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Surprise package of Sony Ericcson

tech reviews Updated: Dec 23, 2008 21:18 IST

Sony Ericsson’s 8 megapixel camera phone, the C905 Cybershot, made its way to our labs recently. Allow me to give you my impression on the latest Cybershot camera phone that’s hit the shelves.

Form factor
Even though the C905 may come across as a bit heavy and thick (18 mm) at first sight, it does have that feel-good factor that will immediately erase any doubts about it being uncomfortable to use. It weighs just 136 gm. The 2.4-inch TFT LCD display sports a 240 x 320 pixel resolution with 262 K colours. Just above the display, on either side of the earpiece, are shortcut keys for quick access to various camera settings. A secondary camera is located in between.

The five-way navigation pad also has camera shortcuts that become available in camera mode. The other keys are quite generic to Sony Ericsson handsets — ‘Call’, ‘Answer’ and ‘End’, two ‘Open’ keys, a ‘Cancel/Delete’ key and access to the shortcut menu.

The C905 is a brilliantly smooth slider phone with a well designed keypad that’s large enough to accommodate even stubby fingers. The keys are well placed. On one side of the handset are the volume/zoom keys, shortcut to the gallery, camera mode switcher (video to still) and the camera’s shutter release. An M2 card slot and SE’s proprietary port are located on the other side. The speaker and strap loop are at the bottom.

What really appealed to me was the camera, which is neatly hidden by a sliding panel at the rear. Just slide the silver panel down and voila — it reveals an 8 megapixel camera lens with a Xenon flash.

Plus there are a lot of other goodies thrown in. Like the sleek memory card reader for the 2 GB M2 card that’s part of the handset. Sony Ericsson has also finally answered our pleas to do away with their one-port-for-all system. The port is still present, but the charger now has a secondary port built in for plugging in the handsfree whilst the handset charges. I’d say this phone does really well in the looks department.

GPS
The C905 has an internal GPS receiver that supports A-GPS. Google Maps are preloaded, but the Wayfinder Navigator 7 application isn’t as user friendly as either Route 66 or even SatGuide, which feature in some WinMob devices. It’s a wee bit slow as it doesn’t store maps on the handset, instead it updates your routes on the go.

It has a 3D map display and a pedestrian mode for walking. I could’ve used a little more data on the points of interest that could’ve been preloaded. The application manages to find Wi-Fi hot-spots inside a certain range. Areas with low network pose problems, but it gets the job done without too much hassle.

The Geo-Tagging facility lets you take pictures and shows you exactly where the images were taken by pinpointing the location on Google Maps. One of the biggest problems though, is the lack of an uploading application for images.

Media
When it comes to media, there’s no real difference between the C902 or the C905 or most other higher end Sony Ericsson handsets. Media features include the usual editing applications for images, videos and MusicDJ. It has a built-in voice recorder, a Bluetooth remote for PC control and TrackID, which is handy for getting music information, either from the integrated FM radio (that has decent reception) or music playing through an external source. Three preloaded games — Tennis, Chess and Need for Speed — have been tossed in.

The audio capabilities of the handset are the best I’ve experienced in Sony Ericsson handsets, including some from the Walkman series. It supports MP3/AAC/MPEG4 playback. The bass-line is superb, with almost no distortion even at maximum volume.

You can download podcasts as well. The handsfree has normal earphones, not the in-ear type. Video playback is really good and the ‘Resume’ feature is great when you’re interrupted while watching a video or listening to music. It also has a TV Out feature for which you’ll need to buy the relevant cabling.