Sony Ericsson C902 looks a normal bar, but the form factor is not quite set in stone. The handset is complete with the novel slide-up lens cover we mentioned earlier. The phone is a solid piece.
With a full metal casing, the C902 feels quite pleasant in hand, the commendable 10.5 mm slimness going well with the hefty 107 g of weight. Glossy surfaces dominate the front, the rear is all matt.
The 2" diagonal of the display is nothing impressive, but the eight touch sensitive camera keys around it are worth the fuss. In camera mode they are responsible for switching between video and still camera, accessing the photo gallery, changing the autofocus mode, shoot mode, scenes, timer and flash mode.
Having selected a setting, its icon blinks briefly in the center of the viewfinder before it smoothly drops down to take its place in the viewfinder status bar.
The small display deserves very high marks on both color rendering and sunlight legibility, even if it's not a transreflective unit as the ones of G700 and G900.
The C902 keypad is barely decent. The alphanumeric keyboard is crammed down on the front panel and the rows of buttons are quite tightly packed. The the keys have decent width and good feedback but what really stands in the way of comfortable typing though is the awkward reverse terracing.
The D-pad and controls around the keyboard are OK. Under the pair of soft keys the dedicated Call and End key are placed, comfortably raising above their surroundings.
The keyboard backlighting however is a true disaster but with beta units we can't be too demanding. The white backlighting turns blue (the alphanumeric keypad is shut off) when the lens cover is slid up or the camera is on.
We can't help the nostalgic memories of the superb keypad backlighting in Sony Ericsson K660 we recently previewed.
The sides of the handset are distinguished for the black-gray stripe pattern. The top and bottom hold no controls. The universal port is on the left, while the right side sports the camera key and the volume rocker, The latter is rather awkwardly placed near the bottom below the shutter key.
At the back, the 5 megapixel autofocus camera lies secretly beneath its sliding cover. The opening of the camera cover activates the camera no matter what menu or submenu you are at. It doesn't work only when you have opened some application such as the Calendar or Phonebook.
Opening the camera by the flashing of the lights a blue LED band on the back of the handset. Other than that, the newly developed photoflash LED is also worth due attention.
The photoflash LED makes a compact and more efficient substitute for the xenon flash used in small digicams and cameraphones. The new photoflash LED is stated to produce approximately 25 lux/s. Its smaller size and twice less power consumption than standard xenon flash make it especially suitable for portable devices. It also doesn't need to recharge the way the xenon flash needs to after it has discharged when it fires.
Our hands-on experience with it convinced us that it's more powerful than the regular LED flashes, however at least in our test unit it's nowhere near the xenon flash performance.
Removing the rear panel of the phone reveals the standard Sony Ericsson BST-38 Li-Po battery with a capacity of 930 mAh. It's rated at up to 400 h of standby time and up to 9 h of talk time. Above the battery compartment are the SIM and the M2 card slots. It's a pity the memory card slot is only accessible after removing the battery cover.
We are pleased with the size, form factor and usability of the Sony Ericsson C902.