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Sony Ericsson K800i

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Sony Ericsson K800i camera phone review

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Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review

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So, finally, the K800i has arrived. I've been waiting for this since I started looking into upgrades from my K750i back in April. Even to the point of trying out the Nokia N80 for a fortnight whilst the K800i was in quarentine!! (Never did find out whether it was small aliens in the boxes) We didn't get off to the best of starts either, 2 days in and the phone crashes terminally. But we persevered and had another handset sent through so we could try again.I was hoping that the K800i would be quite similar to the K750i in many ways, as the K750i had been an ideal phone for me.

The K800i is roughly 5mm longer but width and depth are much the same as the K750i, so it still fits nicely into a shirt, jacket, or trousers pocket. There's barely any noticeable extra weight either, which is good (and one of the reasons I wasn't overly keen on the Nokia N80). The overall build quality is very good and one big improvement, in my opinion, is the move away from the usual shiny plastic feel of the phone's case, to a matt black finish using a textured rubber-like case which should prove less liable to scratch and feels much nicer. Also, the keyboard glows a really nice shade of purple, which against the black background I think looks great.One of the only gripes I have about the appearance or styling of the phone is the lens cover. It is far too easy to catch on things in pockets and bags, which could quite easily lead to it breaking. The lens cover on the K750i was a far better idea and why they decided to change it is beyond me.In my opinion the phone has a nice style to it, and with the shaped back against the square front looks more in keeping wth a camera than a phone. The overall apperance probably isn't quite as snazzy as some of the other phones on the market, but then this is supposedly more of a camera, that just happens to have a phone tagged on the back of it.

The actual working of the phone itself, for the most part sticks with the nice easy menu system that is used on most Sony Ericsson handsets. It does however, for no rational reason I can fathom, tuck certain applications away in menus that are not blindingly obvious. For example; the "Entertainment" folder on the menu contains PhotoDJ, VideoDJ, MobileTV, Games etc. but Face Warp, Photomate and HP Print are over in My Files/Applications. There's probably a perfectly rational reason for it, it's just a bit lost on me. One smart idea though, has been the two buttons on the top left and right of the front of the phone. Pressing one calls up thumbnails of all images stored on the phone, whilst pressing the other gives you a full screen version of each image.

Do sometimes snag on your hair if you've been using the phone as a phone though! The media player works in the same way as the K750i, but if anything, the speaker in the phone itself has been improved slightly. Playing a song from it whilst it's sitting on my desk it performs nicely. It doesn't need to be loud, just loud enough to make the tune easy to hear over the background noise of a fan. According to the manual supplied with it, it will support the following file types: MP3, MP4, M4A, 3GP, AAC, AAC+, Enhanced AAC, AMR, MIDI, IMY, EMY, WAV (16kHz maximum sample rate) and Real8. It also supports streamed files that are 3GPP compatible.As it's a 3G phone, you now have the ability to make video calls, which are fun, if a little weird. A feature on this handset, which I'm unaware of on other handsets, is the ability to show a different picture (maybe one just taken), to the person you are talking to. Handy if you are lost and trying to describe where you are, or want to explain a view in detail.

The PC suite supplied is a vast improvement on previous Sony Ericsson efforts, almost to the point of being comparable with Nokia. Only thing missing really is the ability to write/edit text messages that are already on the handset. It synchronises with contacts/calenders/tasks etc in MS Outlook and offers other mail program options too. The high-speed cable connection is good, even when considering the larger file sizes of the images. Also, a handy addition is that you can now "drag and drop" (Or "copy and paste" if you prefer), music, video, or image files from PC to phone without having to go through any type of conversion software.

The camera itself is a big step forward, even from the K750i. Maybe not the huge jump I was perhaps expecting, but then I do have to keep reminding myself "It's not a camera, it's a cameraphone!!". That said, I think it is capable of some very impressive pictures in the right hands and will, for work purposes anyway, mean that I have no need to carry an actual camera around with me.

From start up to saving a picture takes roughly 8-9 seconds, which isn't too bad and generally the picture quality makes up for it being a little slower to start. And you have the auto focus to contend with in that time too. The auto focus is a bit "hit and miss" as has been shown in some of the other posts, but it can be switched off if necessary. The BestPic feature is a nice addition. It takes 9 pictures in quick succession, making it easier for action shots. You are then offered the option of saving any, or all, of the resulting pictures by scrolling across the thumbnails and selecting the ones you want.Once you've taken a picture and obviously thought "Must post this instantly to moblogUK", the phone gives you all the usual ways (MMS,email) to send, but offers a "Blog this" option. Unfortunately it doesn't offer you a choice of blog, merely sends you in the direction of one particular blogging site. In the interests of research I attempted this only to find that Vodafone don't support this feature and the voucher you'll require must be sourced from Sony Ericsson directly.

Shozu however, have recently added the K800i to their list of compatible handsets and I'm sure that it will make the whole process of blogging pictures much simpler. (I tried to install it, but I think Vodafone have been casting spells on me again).There's also an RSS feed which will help you to keep tabs on the latest moblogUK posts and the browser on this handset now enables you to view full websites, rather than just the wap versions.A few things worth mentioning are, that whilst the K800i has an internal memory of 64Mb, it DOESN'T come with an external memory card. Sony Ericsson have also changed the memory card size, so the one from your K750i, W800 or S700i won't fit. With the sizes of some of the pictures and media files, a trip to purchase a card is probably quite a good idea.

The battery life, while a lot better than the Nokia N80, is far short of the K750i. I knew it would be a bit less, but was quite surprised at how quickly the power drains. I've found myself having to charge it at least every other day. All in all, I think this phone has definitely been well worth the wait. A few tweeks here and there, like changing the lens cover, improving the battery life, adding wi-fi and a memory card, would make it just about perfect.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Face Warp 2

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These went missing from the earlier face warp post, but JC's ones were too good to leave out!!

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Random close up shots

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Just to test how much detail can be seen.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Auto Focus

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The Auto Focus feature is a bit "hit and miss". Sometimes it works really well, and others, it just doesn't seem to be interested.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Video

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Last nights sky. A few nasty looking clouds and next-door's scaffolding.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Macro 2

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This is with the picture quality set to fine and taken from roughly 3 inches (7.5cm) away.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Effects

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Negative, Sepia, Black and White and Solarize are all available to use and can create some interesting results, but as with the PhotoDJ application, it's good, though you'd probably only use it if you were away from a PC for a prolonged period.

Sony Ericsson K800i Camera Phone Review: Macro

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Surgical instruments for places you really wouldn't want to know about while eating. But the middle one is effectively a stapler....The detail and serrated edges show up quite clearly.
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