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Sony Ericsson C903

Sony Ericsson C903

Mobile for cost-conscious photo fanatics

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Besides the megapixels, all that's missing from the C905's feature count is Smart Contrast and a Xenon flash, though the C903's dual LED flash means it's brighter than most. There's geotagging, thanks to the onboard A-GPS, supported by Google Maps, and a 16x digital zoom. Predictably, the image quality deteriorates dramatically when you zoom in all the way.

Sony Ericsson C903

Photo features are much the same as the C905 flagship model

Pictures come in at a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels and the quality is pretty good overall, with fairly accurate colours and sharp edges, though blowing them up reveals a bit too much purple fringing. Video isn't bad either, recording in QVGA resolution at 30fps and suffering little from blur and noise. It supports video calling too, but there's no front-facing camera.

Next to the downgraded camera the C903's only other serious step down the techno ladder is its lack of Wi-Fi. It's quad band, and even though it has an HSDPA 3G connection for fast-ish web browsing, irregularities in network connections mean that online video streaming using the bundled YouTube app can be a frustrating experience. The Access NetFront browser is intuitive to use though, with the onboard accelerometer automatically flipping the screen into landscape mode and there are keypad shortcuts for zoom, Google search and bookmarks.

The media player supports H.263, H.264, MPEG4 and WMV video It makes a good fist of displaying downloaded movie clips and there's a useful zoom function that allows you to expand widescreen movie trailers to full screen size, without black bars top and bottom. To do this it clips off the edges, but on a smallish screen like this, it's still generally an improvement.

On the audio side, AAC+, AMR, MP3, WMA and WAV formats are supported. The music player itself has a five-band graphic equaliser with five presets, but this sonic tweaking doesn’t make up for the fact that the headphones aren't up to Sony Ericsson's Walkman quality. Also, there's no 3.5mm adapter for the Fast Port power/headphones plug, which might just be a cost cut too far. It has A2DP Blueooth though, so you can use it with wireless headphones, and there's an FM radio with 20 presets, as well as the TrackID service, which identifies mystery tunes.

Sony Ericsson C903

D-pad buttons illuminate to highlight camera functions

Sony Ericsson's Media Go syncing software, which we first saw on the W995, is included, which offers an improved interface over SE's old PC Suite for syncing your videos, pics and music with your computer. There's 130MB of memory on board for your vids and tunes, but you can bump that up to 16GB via Memory Stick Micro card, though there's none supplied – another sign of the C903's midrange meanness, as the C905 comes with a bundled 8GB card.

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