The Sony Ericsson K850 has a thrilling 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a powerful xenon flash and automatic lens cover. Upgrades are serious in both interface and ergonomics. There's only one thing the Cyber-shot logo, the 5 megapixel sign and the digicam-like design and keys can't make up for. And that's a common drawback of all cameraphones: the lack of real quality optics. As the megapixel count in cameraphones will continue to go up, developing quality optics should be the first thing to address to give cameraphones some competitive edge against low and mid-end digicams. As to the interface, Sony Ericsson K850 is the first Sony Ericsson cameraphone to offer Cyber-shot SE v2.0, inspired by Sony's T series digital cameras. The major amendments are the pop-up sub-menus enhanced with icons, or even embedded color photos, for even more intuitive performance, and the Multi Menu packing all the available settings. Autofocus mode automatically changes to macro, when a close object is chosen to shoot at and that's another handy option.
The camera has a toolbar with options, including shooting mode, scenes, picture size, focus, flash, self-timer, ISO, metering mode, white balance, effects, and settings Multi Menu.
As most of the options are well known since K810, let's highlight the novelties only - the ISO sensitivity setting and the settings multi menu. The ISO setting is offered for the first time in a Cyber-shot handset. It allows the user to choose among four light sensitivity settings: auto, ISO 100, 200 and 400.
The Settings multi menu is the second new feature. It looks pretty much the same as in standard digicam menus. All the camera settings are displayed in two menu columns: the left displays the features and the right shows which setting is in use. Pressing the Down key of the D-pad lists all options of a certain feature. The settings on the menu are: Picture Quality, AF light, BestPic, Review, Stabilizer, Save to, Auto rotate, Shutter sound and Reset counter. Thankfully, taking photos with our K850 with the shutter sound switched off is possible. However, autofocusing is still marked by a confirmation beep, but as you already know, it can be muted by turning on silent mode.
The Sony Ericsson K850 comes with a Photo Fix application, that provides quick remedy for some defects in the pictures. It is integrated into the camera interface, so a picture can be fixed right after it was taken.
Judging the camera quality of a beta unit is a risky business. Even so, it's clear the K850 camera is a match for the release version of the camera in Nokia N95. This conclusion is based on our recently published in-depth shootout.
This 5 megapixel head-to-head covered different shooting conditions for a thorough comparison. We welcome you to read it. We suppose the final version of the camera may perform better and we're ready to update the shootout if we see considerable improvements in its quality.
|The Sony Ericsson K850 has a thrilling 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a powerful xenon flash and automatic lens cover. Upgrades are serious in both interface and ergonomics. There's only one thing the Cyber-shot logo, the 5 megapixel sign and the digicam-like design and keys can't make up for.|
The videos taken with K850 are captured in QVGA resolution at 30fps, not a big deal at all. Frankly, we expected at least VGA resolution at 30 fps. 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 Sony Ericsson upgraded the video recording capabilities of their mobile phones.
The functionality of the secondary VGA camera is adequate. 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. You can also have your image in mirror-like view, which is much more natural. 2x digital zoom in on your image is also available, as well as the option to replace your live video feed with a picture of your preference. You can also do that during an actual video call, and it's handy when, for example, you want to show the other party an interesting picture you've taken. The options don't end here. You can further control the exposure compensation of the camera or even switch it into night mode. There are 3 different video quality modes: Smooth, Sharp and Normal. Smooth delivers a smoother picture, while Sharp provides more detailed images.
Besides the full HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), 3G, EDGE and GPRS for fast data transfers, video calls and content-streaming, the handset offers the usual connectivity capabilities such as USB and Bluetooth with A2DP support.
As we tested, the integrated HTML Access NetFront Internet browser is good enough and does more than an all-right job. It has plenty 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. A new option for browsing sites is to use the pan & zoom view mode, and it works much like zooming photos. There's a connectivity sub-menu added, where you can set the preferred connection, default page, or local connection. The NetFront web browser offers an RSS-feed reader.
Generally, the Smart-fit function of the browser does well fitting the web content onto 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 a better job than the one in previous Sony Ericsson models. Other view options are shown below, as well.
The Sony Ericsson K850 supports Bluetooth 2.0 with the Human Interface Device (HID) profile, which allows the phone to be used as a remote control for PC and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Furthermore, the phone could be used as a Bluetooth modem for accessing the Internet on a PC or notebook computer. Bluetooth support also includes the A2DP profile, allowing listening to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. The K850 supports local and remote synchronization of contacts and calendar events. The local one is with Outlook and a PC, while the remote synchronization works with remote servers. The USB connectivity of the phone has three 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. The new one is the media transfer, which directly connects to the Windows media player, and gives full access to tracks placed on your phone, synchronization, play or sorting in playlists.