Sony Ericsson C902

5-megapixel Cyber-shot beast

Sony Ericsson C902
  • Sony Ericsson C902
  • Sony Ericsson C902
  • Sony Ericsson C902
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and face detection, sleek design, touch-sensitive camera controls, large display, HSDPA-capable, A2DP Bluetooth

Cons

  • Location of volume controls, lens cover a bit hit and miss, proprietary headphone/charger port, no M2 card included

Bottom Line

Sony Ericsson’s latest Cyber-shot phone has an impressive mix of imaging and phone functions. There are a few minor issues, but on the whole this is a welcome addition to the market.

Would you buy this?

Sporting a five-megapixel (Mp) camera with face-detection technology, autofocus and flash, the much anticipated Sony Ericsson C902 is a stylish, candy bar phone that is HSDPA-capable. Measuring just 11mm thick, the Cyber-shot branded C902 also features a unique sliding camera cover.

Essentially replacing the 5Mp K850i, the C902 is a far cry from its predecessor. It's slim, sleek and stylish and features a gloss black finish on the front and matte black finish on the rear. The design doesn't stand out, but its look is discreet and it certainly feels classy.

The keypad and controls are well designed, with each key raised on a slight angle. The keys are easy to press and their tactility is notable, but the glossy surface of the keys mean accidentally pressing the wrong key is a common experience. At the heart of the controls is a comfortable five-way navigational pad, along with two selection buttons. Our only complaint is that the answer and end call keys aren't raised and are sandwiched between the selection and clear/shortcut keys — this makes them a little more difficult to press.

The biggest design change is the sliding camera cover. Basically, the top section of the phone just above the display slides upwards to reveal the camera lens on the rear. Although this design is unique, it has its drawbacks. If you hold the phone in your right hand as many users do, you'll find the cover is difficult to open due to the position of your hands. The design also means the volume control has been moved to the bottom right side of the handset, making adjusting it during calls a little uncomfortable. One benefit of this design is that it's almost impossible to accidentally open.

Slid open, the camera reveals an impressive feature: the inclusion of touch-sensitive controls surrounding the display. These include various functions such as shot mode, flash, self-timer and face detection. The buttons are quite responsive and a nice touch is the fact that they morph on and off depending on the mode you are in.

Photos produced are quite impressive for a camera phone, though they are slightly upstaged by Samsung's G800, thanks to the latter's 3x optical zoom. There is no optical zoom on the C902, but you do get face-detection technology, autofocus and a fairly effective flash — although the lack of a xenon flash is puzzling.

The large display is excellent for using the camera, as it's quite easy to line-up an image. Photos produced aren't brilliant, but they are more than good enough to make the C902 useful as a secondary digital camera. Image noise is moderate; poor colour reproduction is the main negative. The camera also doubles as a video recorder, but as with most mobile phones video quality is far from great.

The C902 retains Sony Ericsson's intuitive user interface. General browsing and scrolling through menu items is much faster than previous units, making it one of the fastest Sony Ericsson phones we've reviewed. In addition, the main menu has two new views in addition to the standard grid layout — rotating and single icon layouts.

Except for the 5Mp camera, the C902 doesn't offer any spectacular features. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack, but an adapter is included allowing the use of standard headphones. Unfortunately, the proprietary headphone and charger port means you can't listen to music and charge the handset simultaneously. The inclusion of the A2DP Bluetooth profile means you can stream your music to a compatible set of Bluetooth headphones.

The C902 is HSDPA-capable and operates on the popular 2100MHz band. Voice calls are crisp and clear, though volume could have been louder. The handset comes with 160MB of internal memory; a Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot is included, but there is no card in the sales package.

Other features include SMS, MMS and email messaging, all with T9 predictive text input. There is also a host of PIM features, a voice recorder, video and image editors, an FM radio and an RSS reader. The TrackID feature is also present. This allows you to record a few seconds of any song through the external microphone. The recording is then sent to a music database and if the song is recognised, the title, album and artist name are sent to you.

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