Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sony Ericsson Z800i
- Good menu interface, great external screen, Memory Stick expansion option
- Poor quality camera, inadequately designed keypad, chunky size
The Z800i is an excellent 3G phone with an exceptional external screen, but a disappointing camera and a poorly designed keypad.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
The Sony Ericsson Z800i is a feature-packed UMTS 3G-enabled mobile phone that is let down by a low quality camera and a poorly designed keypad. Measuring 102 x 49 x 24mm, the clamshell-design Z800i is fairly chunky when compared to the latest Sony Ericsson models, particularly the K750i. In spite of its size, it only weighs 128 grams.
A delightful feature of the Z800i is its external 65,000-colour screen, which provides information on incoming calls and messages, as well as a battery life meter, and time and date. It even displays your current wallpaper, and a press of the volume-down button on the left-hand side of the unit brings up the calendar appointments for the day. But the most impressive use of the external screen is as a camera viewfinder when the phone is flipped closed.
For a quick photo, simply press the camera button on the side of the phone and the screen becomes a full camera viewfinder with details on resolution, flash and exposure settings. The rotating camera is located on top of the Z800i and contains a light on each side of the lens, which can be quickly activated while the phone is closed by pressing the light button.
The Z800i's 262,000-colour internal screen is also striking. It has a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels and Sony Ericsson has used the same simple yet elegant menu system as on the K750i. The menu is activated by pressing the centre button on the five-way navigational pad, and the menu pictures are enlarged and animated when you scroll through them.
The Z800i has a poorly designed keypad, which makes messaging difficult. The keypad buttons are not raised enough, slowing down messaging considerably. In addition to this, the edges separating the rows of the keypad lack responsiveness because the keys on the Z800i are very flat. The Z800i's 1.3 megapixel camera was also disappointing. While the camera has all the latest features, including 4X digital zoom, quality control, effects, panorama and frames, the overall image quality is poor and the photos we uploaded to our PC were blurred--in particular pictures taken in low-light settings.
However, the music player was a highlight, with excellent audio quality, an easy-to-use interface, an equaliser and the ability to create playlists. The tri-band Z800i supports Bluetooth, infrared and a mini USB port. A Memory Stick Duo expansion slot is also included and a 64MB Memory Stick Duo comes with the phone. In addition to the memory expansion slot, the Z800i contains 7MB of non-volatile internal memory, which is less than average.
We experienced no issues with the Z800i's battery life during testing; and with features like the digital camera, light, external colour screen and video calling, this was a pleasant surprise. Sony Ericsson claims the battery lasts for 150 minutes of talk time, 220 hours of standby or an hour of video calling time on the 3G network.
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