Sony Ericsson C901 review: Cyber-shot reloaded
The Sony Ericsson C901 is not an internet-centric device and scores modestly on connectivity options. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G are all on board for worldwide roaming. 3.6 Mbps HSDPA, as well as HSUPA are also supported.
Besides the network-based connectivity, the Sony Ericsson C901 offers the usual Bluetooth v2.0 and USB options. There is also support for the A2DP profile allowing you to listen to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. Last but not least, there is also the M2 card slot (under the battery cover), which is often one of the quickest ways of transferring data.
The C901 supports local and remote synchronization of contacts and calendar events. Unfortunately there is no USB cable bundled in the package and you will need to buy one.
There are no premium connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, GPS or even a 3.5 mm audio jack, but we did not expect them since the C901 is a pure camera-oriented phone at a (relatively) bargain price.
A good browsing experience
Sony Ericsson C901 has an Access NetFront browser v3.4 featuring the extended home screen, also available in C903, C905, T700 and G705. Plenty of shortcuts arranged in a tree structure are listed on the homescreen, right under a search and an address bar. They grant access to free content, such as clips, tracks and games on the Sony Ericsson site, including a step-by-step guide for setting up email accounts or internet connections. The appearance of the home screen changes to a different bright color each time you start the browser too.
Elaborate web pages are rendered well and there are lots of configurable settings too. The dedicated full screen mode in portrait mode is replaced by the auto-rotate feature, which actually opens it in full-screen landscape mode. View modes include Text only, Pan and Zoom, and Zoom page. The Panning/scrolling speed is up to standard.
The Sony Ericsson C901 web browser offers a virtual mouse pointer, which is nice to work with. Another interesting and practical feature is the "Find on page" option. It searches the loaded web page but the first match is not immediately listed and you need to press the find key.
If are still not satisfied with this browser, you can always count on the superb (and free) OperaMini as a suitable replacement.
Organizer and apps
The Sony Ericsson C901 offers a wide range of time-management features. The Calendar offers monthly, weekly and daily views. When you add a birth date in the phonebook, the phone prompts adding it to the calendar. The to-do application allows storing of two types of tasks: simple Tasks and Phone calls. Notes are written similar to messages and the T9 dictionary can be used here as well.
The Alarms are part of the main menu and there are five alarm slots available. Each one offers a lot of options - you can choose to repeat the alarm on chosen days of the week or everyday. Text and a picture can be added to the alarm. Furthermore, the alarm's behavior can be defined in case the time it is due to go off comes while the phone is in silent mode.
The Calculator is the regular Sony Ericsson one. It offers the basic functions, no bells and whistles, but you can run the Converter from there. The stopwatch and countdown timer are also the familiar basic applications. The Voice recorder has no limit to recording length, making the available free memory the only restriction.
As for the additional applications, Sony Ericsson C901 comes with AccuWeather, Facebook, YouTube, Standby World 3D, Photo Mate, PIM Wallpaper, Slideshow Wall, World Clock 3D and Walk Mate.
Photo Mate offers help and practical tips for getting the most out of your camera.
The Slideshow Wall is a simple application that displays the available images with a few animations. The main purpose of this application is that it can be used as a wallpaper, otherwise it would've been pretty useless.
The Walk Mate is a simple step counter application which works in background mode getting its data from the built-in accelerometer. Again, it can be used as homescreen wallpaper.
The AccuWeather application gives you up-to-date weather information for locations of interest. Current conditions overview and a three day forecast is available for a great number of cities around the world. You should bear in mind that the data is downloaded in real time so data charges may apply. Not that we can think of any other way for the application to work but we still feel a warning is due.
The Standby World 3D is a nice application with readings for up to three different time zones around the world. The background changes as day turns into night in the selected locations. You can set this app as a default background.
PIM Wallpaper is an app showing your appointments for the next two days in a rather boring grey layout. But it can be set as a default wallpaper, which some of you may find useful.
The Facebook application lets you log on to Facebook and see the latest news about your friends or change your status. You can't do much more than that but still it does the basic job. If you minimize the app your online friends will appear on the homescreen with small thumbs and bubbles for their current moods. It's a very fancy option in fact: all the thumbs are semi-transparent and switch from one to another every 3 seconds.
And finally, World Clock 3D allows you to spin the globe searching for a time zone. You can zoom in and out as you please. Of course you can also search by city name.