Sony Ericsson C901 review: Cyber-shot reloaded
Six games onboard
Sony Ericsson C901 comes with six full Java games preinstalled: Bowling, Brain Challenge, Brick Breaker, Bubble Town, Kasparov Chess and Sudoku.
Bowling is a small but real cool game using the motion sensor. Choose your position, direction and then swing with your hand and watch what happens. It's great fun and you can play in tournaments against your friends.
The next one is Bubble Town. It's a simple bubble breaking game that involves shooting colored balls and forming three or more identical bubble combinations.
The Brain Challenge is quite an entertaining game that involves solving mathematical problems, memory games and pattern recognition exercises.
Kasparov Chess doesn't need any explanation - it's a standard chess game named after the famous Russian chess player.
Brick Breaker is a replica of an arcade classic.
The last game is a Java interpretation of the world-popular Japanese game Sudoku. It's got a nice interface and enough difficulty levels to suit every taste.
The Sony Ericsson C901 is not the usual mobile phone we meet these days. This review doesn't come in the nick of time really but the C901 might as well be quite on track to give the Cybershot line a well-deserved boost before the likes of Satio and Aino prepare to steal the show. Pet names are all the rage now in the Sony Ericsson portfolio, but a bit of old-school charm and skill turned out quite refreshing. And the conventional model name is by far not the only thing that makes the Sony Ericsson C901 a Cybershot classic.
Packing all of the standard mid-range features is unlikely to make it stand out, but the unusual camera certainly does. The surprisingly good processing algorithm topped with xenon flash and active camera lens cover bring out the best out of the Cybershot family. The Sony Ericsson feature phone UI combined with the Flash Media Center hasn't change a bit, but still it managed to please us with its vivid colors and nice animations.
First in line for shoppers to consider are its siblings the Sony Ericsson C902 and W902. Both match the price tag on the C901 and their cameras are similar, but crucially lack the xenon flash, meaning that they fail to deliver the level of versatility offered by the C901.
For 70 euro more you can already get the Cybershot C905, which is ageing and getting cheaper. This 8 megapixel snapper comes equipped with xenon flash along with all the other high-end stuff like Wi-Fi, GPS, bigger screen, etc. We agree, the price is really not so close, but it's still quite a bargain.
The Samsung S7220 Ultra b matches most of the key features of the C901, but can offer even more - a document viewer and GPS. However, it does lack the xenon flash. With a distinct and bold styling, the Samsung bar is certainly a worthy rival.
The Nokia 6700 classic is definitely worth your time too. It's among the best 5 megapixel phones we have ever seen. And a cool looking handset too. For 40 euro more than C901 you get amazing photo quality and a built-in GPS with Nokia Maps though running on the now dated S40 UI. Again if you can live without the flash, it's worth checking out.
Exactly the same price tag still sticks on the Cybershot K850 and the fashionable Samsung F480 Tocco. The first one comes with similar camera and hardware features, but handily offers microSD compatibility along with the in-house M2 slot. The F480 is part of the Samsung fashion line and also matches the C901 spec sheet, and even adds a 2.8" touchscreen. It has no xenon flash though.
Surely the Nokia 6220 classic deserves special attention for its similar camera with xenon flash, which did quite well in terms of photo quality. Even more, the 6220 is already a few bucks cheaper, but comes with a better display, a videocall camera, GPS and TV-out along with a 3.5mm audio jack. The camera is equipped with Carl Zeiss optics and captures VGA videos @30 fps. Not least, the Nokia 6220 classic is a Symbian powered smartphone and we believe the comparison is slightly in favor of the Finns. Still the Sony Ericsson C901 speaks design more fluently and offers an extra LED flash.
Similar is the situation with the Nokia N82, which was the all-reigning imaging champion back in its day. It's got the smart skills with Symbian and all the modern connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and GPS. But we have to admit its design is quite dated now, the phone is relatively bulky and it seems quite overpriced for a device of that age - it still goes around 240 euro, you know.
Last in line is the Motorola ZN5. The 5 megapixel bar boasts a Kodak sensor and comes with xenon flash. It runs a mobile Linux implementation, which is not widely adopted on phones, but the handset costs only 140 euro.
The Sony Ericsson C901 comes with style, a premium camera and mid-range features. In all honesty, it was hard to find something we didn't like about it, particularly at such a low price point. The list of competitors isn't short, but the C901 can surely compete with the best of them.