Sony Ericsson K810 review: A Cyber-shot is reborn
Not a real camera upgrade
The Sony Ericsson K810 has the same camera as the one in K800 so we wouldn't expect more from it. The user interface has received a slight facelift but we already saw that in Sony Ericsson K550 and in Sony Ericsson W880 which we reviewed not long ago.
The camera offers night mode, self-timer, panorama, frames, and burst shooting modes. It also features white balance correction. Several color effects are available, too. The BestPic shoot mode is present here - it lacked in the Cyber-shot cameraphone Sony Ericsson K550 but then again it had a Burst shot mode which slightly compensated for the fact. There is a macro mode plus some controls for the Xenon flash which yet remains the only flash of this type used in a mobile phone. The flash has a Red eye reduction option which makes the light output a bit weaker.
Sony Ericsson claims that the camera module and the software in the new K810 model is exactly the same as in the older K800 model, which we got to know well from our shootouts. Anyway, we decided to snap a few photos just to be sure. For some reason, K810 handles the macro shots in the studio better than the K800 unit. The colors are spot on and the auto-focus is absolutely reliable. You can see here how K800 performed under the same conditions.
The quality of the outdoor shots is high as expected. We were pleased to see that the reddish cast in some of the K800 outdoor photos is now gone for good. The photos indoors are not bad at all, but somewhat lack contrast. This problem exists with Sony Ericsson K800 too, but it's more pronounced here, at least with our beta test unit. If you open some of the samples in a photo editor and adjust the levels you will see that the histogram is pushed to the right. A simple auto-level command will greatly improve the indoor images. Even the Auto-level command in PhotoDJ takes care of this problem very successfully - take a look at the example.
Indoor shot fixed in PhotoDJ
The Sony Ericsson K810 should have come with a Photo Fix application that allows for a quick remedy for dark pictures. It should have been integrated into the camera interface, but as it seems our test pre-release version doesn't feature it at all. So expect an update on that functionality as soon as the mobile is made publicly available.
The videos taken with K810 are captured at the low QCIF resolution. The options for the video camera are pretty much the same as those for the still camera with very minor differences. It's about time that Sony Ericsson upgrades the video recording capabilities of their mobile phones. Until that happens we will no longer publish sample video clips taken by Sony Ericsson phones - there isn't that much to see really.
|The Sony Ericsson K810 has the same camera as the one in K800 so we wouldn't expect more from it. The user interface has received a slight facelift but we already saw that in Sony Ericsson K550 and in Sony Ericsson W880 which we reviewed not long ago.|
The functionality of the secondary VGA camera is nice. The other party's video feed is viewed in a large frame in the middle of the screen while you view your own image in a small frame in the lower left corner. There is also a possibility to view your own image mirror-like, meaning that the image gets reversed and looks as if you are staring at yourself in a mirror. It's much more natural that way. You can also zoom digitally your image at a 2x degree or choose to replace your live video feed with a picture of your taste. You can also do that during an actual video call and it's handy when you want to show the other call party an interesting picture you have taken for example. The options don't end here. You can further on control the exposure compensation of the camera or even switch it into a night mode. There are 3 different video quality modes: Smooth, Sharp and Normal. Smooth delivers a smoother picture flow while Sharp provides more detailed images.
NetFront is gaining popularity
Besides 3G and GPRS for fast data transfers, video calls and streaming content support, the handset offers the usual connectivity capabilities such as the USB support, Bluetooth and Infrared port.
As we tested, the integrated HTML Access NetFront Internet browser is at a good level and it does its job more than all right. It has a lot of options - you can view the pages fullscreen with no menus showing and you can even browse your Web pages in landscape mode. It has WAP and picture modes. It supports content created for HTML 4.01, xHTML 1.0, CSS and Java script, WAP 2.0. The supported security protocols are SSL/TLS.
Generally, the Smart-fit function of the browser manages well with fitting the web content into the screen. Scrolling is fast once the page has loaded completely. Our impression is that the Smart-fit function has got an upgrade and does its job better than on previous Sony Ericsson models.
Now let's try browsing the same way without the Smart-Fit function switched off.
The Sony Ericsson K810 supports Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP profile, which means that you could use a stereo Bluetooth headset with it. Most recent hi-end phones support A2DP and as we saw at the 3GSM Congress 2007 held in Barcelona this February, the stereo Bluetooth functionality both in handsets and in headsets will become more wide spread than ever. The handset also has the Human Interface Device (HID) Bluetooth profile which allows the phone to be used as a remote control for PC and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Further on, the phone could be used as a Bluetooth modem for Internet access of a PC or a mobile computer.
The K810 has support for local and remote synchronization of contacts and calendar events. The local one is with Outlook and a PC while the remote synchronization is with remote servers. The USB connectivity of the phone has two modes - one for file transfers and one for USB Internet - to put it simply, the second one is for using the phone as a modem.