One failing I ran into was the lack of a forced flash mode. The use of fill-in flash in portraiture to create catch-lights in the eyes or to lighten harsh shadows in bright sunlight is a useful option to have available. The K800i does have red-eye reduction which worked quite well considering how close together lens and flash are sited, but like the standard mode this only fires in low light and can't be forced.
An integral image stabilisation mode helps iron out any minor camera shake, a great inclusion for a camera likely to be used in low-light conditions and which possesses no tripod mount. The downside is that image stabilisation is only available in two scene modes, landscape and twilight landscape, though frustratingly in both of these modes the lens is set to focus at infinity, which rules out extreme close-ups and macro photos.
Another feature of the K800i we're used to seeing only on regular cameras is the autofocus assist lamp, a red LED which casts its beam ahead of the camera to help the autofocus module detect something it can lock on to. The system worked very well and is another welcome and worthwhile addition to the increasing list of advanced features now becoming available. Incidentally, Pictbridge and DPOF are supported for PC-free printing. The K800i records video at a rather primitive resolution of 176 x 144, which quickly tempers any excitement you might have been harbouring at the prospect of video image stabilisation.
Flash performance aside, the photographs were really very good and though it's more of an incremental improvement over the K750 than any great sea change, the higher resolution will make for more detailed large prints. The fact remains, though, that you'll still get better quality images from most budget three megapixel digital cameras.
As a phone the K800i is every bit as adept as its predecessors. There's room for 1,000 contacts, each of which can be adorned with a multitude of details. You'll also find a useful RSS reader, with a few preset feeds to get you going and the option to add more as you wish.
Apparently the K800i's music player is lifted directly from Sony Ericsson's Walkman series handsets but minus the clues as to its origin. Your tunes can be viewed by track or by artist and you can create custom play lists. There are four equalizer presets plus a stereo widening option. Quality through the single internal speaker was surprisingly good, and the handset also supports Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) which means stereo Bluetooth headphones and speakers should also work happily with it.
Like the K750, the integral radio is excellent. Reception quality was commendable and it employs RDS to display the station name and to automatically search for alternative frequencies if reception gets weak.
There's a lot to like in the K800i, and I'd not feel I was taking too much of a risk proclaiming it the best 3G handset on the market at the present time. If it has a weakness it's that its frame is a little statuesque and its keypad is a little cramped, both of which could only really be overcome by switching to a clam-shell or slider format.
Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot K800i photo phone
Decent phone, shame about the review
El Reg's hardware reviews are never much good: look at their M600i review or N70 reviews, for example - little concrete information to base a purchasing decision on.
I've owned a K800i for a fortnight now and am pretty happy with it. I was pleased with the slickness and speed of the UI compared to other phones I've used.
The mail client works well, although its insistence on checking your mail every time you send an email is annoying. The built in web browser is functional enough, but I'm definitely going to try Opera Mini now. Java midlets run very well - it's got the latest J2ME VM, AFAICS.
The camera is OK, but the shutter lag is very annoying and the image quality, especially in difficult lighting conditions, is not that good.
Nokia lover turns to Sony
I got myself a Nokia N80 not long ago and found although i loved it the phone a tad slow still and the camera although much improved over my other Nokias i have owned no where near as good as the K800i
I also wanted just a phone with a decent camera than a full blown smartphone so the k800i is perfect..
but i will say the syncing with outlook is fantastic as i get all my diary, contacts and notes all downloaded to my phone without any trouble. only thing i would improve is the syncing being automatic where i can only seem to get it sync manually.. something i really miss from the nokia side of things
so in roundup from someone who lives and breaths nokia and always hated sony phones i love this.. everything is very simple to use
Which is a better buy?
if i had the option of purchasing either the K750i or the K800i which would be a better buy?
Sent mine back!
I got this phone expecting a big improvement from the feature set over my K750i but I was disapointed by the UI, it wasnt very quick, the music browsing wasnt very good. The most disapointing thing with this phone was how clumsy and badly designed it was, the lens cover looks set to break easily and it feels awkward in the hand. Sony have also decided to change the memory stick format again so the max mem you can get on this phone now is 1GB, I already had a 1GB card for my K750i and this is now useless, so...bigger phone, smaller/less capacity memory stick, more megapixels but less capacity from the memory stick.
Very disapointing, I will wait for the new Nokia phones to arrive later in the year, hopefully they will have sorted out their UI in this time.
Hmm, yes, where is the review of the phone?
I've had mine for a few days now, the intial battery life and indicators were awful, but after a couple of full overnight charges it seems to be running at a pretty similar rate to my K750i and W810i.
The one downside is that no memory card is supplied with the handset, and I'd love to have used the one from my old SE phones but the apparent change in standard means that it's time to go and fork out for another one.
The handset itself has an updated version of the Operating System which feels a lot smoother. The keypad suffers from one flaw for me, and that is I frequently press the button to launch the WAP browser whilst trying to press the back buttton.
Another nice touch is the ability to configure the phone to automatically connect to the net when plugged in via a USB cable to a PC - and the PC assumes it's USB ethernet, which makes connecting stupendously easy. Now only to get it to work with my Mac...