one can be had in Shine Pink, Ice White, Titanium Gold, and Metal Green.
Sharp AQUOS W64SH
If 3.1 inches isn't quite enough screen for you, step right on up to the AQUOS-branded W64SH from Sharp, offering a full 3.5-inches of wide VGA action with a high-contrast LED backlight -- all told, the largest display ever offered on a KDDI phone. You still make off with a 5.2-megapixel camera, 740MB of onboard memory, and global roaming capability, too. Earth Green, Mars Red, and Galaxy Black (get the theme?) are your color options here.
If you tend to roll with the slider crowd and the mighty W64SH is just a little more phone than you need, we might recommend the W65T, Toshiba's entry with a 3.2-megapixel cam, 2.8-inch OLED display (REGZA branded, natch), and a motion sensor that doubles as a pedometer / calorie counter. It can be had in Live Pink, Fresh White, Splash Blue, or Jet Black.
Even the especially uninteresting phones in the lineup manage to stay interesting by doing things like, say, varying the style of the keypad between colors. Depending on whether you choose the W65K in Clair White, Fleur Pink, or Luxe Silver, you'll get a different texture of shell and a totally different look to the keypad -- techy for white, stylish for pink, and sans for silver. Oh, and the whole package is waterproof, which seems to be a popular differentiator on a few models in Japan. Otherwise, though, you're getting stuck with a 2-megapixel camera and a mere 100MB of memory, so you'd better seriously take advantage of that waterproofness with an occasional toilet or bathtub accident. And if you're curious just how waterproof it is, well, "the unit will retain its functionality as a phone even if blasted with water projected at all angles through 6.3mm nozzles at a flow rate of approximately 12.5 liters/minute for more than 3 minutes from a distance of approximately 3 meters." So there you have it.
Sony Ericsson W64S
It kinda irks us that Sony Ericsson can make beautiful CDMA devices for Japan but won't bother to ship a few to the US, where CDMA carriers have been Sony Ericsson-less for years -- but that's just the way the cookie crumbles, we suppose. The W64S offers a 3.2-megapixel camera, 2.7-inch display, GSM global roaming, and "30 different patterns of illumination" on the stylized face. Grab it in Diamond Pink, Snow White, Lattice Black, or Mist Blue.
KDDI pulls no punches with the W62P -- it's a "fashion accessory" more than it is a monster of Japanese technology, but for some buyers, we're sure that's quite alright. Panasonic's latest flip clocks in at just 12.9mm and offers a 2-megapixel cam, 2.9-inch primary display, and automatic opening with the push of a button (a feature we'd like to see on more flips around the world, actually). It comes in your choice of Candide Pink, Charmant Gold, and Intelligent Purple.
Borrowing cues from the W62P, the W64T is billed as a "cosmetic phone that sparkles with elegance." Translation: "more show than go." The funky face is accompanied by a 3.2-megapixel cam, 2.8-inch WQVGA display, and the usual array of features like one-seg tuning, navigation, Osaifu-Keitai for NFC payments, and downloadable fonts. Scoop this one up in Shining Pink, Shining Turquoise, or -- you guessed it -- Shining White.
Sony Ericsson Full Change re
This is the same re that we saw from the summer collection, they've just added more colors to the palette. Sony Ericsson's fashion-friendly flip is now available in Glossy White, Clean Green, Blooming Pink, Active Orange, Sleek Silver, Deep Red, Lustrous Blue, Silky Lavender (pictured), Mat Black, and Luminous Gold, plus a special James Bond Quantum of Solace edition to tie into the movie's release, which Sony sponsors.