As a cameraphone, the W800 is identical to the K750i - where the W800 differs is in two main aspects: the design, and the media player. Personally, I never liked the K750's styling - it's not that it's a bad design, it's just one that never worked for me. The w800 fixes all that - it's a lovely looking phone, with a good and (dare I say it) funky design. Bucking the trend of blue lights on everything that's been getting worse as the price of blue LEDS drops, I was pleased to be bathed in the gentle orange glow of the W800, and it's cream, slightly matt finish is a refreshing change from the norm.
The media player is very nice. I didn't envisage myself using it much as I have a hard disk mp3 player that does perfectly well, but I was surprised to find myself using the W800's mp3 player quite a lot. Not in the same way that I use my iPod, which is a portable music source for headphones or speakers, but as a standalone sound maker - just a little tune to groove to while walking to the post box, or some backup sounds in the car (as my cd player in there is notoriously unreliable). Having one-button access to music, and having the mp3s player carry on playing while you do other things with the handset is a nice (essential, if this is to be the Walkman SE want it to) touch as well.
Unamped, the W800's little speaker carries a tune quite nicely - of course, there's not much bass and it won't play very loudly, but when you're sitting quietly in the garden reading a book, loud and bassy isn't what you want. Through headphones it performs perfectly well, the supplied earphones are pretty good (it's just mp3, it's hardly worth worrying about hardware quality), and the loading/unloading software is bearable. It would be nice to be able to drag and drop, and it would be nice to support mp4/aac/ogg/etc, but as a secondary music platform, it's pretty good.
PC connection is by bluetooth or high-speed cable, and it is very fast -I suspect the cable itself is faster than the memory card write speed. The phone shows up as a standard usb mass storage device, and although some stuff can be loaded/unloaded by browsing the phone through windows/macos/linux, mp3s can't, you have to use the Disk2Phone software supplied. There doesn't seem to be any restrictions on Digital Rights Management for the mp3s I tried, and it doesn't appear to want to reformat your files to Sony's ATRAC format (I had a Sony mp3 walkman that did that, and it was damn annoying)
The camera, as you can see, is a nifty little device - the macro mode is much appreciated, as is the slightly improved interface. Startup time from opening camera cover to photo being saved is about 4 seconds, which is mostly taken up with the fairly slow autofocus mechanism. That's not really a complaint - autofocussing is a hard job in computing terms, and I'd rather have something a little slower than something that's not going to flatten my batteries with complex edge detection. The camera light is VERY bright, as some of the following photos show. I initially thought the camera erred slightly toward overexposure, but that turned out to be the phone's screen being set too bright - the images looked fine on my PC. We haven't got one to test, but I recently saw a head-to-head comparison of the W800 against the upcoming Nokia N90, and the W800 outperformed it in almost all photos. Sony Ericsson appear to still be leading the field in phone camera technology, although recent Sharp handsets are looking good, and Samsung have their liquid lens magic lined up for sometime next year. For now though, my choice would be the W800, because although some other handsets may have slightly more megapixels (and what a useless yardstick to measure cameras on), the W800 wraps it all up in a nicer, smaller, easier to use package.
All in all, the W800 is a cracking little device - the usual tweaks and improvements have gone on with the operating system and the interface since my last phone (SE S700i), although I imagine that the K750i functions very much the same. My only gripe might be that the plastic shell feels a little flimsy, but it seems to actually be quite tough, and it more than makes up for any slight feeling of fragility by being very lightweight (several times I've 'lost' the phone, only to find it sitting un-noticed in my pocket).
13th Sep 2005, 00:08
Supplied mini-photo editing software lets you do neat things like this
tint effect. The second image is tinted and filtered with one of the
preset filters ("Painting", I think this was)
12th Sep 2005, 23:59
If you put it into b&w; mode, then negative mode, then close the camera and re-open it, it (sometimes) ends up in this rather lovely negative black and white mode. This is a coffee plant, which has slightly dirty (rather than diseased!) leaves.
12th Sep 2005, 23:59
Accidently had the phone set on 640x480 res here, sorry.
12th Sep 2005, 23:57
I had to adjust the exposure on the first shot as there is no spot
metering on this camera, so it was exposing for the bright background.
Exposure adjustment is smooth and easy, using the phone's joystick.
12th Sep 2005, 23:41