Home Reviews Sony Ericsson C905 Review. Sony ericsson cyber shot
Reviews

Sony Ericsson C905 Review. Sony ericsson cyber shot

Sony Ericsson K850i – 5 Mpix camera performance

The arrival of the Sony Ericsson K850i is expected by many in view of the handset’s top-notch functionality, as well as the 5 Mpix camera it retains, which is the top of the line solution in the Cyber-Shot range. Does this camera has something revolutionary to it and can it even have a claim for this title? To me, it is an evolution, when solutions previously experienced only with digital cameras are being carried over to handsets. In this model the manufacturer has focused on two major aspects – interface and ergonomics of the camera and also tweaked its performance in some modes. It wouldn’t be the right thing to expect this camera module to stand up to real digital cameras – lack of space for building in quality lenses is still the greatest barrier. If you are a maximalist and demand superior quality, than conventional digital cameras are worth looking at, since handsets will always be lagging a step or even several generations behind. It is quite another matter, though, when you want to squeeze out of your phone as much as possible. If that’s the case, then the Sony Ericsson K850i is the way to go.

Let’s take an overview of the handset’s imaging abilities and for this, we are putting it face to face with the Nokia N95. Deliberately or not, everyone will end up comparing these two phones when it will come to imaging departments. It was Nokia who came up with the first mass-market device sporting a 5 Mpix camera onboard. Even though there were others before it, only the Nokia N95 has managed to become a relatively mass-market product. While the Sony Ericsson K850i is looking to garner at least similar interest, in any event, it will be only a runner-up. The company has given up active attempts to struggle for the title of technology pioneer and now strives to hold its own with various technological talents.

Design

Sony Ericsson was the company to introduce the dual-face design in handsets, in other words, on the front fascia it looks like a normal phone, while the rear represents not less normal digital camera. One of the key traits was the shutter covering the lens – sliding it down brought up the camera mode automatically, which was pretty convenient. These solutions eventually got so popular that other makers had nothing to do but replicate them and so today most of top-notch solutions employ the dual-face design to a greater or lesser extent.

It would seem, the Sony Ericsson K850i is bound to utilize the solutions the company already has in this portfolio, but again, Sony Ericsson makes a sudden twist and modifies the design. The shutter, that many have fallen for, is no more – instead, the lens is hidden under the glass, which is somewhat recessed relative to the rear face. And only then, under this glass, sits the shutter, which can be released only by launching the camera mode. Apparently, this has done nothing good to the design, and on the face of it, there is no reasonable explanation to that. But after torturing more than “a couple of” Sony Ericsson managers in different regions, we have managed to figure out what’s the catch here. There is a handful of motives, one of which is an attempt to design the handset to look very reminiscent of the today’s digital cameras, that is, they have armed the K850i with a dedicated camera on/off key as well as a mode switch – these two are housed on the right-hand side. While shooting, this spine will be on top.

A shutter here would have made the mode selection key look out of place or it should have been made passive, which isn’t particularly handy either. The other, by no means a top-priority reason, was trimming some millimeters from the girth. That’s where the things get interesting within the Cyber-Shot range – all top solutions will adopt the controls found in the Sony Ericsson K850i. At the same time, most of the mass-market Cyber-Shot offerings in the upper price bracket will come included with shutters. And all solutions outside the Cyber-Shot line, for example the Sony Ericsson T650i, will have to make do without any kind of shutter. By the way a counterpart of the Sony Ericsson T650i comes with a shutter. All solutions in the bottom price-bracket won’t see shutter either. In terms of differentiation through functionality, there is nothing really bad in this – pay more to gain more. However when it comes to user experience, it is not so clear. Let’s imagine a real-life situation: for example, your humble servant here is bent on photography, therefore he needs a quality camera in his mobile phone, since not every time he feels like taking a few snaps he has a digital camera at hand or can use it at all. After having my quality time with the Sony Ericsson K800i, and even before it, the Sony Ericsson K750i my experience of handling such solutions has shaped up in this way– slide the shutter down, aim and take a picture. And it is a rare occasion when you have to setup the camera, as everything is pretty much automatic – get the phone, snap, put it back. Now I get a new product with enhanced image quality and functionality – the Sony Ericsson K850i, but my previous experience is worth nothing here. I can’t active the camera by feel, and have to look for the button on the device, since it is sunken into the casing. For some occasions it is utterly awkward. On the other hand, for a mass consumer it is another sign of a hi-tech device. By the way, it is solution of a really puzzling task – how to visually differentiate own phones from the competition, and this key solves it. A man, who has taken a phone in his hands, tuned it on and then slowly aimed surely grabs attention and can be distinguished even in a crowd. For me, sometimes, it is outrageous.

And what do you do now? Consumers will be presented with a choice between junior shutter-equipped models, sporting the previous generation flagship functionality. It is neither bad nor good – this is how the today’s market works. While its previous solutions were aiming for the mass market, but with a nod towards techi and specific audiences, this very phone is chiefly intended for the mass market.

Surprisingly, the Nokia N95 user experience-wise comes really close to the previous Sony Ericsson offerings. If I were in the shoes of the company’s developers and marketers, I would think and rethink this sudden twist in ergonomics many times. It is not for sure that after a few minutes of quality time with the handset in a shop, people will get used to the new camera controls and come to realize that it’s convenient and can be mastered in no time. This way, the user experience is broken, which is not always a good thing. Add missing hardware keys, new touch-sensitive buttons and a couple of other alterations, and see that this product negates a lion’s share of the experience, the users have acquired through playing around with the previous handsets by Sony Ericsson. And, conversely, Nokia tries to maintain it. Everything on the market has mixed up so much – the only positive about this is that such twists will occur on a rare occasion and for a few years to come the company’s top of the line products will build upon the concept found in this handset.

Every maker strives to make its products distinctive in use and creates usage patterns. The examples of the Nokia N93 and the Sony Ericsson K850i clearly explain this. So it is a seed for an article with a rundown on how the makers influence consumers and which trends they are forming.

Let’s delve deeper into the handset’s design. The top right of right-hand spine houses the digital zoom button (x16), to the right sits the protruding shutter key and the three-way camera mode switch, its first position stands for still shots, second – video, third – gallery. To the right of the shutter key is the camera on/off button. If you don’t shut it down after shooting, the camera will do it automatically in a few minutes.

The lens inside the glass is covered with a shutter, which is here in order to prevent the matrix from damage if you happen to leave the K850i in the sun. Despite being recessed, the glass is still prone to smudge, just as the entire rear face. Of course, you can give up on wiping it, but the best shots come out when it is clean. Well, this is another serious drawback to the new design – the protective glass attracts grease and dirt with ease.

The upper row of the numeric keys has captions made in blue, which resembles the way the Sony Ericsson K810i has them. They have backlighting of their own, and each of these buttons is used for jumping between modes instantaneously.

This way, “3” switches between normal mode, BestPIC, panorama and frame, “6” adjusts scene, “9” – timer and the last one – flash. With the help of “0” you can bring up a tip, telling you that the navigation key doubles as a zoom key, when pushing it horizontally, and with up/down you can modify brightness. In the previous models the number pad also served for shifting image resolution and switching to macro mode. These options have been forgone not because of some miscalculation or an attempt to follow the fashion. The maker thinks that generally, vast majority of users shoot in one and the same resolution, so giving this option a shortcut makes a little sense. No macro switch is due to the fact that the handset’s imaging department is tweaked to the extent when it properly handles both macro and infinite automatically in most cases, thus the consumer won’t really need these functions in quick launch.

Around the lens is a light-emitting rim, which flares in blue upon camera startup. This is made only in an effort to let you know where the lens is. To the right sits the xenon flash, equal to that used in the previous models like the K800i power-wise. At the same time, right beneath it is a LED flash, which is here to improve quality of pictures taken during the night-time, when use of a xenon flash is not justified. This is the first occasion when two flash types go hand to hand in one device.

Cyber-Shot (SE v2.0) interface

Frankly, if over at Sony Ericsson they even have camera interface indexes, they don’t share them with anyone. In order not to confuse you with what features were available and what exactly the maker has enhanced, we introduce own Cyber-Shot range indexes. This way, the first version or the first generation is the Sony Ericsson K750i (albeit it is not attributed to this line-up, this device is where everything has started at), then the Sony Ericsson K790i/K800i. The Sony Ericsson K810i is a bridge between two generations, which is indicated by Photo Fix and also a row of shortcuts on the keypad (lit in blue as well) – so, we give it version 1.5. And naturally the revamped interface found in the Sony Ericsson K850i gets version 2.0.

The interface shares a lot of things with Sony’s very own T-series of digital cameras – now the K850i features thumbnails standing for shoot modes, which makes picking the right mode more intuitive. The settings menu has changed as well. That’s about it – no other serious changes have been introduced, apart from ISO settings. That said, we are moving on to the core settings.

Shoot Mode – Normal (set by default), BestPic (Sony’s trademark technology), Panorama (stitches a batch of three photos together, no top resolution available), Frames (select various frames right on the screen). There is no Burst mode (several photos taken in Rapid succession), since its alternative, BestPIC, is available in the K850i.

Scenes – Auto, Twilight landscape, Twilight portrait, Landscape, Portrait, Beach/Snow, Sports, Document. These settings become interesting only when the handset can’t give you what you are looking for in auto mode, as a rule, such occasions are very rare and these settings end up nearly useless.

Focus auto, macro, infinite, autofocus cannot be disabled.

Flash – Auto, red-eye reduction, disabled. You can’t make the flash trigger every time.

Timer. can be either enabled or disabled, time span is not adjustable.

ISO. Auto (in this mode the K850i, as a rule, works with settings up to ISO100), and also ISO100, ISO200, ISO400.

Effects – nothing out of the ordinary here: BlackWhite, Negative, Sepia, Solarize.

White balance – auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent.

Metering mode – Normal or spot.

Settings – the menu has been revamped so as to resemble the today’s digital cameras. On the left are the options themselves, on the right – their values.

Picture quality –Fine, Normal. AF Light – Auto, can be disabled. BestPIC – Fast, Slow (how fast this feature will work, a really interesting option). Review – yes or no. Stabilizer – on or off. Save to – built-in memory or memory card. Auto picture rotation – yes or no. Shutter sound – five available, can be disabled at all. Shot counter reset.

Bare facts about the Sony Ericsson K850i’s camera

  • 5 MP (2592×1944 pixels)
  • 3MP (2048×1536 pixels)
  • 1MP (1280×960 pixels)
  • VGA (640×480 pixels)

Digital zoom. x16 Average file size (Fine quality) – from 1 to 1,5 Mb Time to save a shot – 2-3 seconds Camera startup time – 1,5-2 seconds Matrix type: CMOS

Brief comparison with Sony Ericsson K800i

Many have craved for a full-fledged comparison of image quality with the Sony Ericsson K800i, since the new flagship comes in to replace this very device. In my opinion, such comparison is not without reason, but facing off all modes and settings is somewhat superfluous, so let’s take a look at the differences only on a couple of snaps, which will be enough to give you a rundown on this matter.

For the majority of pictures sharpness of particular details (auto mode) is pretty much the same. To me, the Sony Ericsson K800i does a more decent job on the color reproduction front – its colors are somewhat more saturated which is indicated by the hues of the sky on our shots.

Sony Ericsson K800i Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2048х1536, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

But it turns out that single-color items are better processed with the Sony Ericsson K850i, which makes them look very natural.

Sony Ericsson K800i Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2048х1536, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Judging from our experience, in most cases the Sony Ericsson K850i outputs more natural-looking snaps, even though a tad more bright pictures of the K800i are perceived better. It is the matter of taste – thankfully, the difference is not so striking, and will remain unnoticed by most of the users.

Serving as a proof of our words is the snap below – not only does the picture taken with the K850i look more natural in terms of colors, but also it seems more vibrant.

Sony Ericsson K800i Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2048х1536, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

On close-ups it seems that the cameras are in one line, but if you take a closer look at the pictures, you will see that the Sony Ericsson K850i, all thanks to its superior resolution, catches a bit more details than the K800. On the shots below pay attention to the area surrounding the C button and the blossom dust. Against, consumers won’t appreciate our investigations in this field, and in fact they will simply put the K800i and the K850i in the same boat. In view of higher image resolution provided by the Sony Ericsson K850i it is a pretty decent result. But in order not to give imaging aficionados a chance to blame me for something, I shall make a reservation that on some occasions the Sony Ericsson K800i takes a fraction better shots, but only provided that the light conditions are equal. Technically, the cameras in these two handsets are pretty much comparable in terms of image quality, with the Sony Ericsson K850i’s more natural colors in mind.

Sony Ericsson K800i Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2048х1536, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2048х1536, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Nokia N95 vs Sony Ericsson K850i

Many, including me, deliberately or not, consider these two as direct and obvious competitors when it comes to image quality. And that’s why facing them off in real life was utterly interesting. Please, take note, that the shots marked as Nokia N95’s might have been taken with different units (firmware 11 and 12 respectively, but both are commercial units). That said, we are taking a plunge.

Took a snap of a red flower on the table, and that’s how it turned out.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The Nokia N95’s result is quite predictable – its trademark style boosts colors, making them more saturated and occasionally surreal, but someone has to pay and details are gone. At the same time the K850i provides smooth flower outlines with natural colors. So as to check the effect we all familiar with from the face-off between the Sony Ericsson K800i and the Nokia N93, let’s snap another item, for example let’s put a toy onto a stub

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The colors on the N95’s shot are far away from natural. processing them in such way, the handset has added a blink onto the toy face’s right side and given him flamboyant colors. Curiously, Nokia has done much better with the background, making it more crisp (thanks to a corresponding filter) and full of details. In its turn, the Sony Ericsson K850i, and we have seen it a lot of times, automatically figures out what item you are shooting, and the number of mistakes here is measly. It tries to pick the most fitting mode out of the preinstalled ones. How does it do that? – We are puzzled ourselves.

Now let’s see how the devices can FOCUS on single-color items. Let’s compare the picture with a chamomile and a little spider sitting on it.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Both handsets did a decent job with processing the background – it is adequately blurry and serves exactly as a background to the flower. But what about the chamomile? The Nokia N95 shows it as if the flow was cut out of somewhere and then stuck onto the shot, being some soft of an application (the effect is best seen at 25% scale). The same image processing mode kicks in here. In spite of being less sharp, the K850i displays the pattern of stamens, whereas the N95 presents them as a bright blurry spot. Thanks to its more natural color reproduction the shot taken by the K850i looks better.

Again, we are going to turn to the nature and put a few berries onto a leaf.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The picture was taken in the evening under the darkening sky. Better lighting and soft outlines – that’s all about the K850i. Some leafs sticking out of the background product an overall pleasant effect. Well, while I’m writing these lines I do realize that I have to find a picture where the Nokia N95 is the winner, otherwise, I’m going to get trampled or they will ask me to change my eyes, having spotted something different in the shots above.

The next picture was taken indoors, in a cafe, when I really don’t like having a cup of coffee or a meal. But sometimes I can’t avoid that. So, here is one of my players and the cafe’s sign.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Both snaps are by no means decent, but the one taken with the Nokia N95 doesn’t feature the web page, is dimmer, and that’s because the handset’s gears failed to evaluate light conditions properly. The image is slightly on the fuzzy side, but it has such details as lamp reflections on the table, while long exposure time of the K850i has made it white. But in general the K850i’s shot is ahead

That’s it, finally! I have found two shots taken indoors, which are nearly equal and many will claim that it is a draw.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The signs in the background can be readily overlooked – the K850i makes them pretty sharp, but in this very picture it is not that crucial.

Do you like cream in your coffee? That’s why I decided to take a picture like this – not the best cream around, but what we are looking for is the resulting image. The Nokia’s algorithm here has done a decent job – the picture is brighter, although the flares on the spoon are incredibly blurry, but this doesn’t spoil the impression. Obviously, Nokia looks like a winner with this shot.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

I feel obliged to share with you the way the Nokia’s algorithm performs, applied to objects with tiny specks – it makes them amusing to look at, even more than that. Here are two visions of one and the same stone. Apparently, Nokia has gone too far with “spangles”.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Now onto some general-view photos, where Nokia should have the upper hand, for its algorithm makes all colors more flamboyant. And it had, at Lubjanka – Nokia made the reality a tad more colorful. So its picture has more visual appeal, even though Sony Ericsson made a more natural image of the building.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Here is a museum, whose picture was taken from the same spot. That’s where the things get controversial – the snap now features tiny details. For example the second car with Y450CB tag – Nokia has made it much trickier to read. And the next car’s tag is impossible to read. The second banner on the background in Nokia’s vision has most of the information smeared. The museum itself doesn’t have such acid hue to it – but that’s what Nokia tells us. On balance, in terms of details the N95 is far inferior to the K850i.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

On a rainy day both phones did equally well – the prize for quality doesn’t go either way, although the K850i makes all objects somewhat shaper, but this doesn’t enhance the image in any considerable way.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

While I was shooting in the wild, I really loved the way the Nokia N95 processed the sky, making the snap looked better. It is not all about the details here – it is more important to convey the mood, and that’s where the Nokia N95 does better in this case. Although the colors are still unnatural, however many have simply overlook that fact.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

But I find these shots much better when the K850i does the job

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Back the general-view photos. we compare the ways these two cameras see the bridge. Obviously, the K850i scores here – look at the poor details of the building on the background and, as it seems to me, lack of color saturation in the N95’s shot, and you will get it. Although the N95 makes it look more vivid. Generally speaking, it is still the matter of taste. The shot by Nokia N95 is 25% smaller, meaning that it carries fewer details.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The balcony photo is, no doubt, where the Nokia N95 has done well – good sharpness and crisp details.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

The monastery looks good indeed, both photos are fine and I’m really puzzled which one to choose.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Close-ups in the night time (up to 3 meters) are obviously Nokia’s strong point, whereas the K850i’s shot is on the whitish side.

Sony Ericsson C905 Review

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

On short distances the xenon flash ensures fair number of details, but the background gets fuzzy. Personally, I prefer the photo taken with the Nokia N95, for it looks more appealing.

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

And the last, but not the least, a tower in the same monastery – the colors in the Nokia N95 have nothing to do with the sunset, it is the phone that has painted it in such way. Well, looks good, right?

Nokia N95 Sony Ericsson K850i
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

We could go on and on with other samples, thankfully we have over a thousand of snaps for either phone. But the conclusion can be made based on what we have already shown you. First up, the basics – macro mode. Few users shoot in this mode regularly, but some do find it interesting. This mode is where the Nokia N95 falls flat, providing poor details, which are vitally important here, and also some items have way too sharp outlines. Also we run into a problem – the Nokia N95 always required us to enable the Macro mode, otherwise its autofocus simply refused to kick in. The effective range for macro makes 10-12 cm, while for the Sony Ericsson K850i it is 7-8 cm. On top of that with the K850i you can forget about the hassle of switching into macro manually – the handset automatically identifies usage mode.

When it comes to general-view photos, it is by no means a draw – the Sony Ericsson K850i does better on the color reproduction front and gives you more details, however in general the Nokia N95’s images look more decent, due to being more, let’s say, more artistic.

In my humble opinion, the flash found in the K850i will come in handy very rarely, only when you are going to take a close-up on someone, in all other cases, the Nokia N95 produces more vibrant images.

Now here is a small riddle for you. Where snaps will look better when printed out in 10×15? The answer is very controversial – what looks smooth on your PC screen might loose in quality when printed out. For example, the chamomile we mentioned above seems to have lost some of its colors. The outlines we blamed the Nokia N95 for got a tad sleeker. So the Nokia N95 forges into the lead. That’s why we nothing left to do but print all the samples and then compare these photos all over again. And it turned out that some pics by the N95 got more appealing, but after all the K850i won the contest by the slimmest of margins (40 to 60). The images we called “artistic” after printing became grotesque – their colors were too unnatural.

Thankfully, I can’t say the Sony Ericsson K850i’s camera is totally superior to the Nokia N95 – these products are pretty much in one league for the end-users, especially if they are not going to print photos or view them on PC screens. And if they are, the K850i will have the upper hand in most situations and modes. I can’t say, though, that it wins by quite a margin, but it surely has some advantage. Technically, these two products are comparable, especially if you think that a camera built into a handset is there for entertainment purposes only. Although, the today’s camera phones can readily stand up to some average film compacts of 15 years ago.

Sony Ericsson K850i – shots in various environments

Examples of how the zoom feature works can be found in this file. zoom.zipzoom.zip

And now we are just presenting you with some shots taken in various environments with and without flash – I don’t think my Комментарии и мнения владельцев are needed here.

maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG
maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG maximize, 2592х1944, JPEG

Video recording

For the first time since the Sony Ericsson W900i the company has made a step towards consumers in the video department. The K850i can shoot in 240×320-pixel resolution at 30 FPS for 2 hours straight with sound enabled. The microphone faces no problem with capturing your voice, but it blurs all outside sounds. By and large, the video recording quality is not stellar – still waiting for a video-heavy offering.

Conclusion on Sony Ericsson K850i’s camera

Frankly speaking, I didn’t love the twist in ergonomics, missing shutter and these switches. But my experience of a few thousands of shots tells me that it is not a big deal. The handset is easy to master, so it looks quite adequate as a replacement for a real (wanted to write “handset” – Mr. Freud?) camera. If you value truly photographic quality of snaps – look no further, this model has no alternatives. In all conscience I have to admit that the Nokia N95 over the past 6 months has become the most popular 5 Mpix equipped device, but the Sony Ericsson K850i is not only on its heels, it also surpasses it in the imaging department (that’s our only FOCUS now).

You can claim, screaming and kicking, that cameras in mobile phone were, are and will be nonsense. But what I really recommend these people to do is take their 10-15 year old photo albums and compare quality of images there with some samples given in this article. The revolution is already here – the Nokia N95, the Sony Ericsson K850i and some models still to come have brought it. A convergent device can ensure image quality that will seem adequate to most consumers.

This year sees an iteration of the Sony Ericsson K800i/Nokia N93 battle that took place last year. In the rivalry between the Nokia N95 and the Sony Ericsson K850i, the latter is ahead with some interesting features and abilities, as well more natural algorithm of image processing. The time has proven that both Nokia’s and Sony Ericsson’s offerings became sought-after and had own followers. But after all, if you are looking for the best imaging department today – it all in the Sony Ericsson K850i.

P.S. We haven’t reviewed slide-show, image editor and other extra features, which are all connected with the imaging department, but deserve a close examination. Therefore these will be our main FOCUS in the next installment of the review.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com) Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Have something to add?! Write us. eldar@mobile-review.com

© Mobile-review.com, 2002-2007. All rights reserved.

Sony Ericsson C905 Review

The 8.1 Megapixel Cyber-Shot camera is the best feature of the Sony Ericsson C905, that is already on the market in Europe. Today, ATT is launching the C905 in the U.S, making it the highest resolution camera phone ever from this carrier. We have played with it. The device looks like a Cyber-shot camera on one side and like a phone on the other side, and it is thicker than my Blackberry Curve. 8 Megapixel camera phones are not common in the US market, the N86 will soon be available globally, there’s no word on the LG Renoir hitting our shores any time soon (I love this one) and hopefully the new Samsung Pixon 12 (12 MP) will be available here after its launch in the UK next month.

Key features

  • 8.1 megapixel camera with face detection, autofocus, xenon flash, active lens cover and GPS tagging
  • BestPic captures seven successive photos in one click, Smart Contrast compensates for areas that are too bright or dark, red-eye reduction, image stabilizer, dedicated camera keys and shortcut
  • 160 MB internal memory, Memory Stick Micro (M2) – 2GB M2 in box – up to 16 GB
  • USB cable for:
  • – file transfer and synchronization with PC using Windows Media Player
  • – printing with PicBridge compatible printers
  • 2.4-inch scratch-resistant mineral glass display, QVGA (240×320)
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS function, ATT Navigator software
  • Tri-Band UMTS/HSDPA (3.5G)
  • Applications: ATT Video Share, video recording, ATT Music, FM radio, Mobile Email, ATT Navigator and instant messaging. With ATT Video Share, consumers can share their experiences in real-time streaming video (only possible with Video Share enabled devices).

Phone Basics (good)

I quickly checked the phone sound quality by calling ATT customer support and the sound was good, the voice was loud enough and clear with a medium volume. Dialing a number is quick and easy, the keys are wide and the touch is comfortable. The backlit keyboard is useful for placing a call in low light conditions, in a club for example. Dialing a contact is not as easy, I had to get to the address book and type the first letter of the name to get there, that’s the downside of not having a qwerty keyboard that would allow typing the contact name directly.

Physical Design (ok)

Basically the phone looks like a digital camera but it is a bit too bulky and heavy, we could blame it on the great 8 MP camera that may (not sure) need this extra space and weight. However, the fluid form factor and the stainless steel look (mostly made of plastic) gives some style to this thick phone and for this size (4.1×1.9×0.7 inches, 4.8 oz). I would like to get a larger and better display with touch capability… The lens cover is easy to move using the thumb, and the camera button is exactly like the one on a regular digital camera. I regret the lack of a standard 3.5mm audio jack. I could not use my regular earphones to listen to music. The only connector is proprietary (photo above), thanks to Sony Ericsson (as usual), you will need an adapter to connect your earphones. The user interface is ok for a regular phone, not great for a high-end phone.

Camera (very good for a phone)

The key feature is the 8 MP camera, so I spent some time testing it. The Smart contrast may not give the expected result, when tested with a flash and in low light conditions, it overexposed the picture. I shot three scenes with my BlackBerry Curve 8900 and with the C905 at the highest resolution, see the pictures below. The full-size ones can be seen in our Flickr account.

The Sony Ericsson’s shutter lag is way shorter than my Blackberry thus it delivers a very good shot of moving cars, in low light condition, that’s awesome! The Curve provides a poor result in comparison. (photo above.see the original high resolution pictures on our Flickr account )

In addition, the color balance is incomparably more accurate with the C905 without any tuning prior to shooting. (photo below)

I compared the image quality to the DSLR EOS 50D (lower resolution settings) and the Curve in low light condition, with and without the flash, the Sony Ericsson provided very good results for a camera phone, on the image on the right the details in the keyboard are rendered well and in fact the color is closer to the reality than the two above. (See the original high resolution pictures on our Flickr account – example on the right)

Unlike the Smart Contrast option, the Photo Fix feature works pretty well and enhances the image quality by adding contrast to an underexposed photo. (photo on the Flickr account)

To access the photo viewer while shooting, the only way is the tiny button on top of the phone on the right side of the zoom. (Photo below)

Battery Life and Charging Time (ok)

On the spec sheet when using the UMTS/HDSPA network the phone has up to 4 hours talk time and up to 360 hours Standby time. The battery ran out of power after 10 hours and a half in standby, shooting roughly 40 high resolution pictures, half of them with flash. It takes two hours to get the device fully charged.

Entertainment section, media files and applications (good)

The Entertainment section has a well designed user interface and it is very simple to synchronize the media files with the PC using the provided USB cable and Windows Media Player (photo above). I did not need to configure anything. The auto-rotate display works only in the Multimedia menu (photo in gallery above).

I quickly tried several interesting applications including the Yellow pages (slow but great UI – photo below), MobiTV (5 minutes subscription left): video streaming was not that fluid with poor video quality, good enough for watching trailers and short videos (photos), XM radio (could not use it due to a lack of subscription), Where application portal (cool location based applications, subscription required after trial period) and the Application Store. (See photo gallery)

Messaging. IM and Social Networking and Web Browsing (basic)

I was disappointed by the absence of Gmail as a supported provider in the Mobile Email menu, and I did not find a way to set up my POP email as well, I guess it is not supported. AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger are available (no Google Talk). Overall the phone is slow, especially to load emails from my Yahoo account, however, web browsing speed was ok. I would like to see a better integration of Social networking: the client is not provided by default here, unlike in the N97 and the Sidekick, for example, where users can access it directly from the phone’s home page. The new Sony Ericsson W518s is supposed to offer the feature… Sony Ericsson is offering only one key feature per phone, how about market dilution?

Conclusion

The Sony Ericsson is a good basic phone with a killer camera and well integrated multimedia features. Messaging is ok as long as you have an account among the limited number of providers embedded in the phone.

At 179.99 (with a 2-yr contract), the pricing seems a bit high for a phone that is not a smartphone, although ultra-mobile photographers would be willing to pay extra for the camera quality. For the same price, customers could be attracted by a smartphone with slightly inferior photo capabilities like the Nokia E71x, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 or even the iPhone. That said, all of them will end up being more expensive in the long run, because of their data plans.

Sleek and stylish, but not the best Sony Ericsson we’ve come across

TechRadar Verdict

Not bad in all respects, but leaves you feeling a bit short changed compared to other Sony Ericsson phones

Cons

  • – Average camera with photo light
  • – Average media player (non-Walkman)
  • – Camera lens cover prone to slip
  • – Can only use Sony Ericsson headphones

Why you can trust TechRadar

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Sony Ericsson’s latest midrange offering is sleek-looking bar-shape handset that fits easily in the thanks to its rounded edges and slim dimensions (just 14mm thick). It’s flush all over, with no protrusions, including the keypad, whose buttons sit just slightly proud, though they’re tactile enough to keep you on track.

It’s one of the slimmest Cyber-shot phones available and exudes minimalist cool, though the Truffle Brown version we tried (it also comes in beige, violet, bronze and black) gave it a bit of a business feel (in a good, serious kind of way).

The camera lens cover is built into the design as an elongated slide on the back that stretches over most of the back panel. While this makes it easy and quick to access the camera, we also found it to be prone to accidental opening in the (this can happen even when the keypad lock is switched on).

The smallish screen offers 262,000 colours which is as good as anything Sony Ericsson is currently offering but feels a little cramped at 29x34mm. Incidentally, the D-pad is a joy to use, feeling firmer than the plasticky keypad buttons, and offering one-press shortcuts to camera album, messages, contacts and another destination of your choice.

The 256MB Memory Stick Micro supplied fits into a slot on the side of the phone, but you’ll need to take the back off to get to it. And if you want to use your phone to carry music or video, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a bigger card (it’ll take up to 2GB cards).

The camera certainly isn’t the most sophisticated in Sony Ericsson’s impressive Cyber-shot range, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. The BestPic feature (on the likes of the range-topping K850i), which allows you to take nine pics in quick succession, four before and four after you’ve pressed the shutter button, is missing, though there is a more conventional four-shot burst mode.

Still, it does have Autofocus, very useful for quick snaps which, let’s face it, is the primary function of a cameraphone, and Photo fix, which enhances underexposed pics by adjusting brightness, light and contrast to make them clearer and more vibrant before you transfer them to your PC or your blog.

Fortunately, if you don’t like the results of this rather crude one-touch operation, you can go back to the original version, or edit with more detail thanks to the PhotoDJ application.

There’s a 3x digital zoom, but this is only available on the camera’s lowest, VGA, setting and while there’s no Carl Zeiss-style designer lens, it does have a flash, of sorts, though again it suffers by comparison with its brighter Xenon-packing cousins since it’s only an LED flash light, and is only really effective within a metre or two of your subject.

Connectivity-wise it’s tri-Band with 3G (though it’s standard, not faster HSDPA 3G) and lest we forget, despite its lack of HSDPA, this is a fully fledged 3G phone, with video calling offered by a minute VGA camera just above the screen.

The media player is not as advanced as those found on Sony Ericsson’s Walkman series, but it’s not bad by any stretch. It’s easy to drag and drop music files from your PC or transfer from another phone via Bluetooth and it’s intuitively laid out with the ability to search by artist or track name, plus there’s a shuffle function.

There’s also an FM radio and the very useful TrackID feature, which allows you to identify unfamiliar tunes. just hold the phone next to the radio (or whatever you’re listening to), press the button and the track title and artist will be delivered via the internet. Very cool, and cheaper than the similar Shazam service, since you don’t need to make a phone call. It’s also got PlayNow, Sony Ericsson’s quick access route to music online.

It will play almost all of the most popular compressed music format including MP3 and iTunes-friendly AAC, but not WMA, but for no very good reason, it comes with a cheap set of headphones which are demonstrably inferior to what you get with a Walkman phone.

To make matters worse, you’re pretty much stuck with them, since there’s no 3.5mm jack plug. The only possible solutions would be to obtain a set of Walkman headphones, which plug into the handset using Sony Ericsson’s proprietary plug, but include a 3.5mm jack in the cord, or alternatively you could try the Bluetooth wireless option. If having music on your phone is important to you, the message from Sony Ericsson is clear. get a Walkman phone.

As well as all the usual calendar, alarms, calculator and flight mode gubbins, you also get a couple of Java games. FotoQuestFishing, which demands a bit of hand-eye coordination to photograph fish, and Solitaire 4 Pack, which, as the name suggests, offers four varieties of solo card game.

The K770i is perhaps best defined by what it doesn’t have, falling between the stools of cheap and cheerful 3G handset and high-end do-it-all device. If you’re happy to go for middle-of-the-road in terms of camera and music player, but which covers the phone basics nicely, then this is the one for you. If not, you’ll probably prefer something a bit more basic, or one which pushes the technological envelope.

Network availability: 3, T-Mobile

Author

Laidred

| Denial of responsibility | Contacts |RSS