Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sony Ericsson K800i
- Cyber-shot camera, User Interface, Features List
- No Memory Stick (M2) included in sales package
The K800i is definitely the cream of the crop if you are after a camera phone. It's still not good enough to replace a stand alone digital camera, but this handset has enough in other areas to ensure it is an attractive proposition.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The Sony Ericsson K800i is one of the most feature packed 3G handsets currently available on the market and, best of all, it has a Cyber-shot branded 3.2 megapixel camera.
It was only a matter of time before mobile phone cameras received an upgrade from the common two megapixels to a more respectable three megapixels and over. Sharp kicked things off with their 3.2 megapixel 903, but as an early, bulky 3G model it didn't really hit the mark. Enter the Sony Ericsson K800i, which combines a quality camera with great features to create a very attractive video phone package.
The K800i is the first Sony Ericsson phone featuring the Sony Cyber-shot branding. Previously only used on stand alone Sony digital cameras, the Cyber-shot interface has now extended over to the mobile phone range. Also sporting a Xenon flash, BestPic technology and an image stabilisation system the K800i camera is the most feature-packed camera model currently available on the market.
The BestPic function is an exciting entry into the mobile phone camera market. When activated, BestPic will take nine photos with one press of the shutter button, allowing you to select the best photo. Four pictures are taken as the camera button is pressed and four just after (using memory buffing). You can then check the results and pick the pictures you like the most, saving as many as you like. This is ideal for capturing still images of moving objects. Overall, it is an excellent inclusion although you are unable to use the zoom function when using this feature.
The K800i camera is also equipped with a Xenon flash, autofocus, 16x digital zoom and image stabilisation options. The Xenon flash resembles those used on many stand alone digital cameras. Its performance was good for a mobile phone camera and there is even a red-eye reduction mode. Autofocus worked well, as did the image stabilisation. Other features include panorama and framed shooting modes, preset scenes such as landscape and portrait, macro and infinite focus options, white balance and metering mode.
The quality of photos the K800i produces are very good for a camera phone. Nevertheless they still don't compare to a stand alone digital camera. Colour reproduction is excellent, but image sharpness is a slight problem. Shots are fairly crisp with defined edges and notable levels of detail for a 3.2 megapixel sensor. Overall, it's definitely the best camera on a phone that we've reviewed.
The K800i is an upgrade to the K750i and retains plenty of that phones design features. The phone is still a candy bar shape and measures 106 x 47 x 18 mm - slightly larger than the K750i thanks to its protruding camera lens at the rear. This was our only criticism; the handset doesn't sit flat thanks to the bulky lens cover and large bump surrounding the camera internals. Apart from this, the phone looks and feels very business-like, with a brushed black finish on the front, complemented by a black matte rubber on the rear. For a 3G handset, it's definitely on the smaller side.
One of the best features of the K800i is the display. The 2.0-inch QVGA screen is bright and clear and has an excellent viewing angle. Our only complaint is that it doesn't perform very well when exposed to sunlight. Despite this, it's definitely one of the best displays we've seen. The K800i also incorporates Sony Ericsson's excellent user interface in the form of a well laid out keypad and minimal and easy to use controls. The five-way navigational joystick is very responsive (albeit a little small) and the two selection buttons and Back and Clear keys are well placed. There are also dedicated buttons for Internet and shortcuts, both of which are squeezed on each side of the controls. Furthermore, the keypad is comfortable and tactile.
The K800i is one of the most feature packed phones on the market today. As well as the 3.2 megapixel camera, the handset includes an FM radio with Radio Data System (displays station name information on the screen of the phone) and SMS, MMS and email messaging (with T9 predictive text input).
There is also an RSS reader, a hands-free speakerphone, Java games and applications as well as Bluetooth, USB (a cable is included in the sales package) and Infrared connectivity. The K800i 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 couple of easy steps you can take a photo, write a small snippet of text and publish it on the internet as a blog - all through the phone itself. You get your own free personal blog website with blogger.com when you purchase the K800i and it only takes a minute or two to publish.
The K800i includes just 64MB of internal memory but it supports Memory Stick Micro (M2), the latest memory format from Sony. Disappointingly, an M2 card is not included in the sales package so this will have to be purchased separately if you want extra memory. These new cards are much smaller than the popular Memory Stick Duo - so much so that they are very easy to lose! M2 is set to be the primary flash format used by Sony and Sony Ericsson for storage in any new devices. The M2 card slides into the left side of the handset, behind a well concealed plastic cover.
The K800i importantly also has a great list of important 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 K800i has a pretty impressive battery life, considering its camera and multimedia capabilities. Talk time is rated up to seven hours using a 2.5G network, but this figure dramatically drops to just 2.5 hours with 3G. The K800i 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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