In a nutshell: One of the best camera phones currently available, incorporating a 3.2 megapixel Cyber-Shot™ camera with autofocus and a bright xenon flash. Also comes with a music player, 3G video calling, expandable memory and wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The K800i can be your digital camera and MP3 player as well as a mobile phone. The only downside is that it's a bit heavy and bricklike. Stocks of the K800i are rapidly running out, so buy now if you want to secure this classic camera phone.
Best buy: *Free* from Three; or £59.95 on Pay as you Go from Dialaphone (we can't believe how cheap this offer is!!!)
The Sony Ericsson K800i is the first 3G phone in Sony Ericsson's Cyber-Shot™ range of camera phones. It's the best of the Cyber-Shot phones so far, and in our opinion, the best camera phone available in the UK at the time of release.
Whilst large and a little brick-like, the K800i is beautifully built and finished. It's clearly a solidly constructed phone that should last well. The design is traditional and a bit square, but very nicely finished. The back of the phone shares many design features with the Cyber-Shot camera range and looks more like a camera than a phone. There's a cover for the camera lens, and annoyingly this has a habit of sliding off when the phone is in a bag or pocket, causing the camera to activate by itself. The keypad is well designed and easy to use, although the keys are quite small and may not suit someone with large fingers. The screen is large (2.0 inches) and of superb quality. The phone is heavier than average at 115g, but this isn't heavy for a 3G phone, and heavy phones are better at taking pictures because there is less camera shake.
At 3.2 megapixels, the K800i's camera has the highest resolution available at the time of writing (August 2006), but its the quality of the optics that really determines the quality of a camera, and the K800i doesn't disappoint. With autofocus and a real xenon flash (most camera phones have a weaker LCD flash that leads to poor exposure and red-eye), the K800i is a real digital camera, not just a toy. Picture quality is very impressive indeed, and is a match for many dedicated digital cameras. The K800i comes with a novel feature called BestPic™. BestPic takes nine pictures at a time, enabling you to choose the best. There's also a picture stabiliser, helping to eliminate camera shake. Naturally the K800i supports direct printing on PictBridge compatible printers, so you don't need a computer in order to print your pictures.
There's also a video camera, which also makes use of the picture stabiliser, helping to avoid shaky videos. It's not the best video camera around however, which is disappointing given the outstanding quality of the still camera. A video editor is included, so that you can edit videos on the phone. A second video camera is used for 3G video calling.
The music player on the K800i is of very good quality. It's an easy-to-use player that supports playlists. There's also a stereo RDS FM radio. Sound quality by the built-in speakers is good, but doesn't match that of the Sony Ericsson W900i. Stereo output to a normal or wireless headset via Bluetooth is supported.
As well as its outstanding camera and excellent music capabilities, the K800i is a genuine all-rounder. 3G enables 2-way video calling, fast music & video downloads and business applications such as email (although there's no Office document viewer). The K800i supports genuine multitasking, enabling you to talk and access other functions at the same time. A sophisticated web browser is built into the phone, displaying web pages with images as they look on a computer. You can subscribe to RSS feeds from your phone to get news, etc, and you can blog from your phone too. The K800i can act as a broadband connection for your PC, connecting via USB cable or wirelessly by Bluetooth.
The K800i is compatible with the Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™), enabling its memory to be increased to 1 Gbyte or more ( no memory stick is supplied in the sales package). This gives plenty of space for storing music and video. A wide range of connectivity options are available - Bluetooth, USB mass storage, infrared and Fastport (for connecting a charger, portable handsfree, cable or other accessory) - everything except WiFi in fact. Battery life is excellent for a 3G phone.
The K800i is an excellent mobile. Not only is it the best camera phone around at the time of release, but it's a good all-rounder. There are a few things missing, such as wi-fi and a document viewer, but there's no doubting that this is a flagship phone from Sony Ericsson. Disadvantages include the large size, fiddly keypad, and the camera cover that slides off too easily. A bigger irritation is the PC software that is supplied with the phone - this is difficult to install and needs to be addressed by Sony Ericsson in future releases. Compared with its predecessor, the K750i, the K800i offers a significantly better camera, 3G capability, a better screen and more built-in memory but is slightly larger in size and a bit heavier. Compared with the W900i, the K800i has a better camera and is more compact, but is not as good as a music player. A phone that excels in the camera department, but isn't the best in every other respect, we've awarded the K800i 5 stars, but only just! The K800i has now been joined by the K810i and K850i.
Features of the Sony Ericsson K800i include:
* 3G video calling
* 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, xenon flash and 16x digital zoom
* Video recorder (164 x 144 pixels, 15 frames per second)
* Second camera for video calling
* Display: TFT, 262,144 colours, 240 x 320 pixels
* Music player (MP3, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+ and WMA formats)
* FM radio
* MP3 & AAC ringtones (72-voice polyphonic)
* MusicDJ� (polyphonic ringtones composer)
* Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email
* Sound recorder
* 3D Java games
* Web browser with RSS feeds & picture blogging
* Flight mode
* Personal organiser, File Manager, Phonebook
* Memory: 64 Mbytes plus Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™) support
* Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB mass storage, Fastport, Infrared
* GPRS, 3G data transfer (up to 384 kbps download)
* Vibration alert
* Triband plus 3G
* Size: 105 x 47 x 22 mm
* Weight: 115g
* Talktime: 2.5 hours (3G) - 7 hours (2G)
* Battery standby: 350 hours
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