Sony Ericsson K810 review: A Cyber-shot is reborn

GSMArena team, 14 March 2007.
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For the viewer's pleasure

We are quite pleased with the Sony Ericsson K810 display. It is a 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution and a 2" diagonal. Two inches is not that much for a high-end multimedia mobile phone these days. Yet we find it enough. Legibility in bright light conditions was not the best in previous Sony Ericsson models. They surely were legible but not anywhere close to the displays Nokia uses in their middle to higher range of mobile phones based on the Nokia S40 user interface. The situation got better with the Sony Ericsson W880, but here we again see the good old display used in K800 for example.

Sony Ericsson K810
The K810 display in the dark

Joystick: playing hard to get

While generally we couldn't find any fault in the K810 design and construction, the keypad was the source of our greatest disappointment. And it's not the controversial alphanumeric keys we are talking about. The weakest point of the otherwise rather user-friendly handset is among the most important ones - the navigation joystick and the soft keys. The joystick is too sunk in for the user to be able to push it easily up or down. It doesn't matter if it's a man's thumb or a girls' one, the result is the same - a lot of frustration. The other problem - the one with the soft keys is that they are actually toξ stiff to press and they give almost no positive feedback when pressed. On K800 the web browser key and the Activity menu key were stuck in-between the soft keys and that made it hard for us to use the soft keys. The K810 no longer has that problem but it seems that Sony Ericsson have totally lost it with the keypad and navigation here.

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The bothersome joystick

Other than that the alphanumeric part of the keypad has a relatively even white backlighting. A certain flaw we see which may be attributed to the fact that our test handset is a pre-release version is that the blue camera icons on the left side of the keypad are constantly lit while on paper they should light up only if the camera is on. In the same time the icons beside the upper shortcut keys above the display have no backlighting at all. We hope that all that would be fixed in the final version.

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The keypad backlighting in the dark

Telephony at its usual level

Sony Ericsson K810 manages great at making and receiving calls. Not that we would expect any less than that. Unfortunately, the loudspeaker wasn't the loudest one we've seen. It certainly lacks bass elements but that is something usual for a mobile phone.

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Calling our friend Dexter

User interface: doesn't need introduction

The user interface in K810 is a standard non-smartphone Sony Ericsson user interface. Honestly we've slowly becoming fed up with the user interface - it's been around for 2 years now that they haven't changed it a bit. It offers great user-friendliness but new mobiles equipped with it don't offer any new functionality over previous models.

The Sony Ericsson K810 has a dedicated Flight mode. When turning on the phone, you are presented with the option to start it directly into Flight mode. The phone cannot work in Flight mode unless there is a SIM card inserted.

While generally we couldn't find any fault in the K810 design and construction, the keypad was the source of our greatest disappointment. And it's not the controversial alphanumeric keys we are talking about.

In active stand-by mode the screen displays information about the network signal, battery strength, current date and time, plus the next alarm that's due to go off. Pressing the navigation pad in any of the four directions can start a given feature or application according to the user preference. The main menu itself is made of a matrix grid with 4 x 3 animated icons. All sub-menus are in listed view with tiny icons on the left side. The phone reacts and performs fast in every submenu and application.

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Standby view • the main menu • a listed sub menu

There are several themes that come preinstalled in the phone. They change the color scheme, the wallpaper and sometimes even the menu icons.

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Three of the preinstalled themes

There is an Activity menu which has a dedicated shortcut key on the keypad. The Now running tab of the menu offers multi-tasking - for example you can run two Java applications and listen to the radio or to the music player simultaneously. The Activity menu also offers quick access to recent events, the web menu and the My Shortcuts menu which contains a list of frequently used features and can be modified to the user preference.

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The four tabs of the Activity menu

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