Sony Ericsson C903 review: Slider-shot
Thumbs up for the Media Center
Sony Ericsson C903 runs the flash-based Media Center. Its menu lists the Photo, Music, Video, YouTube, Games, RSS feeds and Settings icons. The settings menu is simple - you may opt for portrait, landscape or auto-rotate modes.
The Music Player to be found in C903 is version 3.0 - a slightly abridged edition of Walkman player 3.0. Across the Media Center menus, you can enjoy screen auto-rotation. The player supports numerous file formats, including the regularly used MP3, WAV, WMA, M4A and E-AAC plus the MegaBass equalizer preset and Stereo widening. The player can naturally be set to run in the background.
The interface colors of the Media center vary across different themes.
The video player in the media center supports fast-forwarding and rewinding, and the interface is simple and stylish. The video files are accessible via the file manager too. Other extras include fullscreen mode and screenshot capability, and you also have the option to save a frame of video and add it to the gallery.
The video section also houses the pre-installed YouTube client. It gives you full access to clips and uploading, bookmarked favorites and so on.
The Photo gallery stores the shots you've taken and prebundled or uploaded images, and offers some extra options like mark as favorite and photo feed. Latest Photo provides quick access to the most recent photos. Camera Album is a thumb list for each month of the year and when a month is open, it reveals a 3 x 4 grid of photo thumbs. Scrolling down shows all the photos taken in the corresponding month with the highlighted photo slightly enlarged for better viewing.
The Pictures section again opens as a 3 x 4 grid of thumbs with non-camera images such as the preinstalled wallpapers. When exiting the fullscreen view of a picture, it smoothly zooms out to thumb view.
Generally, the Photo gallery is a richly-featured tool for managing your photo collection and it offers very good customization capabilities. Photo Tags displays previously marked favorite photos. The Up key on the D-pad offers quick access to sending options like Send as Picture Msg, as Email, to Blog or via Bluetooth.
Other than that, you can set a photo as wallpaper, screen saver, startup screen, and contact picture straight from the gallery. The well known Pan and Zoom and slideshow feature are also on board.
Finally, the C903 is capable of putting standard GPS coordinates in images thanks to its built-in GPS receiver.
Accordingly, picture browsing via the classic file manager is still possible, but somewhat pushed aside with the timeline view missing. We actually doubt if this timeline feature will be available in future phones, as the trend is integrating Walkman and Cyber-shot features across the Sony Ericsson portfolio.
PhotoDJ, VideoDJ and MusicDJ are signature features for all Sony Ericsson phones, and are available here too.
You can zoom in to the actual size of the picture or even beyond, yet extreme zooming won't really do any good. Browsing full-res images didn't involve any lag at all, while zooming does take a little time. The magnified section of the image loads in low quality and only appears in full res after a couple of seconds.
FM radio with RDS and TrackID
The integrated FM radio of Sony Ericsson C903 has memory for 20 stations and supports RDS. It has a nice interface and makes great use of the TrackID music recognition service. The radio can be minimized in the background much like the music player but offers none of the fancy fullscreen graphics.
TrackID is accessible through its original location in the entertainment menu. The service interface comes with the same expanded features that we first saw on C902 - "Find similar music", "Send music info via SMS", "TrackID charts" and a very extensive "Artist info" section.
Now there is one more update to the TrackID - the online search option. It allows fast search in the entire database for artist, album, title, and lyrics.