Sony Ericsson C905

Is this 8.1-megapixel beast the king of camera phones?

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Sony Ericsson C905
  • Sony Ericsson C905
  • Sony Ericsson C905
  • Sony Ericsson C905

Pros

  • 8.1-megapixel camera, Xenon flash, face detection, good build quality, impressive layout of keys and design, built-in GPS

Cons

  • No optical zoom, lens cover somewhat loose, no 3.5mm headphone jack or adapter, slightly sluggish interface

Bottom Line

If you’re purely after a phone for imaging, then the C905 will be right up your alley. While we’re still waiting for optical zoom, the photos it produces are pretty noteworthy for a camera phone. An excellent design and good build quality are slightly let down by a somewhat sluggish user interface and a proprietary headphone jack.

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A significant jump up from 5-megapixel camera phones, Sony Ericsson’s latest beast boasts a whopping 8.1-megapixel sensor. The C905 also throws in face detection, image stabilisation and a dual flash (Xenon and LED) in a bid to become the king of camera phones.

Aesthetically, Sony Ericsson seems to have struck a nice balance between looks and size. Aside from the camera lens cover rocking slightly from side to side, build quality feels excellent and the materials used are of a high quality. The spring-operated slider feels firm and well constructed, while the buttons provide reasonable tactility. Particularly impressive is the contrast between the matte black finish and the chrome edging and silver highlights — this gives the C905 a distinctive touch of class.

Slid open, the C905 reveals a flat but well spaced keypad, with a soft white backlight. Although the keys are flat, they are comfortable to type on and the same is true of the basic yet intuitive controls. A five-way navigational pad does most of the work, with two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and shortcut and clear keys also present.

The C905’s display is bright and clear, but no more remarkable than many other recent releases. Sony Ericsson has stuck to its familiar interface on this handset, ensuring the menus look impressive and have a reasonably easy to use layout. Unfortunately, the C905 is a little on the slow side. While this doesn’t impact too much on the general usability of this handset, it’s still slightly annoying.

The Cyber-shot branded C905 is obviously first and foremost a camera phone and it does a very reasonable job in this regard. In addition to the 8.1-megapixel sensor, there is face detection, a smart contrast function that balances light and colour, a Xenon flash and Sony Ericsson’s BestPic function, which takes seven photos as you press and release the shutter button, to ensure you get the best picture possible. The design of this handset is also user-friendly: rotate the C905 sideways and it feels like a regular camera, with zoom, review, video and shutter buttons. On the front, blue backlit camera keys appear when the camera is active including exposure adjustment, flash, focus and self-timer shortcuts on the five-way navigational pad. The lens cover is also convenient, as sliding it open automatically opens the camera application.

Obviously an important point to note is that a camera phone isn’t going to produce images to rival a dedicated digital camera. While the C905’s images are pretty impressive for a mobile phone, most camera phone users are still demanding optical zoom, faster response time and longer battery life instead of more megapixels. That being said, the C905 is definitely an impressive performer. Image noise and questionable colour reproduction are issues, but chromatic aberration is fairly minimal considering this is a camera phone. Also reasonably impressive are photos taken in low-light situations; the dual flash is very effective for night time photography.

The C905 also includes A-GPS and comes pre-loaded with Google Maps and Wayfinder Navigator software. The latter provides full turn by turn navigation, but this comes as an extra subscription cost. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HSDPA capabilities ensure you’ll remain connected.

The C905’s multimedia capabilities are let down by the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unlike Sony Ericsson’s Walkman range, this model doesn’t even include an adapter to use regular headphones. The media menu is excellent though, using the same format as the Walkman range. The C905 has 160MB of on-board memory but Sony Ericsson includes a 2GB M2 (Memory Stick Micro) card in the sales package. Conveniently, a USB adapter to ensure quick transfer of files from a PC is also included.

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