So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Sony Ericsson K610i
- Slim, Compact and Lightweight, Expandable Memory, Fair list of features, Battery life
- Camera performance, Display, M2 Slot location
Size does matter and the compact K610i is a welcome addition to the 3G market. It offers a solid list of features for a reasonable price, even if the display and camera are letdowns.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Slim, compact and lightweight are not attributes you would normally associate with 3G mobile phones but Sony Ericsson has changed this with the release of the K610i - a small handset packed with some impressive features including a 2 megapixel camera and memory expansion thanks to Sony's new M2 format.
The K610i is extremely comfortable to hold. It's hard to believe this is a 3G handset, especially when compared to some other models currently available on the market. Measuring just 102 x 45.2 x 16.9 mm and weighing a mere 89 grams, the K610i is definitely one of the smallest and lightest 3G phones we've reviewed.
The handset is a fairly standard candybar design; our review unit was finished in white. Despite its relatively small size, Sony Ericsson has still managed to squeeze in a dedicated camera and volume buttons on the right hand side and a play/pause button on the left. These are complemented by a well positioned and designed keypad, with the keys raised just enough to ensure comfortable usage. They have a soft rubber feel and are easy to press - the same applies to the main controls. There is a 5-way navigational pad, two selection keys, back and clear buttons and dedicated keys for Internet and shortcuts.
The K610i display is a little disappointing, especially for a 3G handset. We felt it could have been a little brighter and it is certainly not as crisp and clear as we would have hoped for. It is capable of 262,144 colours at a resolution of 176x220 pixels but we've seen much better displays on other handsets.
The K610i has a fair list of features for a handset in this price range. The most notable is the 2 megapixel digital camera with an almost unnoticeable lens thanks to its location on the rear of the handset. The camera is fairly standard and the images it captures are average. Further there's no flash or autofocus. Colour reproduction isn't too bad, but image sharpness is a problem. The camera is fine for happy snaps but will not replace a standalone digital camera if you are after quality, printable photos.
We were impressed by the instant start-up of the camera. Other camera phones have been known to lag when opening the camera application but the K610i starts almost instantly. There are plenty of camera features as well including panorama, frames and burst shooting modes, night mode, a 10 second self-timer, negative, sepia and black and white effects and the ability to adjust white balance settings.
The K610i only has 16MB of on-board memory, but this can be expanded thanks to an M2 slot. The sales package includes only a 64MB M2 card, so if you plan on storing a lot of photos or MP3s, you'll probably need to purchase a larger one. We were disappointed you have to remove the back cover and battery to access the M2 slot - it would have been best served on the side of the handset for easier access.
The K610i also includes support for SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and an RSS news feed reader. There is a hands-free speakerphone, Java games and applications and polyphonic ringtones. The K610i also includes a few nifty multimedia features including Music DJ, Photo DJ and Video DJ. These three tools allow you to edit any multimedia captured through the handset itself.
One cool feature that Sony Ericsson has added is the ability to blog. In a few easy steps you can take a photo, write a small snippet of text and publish it on the Internet - all through the phone itself. You get your own free personal blogger.com website with the K610i and it only takes a minute or two to publish. This feature was first seen on the Sony Ericsson K800i we reviewed and will feature in most of the company's new releases.
The K610i also has a great list of PIM functions, including Alarms, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Calculator and synchronisation with a PC using the supplied PC Suite software (included in the sales package). Unfortunately though, Mac users aren't catered for as the software is only compatible with PCs running Windows 2000 or higher.
The K610i has a pretty impressive battery life, especially considering its 3G capabilities. Talk time is rated up to seven hours using a 2.5G network, but this figure dramatically drops to just 2.5 hours when using 3G. The K610i also has a respectable 350 hours of standby time. We found these figures were very close to the mark, usually having to charge our review unit every two to three days with moderate usage.
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