Sony Ericsson C905 Plus
Flagship photo phone functions facelift
Review Praised for combining quality optics with top-notch phone features, Sony Ericsson's 'C for camera' series has raised the bar again with the C905 Plus. It's basically an upgrade of the existing C905 8.1Mp Cyber-shot camphone with expanded memory, a grin gabbing Smile Shutter feature, plus extra applications including Youtube and the BBC iPlayer.
Sony Ericsson's C905 Plus: existing C905 users get a free 'Plus' upgrade, allegedly
Sony Ericsson hasn't changed the casing of the C905 Plus. It's still very much on the chubby side, even for a slider, at 104 x 49 x 18mm and 136g. Now we can understand the need for girth when you have a high-spec camera that requires a quality lens, but does the rest of it have to be so chunky?
Around the sides are SE's standard two-pronged power plug, Memory Stick Micro card slot, volume rocker and two buttons to operate the camera – one is the shutter button, the other toggles between video and still camera options. There's also a button that takes you directly to your photo gallery. The unit comes supplied with a hefty 8GB storage card, as standard, to supplement the 160MB of onboard memory – a big jump from the 2GB card offering on the original C905.
On the back is a chunky lens cover that requires a push in before you can slide it open and the Xenon flash has been retained. It's a step up from the vast majority of camphones, even 8-megapixel ones like the Samsung i8510, although you'll find a similar flash on the LG KC910i Renoir. It's fairly quick to respond – about two seconds from sliding the lens cover and the autofocus takes about the same time to take a snap when you press the shutter button. That's a shade quicker than most similar spec’d camphones.
A tap on one of the soft keys brings up an extensive settings menu with all sorts of goodies including the new Smile Shutter, which automatically takes a snap when the camera detects a smile in range. BestPic takes a series of seven shots, three before and three after you press the shutter, and Panorama can map three pictures together for a 180-degree view.
Photo finish: a sharp shooter for stills but the video resolution is disappointing
There's a 16x digital zoom available if you really can't get close enough, though the drop in quality at that level will probably make you wish you'd made more of an effort. There's also image stabilisation and a Smart Contrast option, which aims to bring out details in darker areas – it works too.
Who carries it 'as is'?
Guy I work with has one. Was interested in replacing my c902 with one, but it seems that on Vodafone they remove a number of the built in apps and replace with their own web based ones (use more of their data). He found connecting to WiFi a pain - it automatically preferred to eat data from Vodafone again rather than Wifi.
Another friend had the same phone on Orange - again crippled apps and refusing to connect to WiFi if any data signal available via network.
Now looking elsewhere - Nokia N97 or HTC Magic.
Has SE lost its way?
My girlfriend got a K750i as an upgrade yonks ago. I found it to be a little chunky. But I got a K770i as soon as it came out. Very happy with it, but after finishing my 18 month contract I was loking around for a replacement/upgrade.
The C905 looks like a nice phone that's quite adept at taking photos. But the price it's going for is just far too much for what it is in today's market.
Yes, it's got a better camera (esp. the flash) but the K770i's camera is a 3.2MP job that was far from naff. The only major functional improvement is the iPlayer support. OK, there's GPS. Big wow. Google maps on the K770i is decent.
The C905 is just not enough of an upgrade from the K770i for me to consider paying out nearly 50% more each month than I was before (i.e. £30ish instead of £22). And it's a slider.
I tried out the HTC Magic/G2. But I wasn't blown away and I don't like the idea of my phone being so fragile that it's borked if the screen gets damaged by a keyscratch etc.
So the call of Nokia was too strong to ignore. The E71 can be had for £20 per month. So now I'm paying less than I was before for a phone that is oh-so-much-more. The reviews uniformly pick out the 3.2MP camera as it's weak point. But while it's not as slick to use as the K770i, the results are just as good. And the K770i has been absolutely fine for snaps. Yeah, the C905 has a slightly better flash, but's not a match for even an average digicam. And if I wanted pics that were any better than phone snaps, I'd buy a DSLR and do the job properly. In all other departments, the E71 trounces the SE range.
Going from a K770i to any other SE model would be like going from a Spectrum +2A to a +3.
Going from a K770i to an E71 is like going from a Spectrum to a full fledged PC.
Why did I ever leave you, Nokia? Can you forgive me? And that's not just me. My GF was sold on the E71 and got one too.
So in answer to my title, judging by SE's faltering market share, the fact that SE haven't made any significant strides in two years or more, and my own personal experience, I'd say yes, SE has lost it's way.
No stand out dirt cheap models to compete with the Nokia 1100s of this world. No stand out trailblazing models a la iPhone/N95. No style icons like the RAZR. No business focus as per the Blackberries.
Just a seeminly endless stream of minor adjustments to a bloated line-up of (admittedly decent) mid-range phones.
Also, El Reg:
As has been pointed out, a hands free adaptor can be had for a small price, and a straight headphone only adaptor can be had for less than £3 (delivered) from eBay.
We get the point, but the inconvenience and cost of memory stick incompatibilities far outweights that of the headphone issue.
So why do you not mention that SE has taken the backwards step of accepting only Sony's M2 cards as opposed to also accepting MicroSD like it did with the K850i.
Regardless, both gripes come across as yet more evidence of Sony's grasping proprietary side coming through. While the 2.5mm jacks on Nokias cannot be completely excused, slimness of the E71 handset is a plausible excuse (especially as the chunkier E63 does have a 3.5mm socket).
Speaking of which:
I can understand why the EEE PC 901 got displaced by lesser scoring netbooks in the top 5 on the right hand column of this page. It's effectively a discontinued and superseded model.
But how come the Nokia E71(90%) doesn't place above the 85% rated HTC Magic and SE C905 phones? It's less than a year old, is still a leading model in it's range, it's widely available in the shops and selling very well.
On top of that, surely the C905 Plus supersedes the C905, and so to have both in your top 5 is a little OTT.
I mostly like the slant of El Reg reviews in the way they don't get too bogged down with reams of tech specs, but your relative scoring and ranking system is very often, just plain odd.
Something the article doesn't make clear: The C905 Plus is NOT just a software fix. Some owners of the C905 had issues where the earpiece stopped working, and so the only way they could hear calls was to use a handsfree kit or to use the loudspeaker. This was caused by the connector inside the handset working loose, and Sony have apparently fixed this in the C905 Plus. The software updates are just part of the new phone software released in February.
As for the "free upgrade" mentioned at the end of the article, this would appear to just be the software rather than owners getting a new handset.
Not the most accurate review I've ever seen here...