Our team has had the opportunity to evaluate all six new models from Sony Ericsson - 3 megapixel camera phones, a new clamshell and its music-orientated twin; the successor of the famous Sony Ericsson K700 and the cheapest Sony Ericsson camera phone. More than a hundred of live pictures for you in this review only!
We have been given the chance to test the hottest Sony Ericsson products soon after their worldwide presentation. We were eager to see them more than ever before for two basic reasons: Sony Ericsson launched not one, but six new models; the best among them feature particularly fascinating parameters.
My first encounter with this phone was marked by a certain feeling of disappointment as to its design. In all official pictures the phone looked like a square box totally blank of ideas. Seen in reality it gives the same impression. Once I had taken a closer look at its construction, however, I kind of started to change my opinion.
The front cover of the device is fully purpose-built. Enough space has been assigned for both the keypad and the display. The front side does not feature decorative elements because of simple lack of space. There are silver bands on the phone sides, you will not find any edge rounding on its rear cover also. The entire look of Sony Ericsson K800 is fully determined by the expectations of the end user, that is to say, customers tend to see their phones as electric devices meant to serve for both work and fun, but in no way do they look as a fashion accessory.
Sony Ericsson K800 is a little bit bigger than its forerunner K750. What I cannot get accustomed to is the bulging camera area on the back of the device. In fact, it's not a real obstacle to functionality it is just an impression of mine caused by the unusual angle, under which the phone lays on a surface. Pay attention to the fact that the camera cover may move accidentally if you carry the phone in your pocket. The phone is made of matt black plastics, due to which fingerprints remain relatively invisible. Yet, the cover glass of the display and the glossy cover of the camera do need to be wiped from time to time.
I have no special remarks to make as to the qualities of the keypad and the joystick. Keys are all big enough. Marked by strong gaps, they are also easy to recognize by touch. Each press is followed by a quiet click sound. There is plenty of space for one's thumb to be comfortably held against the edge of the joystick. The pad of the joystick is large enough to ensure a reliable press likewise. All in all, the tiny functional buttons squeezed between the two main functional keys seem to be the only minor drawback as pressing them requires certain concentration.
The music button is located on the left side of the phone. It is quite small and a bit too embedded. On the opposite side there is a pair of buttons, which could have been designed slightly bigger too.
At the press conference we have been informed that the manufacturer of Cyber-shot cameras is going to launch a campaign as huge as the one of Walkman. This famous mark of Sony digital cameras will be used as a brand for the production of the best camera phones ever. Btw, this is exactly the story of Walkman being a sheltering brand for the best music phones on the current market. Yet, all those dreaming of a Cyber-shot Walkman please do not get pretty excited as no such "perfect" device is currently being developed. In fact, Cyber-shot will be more or less a different type of a Walkman.
To activate the camera simply slide its cover aside. I was eager to see the new graphic camera interface so hugely advertised during Sony Ericsson's launching campaign, but eventually I did not observe any crucial difference between the new model and Sony Ericsson K750. Even though users are offered far more setting options than in any other camer phone, Sony Ericsson K800 still lacks scene modes or manual exposure settings (both being common features of standard digital cameras).
The viewfinder in Sony Ericsson K800 opens a fascinating view, mainly due to the qualities of the display. Pictures in full resolution are taken surprisingly fast. Focusing is almost instant, as well. In addition, the camera features an interesting function called BestPic, which first allows the user to take 9 pictures in full resolution within a mere second and consequently lets them choose which one they like best. Once the preferred picture has been selected, the rest get deleted automatically.
The phone is also equipped with a xenon flash, whose performance is unexpectedly good. Alike any common digital camera, it is able to lighten a darker scene at the considerable distance of several meters. Manufacturer's representatives did their best to assure us that this flash light is extremely energy-friendly. However, it has one important drawback when compared to standard LEDs - it works in a stroboscopic mode only and therefore can hardly be used as an emergency lamp.
The gallery, in which ready pictures can be browsed, is new too. It is organized in the form of a chronologically ordered album. Pictures are filed into folders by date. The full-screen view option is present, of course. I apologize for not being able to offer you sample photos taken with Sony Ericsson K800. Seeing that the presented testing models only featured temporary firmware I did not have the opportunity to send pictures through Bluetooth, unfortunately. So sample photos are still to come.
Let me mention one more thing regarding blogs. The original idea of the manufacturer was not that the user would send pictures to their friends' mobile phone, but that they would rather display those pictures in internet, where everybody would be able to view them in full resolution. Instead, friends would receive a standard SMS with an internet address.
The phone is equipped with an MP3 player that is identical to the players used in all other Walkman models. In other words, files are once again sorted by artist and album name. The phone comes with a pair of standard earphones and 64MB of internal memory. If you need an additional memory card, you will have to buy it separately as no such one is delivered in the box.
The phone supports Bluetooth 2.0 and is therefore able to broadcast stereophonic sound signal through a pair of wireless earphones.
Browsing the menu was a delightful experience. The fine resolution of the display presents a truly breathtaking picture, which Sony Ericsson has underlined with tiny animations, as usual. The main menu consists of 12 nicely elaborated icons. Extensive menus mainly consist of text. Tabs can often be seen too. I was pleased by the instance, with which keys would react to my press.
The novelties in Sony Ericsson K800, when compared to the current K750 model, can hardly be seen at a first look. Yet they are crucial. First, the capacity of the phonebook has been extended to 1000 contacts and 2500 numbers. Repeated events in the phonebook are another pleasant surprise. The model we tested permitted us to set up a day repetition only, but the final firmware is supposed to offer a more varied setup options.
Following readers' requests I made an attempt to search for an Office documents viewer in the extras menu, but I did not succeed. Present official representatives were not able to tell me, whether such a viewer would appear in the final model for a certainty, either. By all means, there is no doubt that this phone will manage to run several extra java applications at a time.
Sony Ericsson K800/K790 gives me more or less the same impression like the one the forerunner K750 left in me a year ago. By now it is already as clear as daylight that this new multimedia device is going to be successful. The reasons are numerous: it serves both for work and fun, it offers intuitive control as well as all modern mobile functions all in a stretch. What's more, its price is quite reasonable - approximately 430 euro. Sony Ericsson will hit the market this summer. No exact date has been officially stated yet.