[Review] Sony Ericsson K800i


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Martyn

Sony Ericsson K800i Review

Around this time last year some of you may remember that I reviewed my W800i phone, and posted it on Neowin (here). About a month ago I took out a new contract and chose to get the K800i, so I thought I would review it for all you lovely technology fanatics at Neowin. I know the phone has been out for a few months now, but I still thought I would add my view on it, which is all this is, and for that reason I may not go into every little detail about the phone. In this review I will be making comparisons to my W800i (essentially a K750i), simply because that is what I am used to.

Well first off let’s have a look at the specifications of the phone.

Key Features:

• Cyber-shot™ 3.2 megapixel digital camera with autofocus,

• Xenon flash - real photographic light,

• BestPic™ - pick the best, delete the rest,

• 3G - high speed Internet services,

• Music and video player,

• PictBridge compatible - easy photo printing ,

• Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™) support,

• 64MB internal memory,

• FM radio,

Dimensions and weight:

• 105 x 47 x 22 mm,

• 115 grams,

Available colours:

• Royal silver (James Bond special edition),

• Velvet black,

Screen:

• 262,144-colour TFT,

• 240 x 320 pixels,

Several features of the K800i appealed to me when deciding what phone to purchase. To be honest, the only real competitor to the K800i at the time of writing is the Nokia N73, and since I prefer Sony Ericsson to Nokia (having switched previously) the K800i was always going to be my preference. The camera on the K800i is superb, I love the BestPic feature and the fact that the phone has a flash is really good. Last year, I bought a W800i mainly because I needed the Walkman capabilities of the phone for travelling to college, recently though I bought an iPod nano 2G (8gb) so I did not need a phone with good music playing capabilities. If Walkman features are important to you then I suggest going for a W810i or a W850i.

Box contents:

I was a bit disappointed with the box provided with the K800i, as last year I got this extravagant orange walkman branded plastic box, this year I just got the phone in a standard black box, which I suppose goes with the professional look of the phone.

The box contains:

• K800i,

• Charger,

• USB cable,

• Headphones and hands free kit,

• Battery,

• PC Suite and drivers,

• Instructions,

• Wrist strap,

k800inthepackagevj3.jpg

Outside appearance:

When you first handle the phone you will probably notice how heavy it feels, Sony Ericsson have certainly packed a lot into it! The phone feels extremely solid in your hand, and unlike previous models has a sort of rubber covering around the phone. This is great for a number of reasons; it is harder for the phone to slip out of your grip, and it also offers better protection for the phone and makes it generally nicer to handle. The phone is taller than most previous Sony Ericsson models; this is mainly due to the increased screen size which is about 26% bigger than my old W800i. As well being made taller to compensate for the bigger screen, the buttons have been squeezed together so I imagine if you have fat fingers the phone will be difficult to operate. The number buttons on the phone also have the new rubber grip added to them, the other buttons are silver and smooth, as well as being nicely shaped, it is a pleasure to operate them! The backlight of the phone is a nice gentle purple/pink, which probably sounds a bit of a girly colour, but I actually think the backlight compliments the overall image of the phone. I think the phone looks great. Last year my phone was orange and cr?me, and as the K800i is black it makes a nice change. Black phones always look more professional to me. The phone is taller and heavier than most other phones on the market, but that should not really be an issue as I find you can adapt to a phone easily. The camera cover on the back looks really nice, however I find it can open quite easily say if I am taking the phone out of my pocket, which can be really annoying. Personally, I think the phone feels great, is solid and looks quite good.

numberkeysfromsidebj9.jpg

Navigation: >

The OS of the phone is very easy to use, you can also change the look of your phone by changing the theme, and more themes can be downloaded on the internet.

There are twelve icons on the menu, and each one takes you to a different place (duh!). The icons are:

• Media album,

• Music player,

• Entertainment,

• Cyber-shot,

• Messages,

• Orange world (network specific),

• Downloads,

• Address book,

• Video call,

• Call history,

• Organiser,

• Settings,

phonesw1.png

Cybershot camera: >

The 3.2 mega pixel Cybershot camera is one of the main selling points of the phone. Some of the pictures I have taken have been of superb quality, although I must admit I have not toyed with the camera that much since I got the phone. The flash of course improves night photos substantially; the xenon flash is automatic and comes on only when needed. As soon as you slide the cover down (accidentally or not), or access the camera from the menu the camera will come on for you to have a play with it. You get to adjust all the usual settings as well, including:

• Switch to video camera,

• Shoot mode,

• Scenes,

• Picture size,

• Focus,

• Flash,

• Turn on self timer,

• Effects,

• White balance,

• Metering mode,

• Picture quality,

• Shutter sound,

• Turn on time and date,

• Reset file number,

• Save to,

The BestPic feature is one of my favourites. You simply select BestPic, press the button to take a picture, and the camera will take 9 pictures within around a second I presume. You can then save the pictures you like best and discard the others. This works particularly well with moving objects, and when trying to photograph my budgie!!

Although I have only took about fifty photos with the K800i so far, I can still see the sheer quality of the pictures the K800i takes is there. In particular, the autofocus feature considerably helps get rid of the blur, I have a feeling this feature has been improved from previous models.

k800lensek4.jpg

Video’s: >

I have to say that Sony Ericsson have definitely been working on the quality of the video that the K800i takes. Although the quality of videos is still not on the same levels as pictures, the videos I have took have been of ok quality, there is not much noticeable pixilation and the video is quite smooth, of course if you are making wild movements while taking a video it will be a bit choppy. The playback of videos is as awesome as ever on a Sony Ericsson phone, and the loud speaker at the back I think is even louder than the one in my W800i, so the sound quality is also superb. So all round I would say the K800i is one of the best, if not the best, phones on the market for image and video capturing.

3G:>

The K800i was my first ever 3G phone, not that this feature really played much of a part in my decision in buying the phone, but nevertheless 3G is still pretty good. I do not really use the internet on my phone, I used to a few years back but only because it was free. So because of that I have taken advantage of the 3G internet on my K800i yet, although I may sign up for a free trial with Orange soon.

However, I discovered to my delight that I had some free video calling minutes! To video call someone you need to have a friend who also has a 3G phone, and only a few of my friends have one unfortunately. There is a small camera situated on the front of the phone next to the ear piece which is used for video calling. I randomly made a video call in the ASDA to a friend and I quite enjoyed the whole video calling experience. One thing I learned though is that it is best to be in a quiet place when video calling, where the ambient noise is low!

Games: >

I love to play a good quality game on my phone. The K800i offers three default games, only two of them I will be talking about as the other one is a younger persons game. Tennis multiplayer is basically the same game as Super Real Tennis, except with tweaked graphics and a few more features, but the game play is still the same. A new feature is playing the game with someone else with over Bluetooth. I did this with my friend and it was a bit boring to be honest, as it lasts about five minutes before you actually win a point, simply because the overall game play is crap, there is only one shot you can do and that is with weak power and you can only adjust the angle you hit it at, which sucks. Minigolf is the other game offered on the K800i (which can be played in widescreen), the graphics are quite good on this as well although there are not that many levels on it. Unlike on Tennis Multiplayer, the game play is quite good on Minigolf. You can also play this game over Bluetooth with a friend, and I found this to be quite a fun experience.

gamesas1.png

Other features: >

Battery life on the K800i seems to be very good, perhaps even better than my W800i which is pretty impressive seeing as the K800i has a larger and brighter screen. Video calling sucks the life out the battery pretty quick though.

At the top of the phone there are two buttons next to ear peace thing, at first glance these look like will simply stop the phone getting scratched when it is placed on it’s face, but I accidentally pressed one and found out they actually do something! If you press the left one it takes you to your most recently taken photo, if you press the right one it lists nine of your photos in tile view. Pretty cool I thought!

One of the features I loved about my W800i was the little light you could turn on, it effectively acted as a torch and I found it quite useful. Unfortunately due to the dedicated flash that has been placed on the K800i, SE removed the light option but I found a little program on the internet which uses the red light as a torch although it can be quite time consuming to run the program when you are in a rush.

Overall I am quite happy with the phone. I just love the way it feels so nice, safe and secure in my hands. It is definitely a quality phone, and you can really tell just by looking at it.

k800cybershotdisplayns4.jpg

Firmware annoyance: >

I have always loved Sony Ericsson for the way they release new firmware updates for their phones. They have released several updates for the K800i since it has been released, but unfortunately not everyone can update there phone if they are on certain networks. For example, Orange has not released the update yet even though Sony Ericsson has. I am stuck with the same first release version of the firmware (R1CB001) on my phone, simply because I have an Orange branded phone.

The operating system of the phone is pretty laggy and slow compared to the W800i I had, and can really annoys me sometimes, mainly because this can easily be fixed (and probably already has been) in an updated firmware release, but seeing as I cannot update my firmware…

Final verdict (points out of 10):>

Design:8.5>

The K800i is a professional looking phone. It looks professional and stylish at the same time. As I said before, the phone is very solid and refined, the build quality is evidently there and I have great confidence in it.

Features:9>

This phone has practically all the features available on the market today, one of the best camera phones, Bluetooth, MP3 player, 3G etc. There is nothing more you could really want from it to be honest. If you are going to find a phone with more features at this moment in time, then it would more than likely be running on the Symbian OS.

Performance:7>

The K800i is a very quick phone overall, it just lags sometimes when navigating. I am sure Sony Ericsson have improved the OS speed with a firmware update, but as Orange have not yet released this to it’s customers we are stuck with what we have for the moment.

Final score:8.5>

The K800i is without doubt one of the best phones on the market at the current time. It has practically everything you could ask for from a phone. Last year, I loved my W800i so much because it was such a step up from my old Nokia 6230, this year the K800i is not as much of a step up, but it is still a really great phone to have!

se-k800i-front1.gif

Thanks for reading:)).

EDIT: Firmware update available, I am a happy bunny:DD!

Edited by Martyn
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kingroach

Cant see the images, says direct linking.. I am getting a w810i+ 1 gig memory stic with my contract.. But this K800i is tempting.. Would you recommend selling the w810i and getting K800. But I wont have any money left to buy a memory card if I sell a w810i and buy k800.. does memory stick from w810i works in K800i or its a different card..

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Gazza12

Cant see the images, says direct linking.. I am getting a w810i+ 1 gig memory stic with my contract.. But this K800i is tempting.. Would you recommend selling the w810i and getting K800. But I wont have any money left to buy a memory card if I sell a w810i and buy k800.. does memory stick from w810i works in K800i or its a different card..

The W810i memory card doesn't work with the K800i but, you can get a 512MB SanDisk M2 for the K800i for ?15 from Play.com. I would imagine you have that much to spend on a memory card? As for buying the phone if you are heavy into music I would recommend sticking with your W810i but if not, go for the K800i.

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Martyn

Cant see the images, says direct linking.. I am getting a w810i+ 1 gig memory stic with my contract.. But this K800i is tempting.. Would you recommend selling the w810i and getting K800. But I wont have any money left to buy a memory card if I sell a w810i and buy k800.. does memory stick from w810i works in K800i or its a different card..

To be honest, seeing as you have just ordered the W810i I would advise that you stick with that, otherwise you would just lose money on it if you tried to sell it. The W810i is a very good phone to be honest, especially if you are going to use its Walkman capabilities.

So...?

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sundayx

wondering if anyones got their hands on the silver version?

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Echilon

Great review. I'd really love a new phone for christmas, and the camera and screen look really nice. Only problem is though, there's no version of TomTom compatible with it :(

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  • 2 weeks later...
sn00pie

I'm considering picking up a k790, what exactly is the difference between the two?

Great review btw. :)

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mattmatik

This is going to be my Christmas present to myself. I've been suffering with my V635 for a few months now and I've been stuck on either the K800i or the N73. I've heard nothing but great things about the SE and Nokia seems to have some software issues - which is exactly why I'm wanting to ditch the V635.

They just came out with a Casino Royale edition. Basically, it's the K800i in silver. Looks beautiful.

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peacemf

i own a w800, and id say its a good phone

BUT

the joystick is still a problem

also the rubber keys wear off after a while!

its heavy!

walkman features!! :(

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Viper101

If I was going to buy a phone now it would have to be the K800i. My brother has one and its awesome. A friend has the new Nokia N73 and it has major software issues, full of bugs and often crashes (could be a rare problem). Sony Ericsson and Samsung mobile phones are prob the leading manufactors at the moment in my eyes, however Nokia is catching up.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Martyn

I have just noticed that at last Orange have released a new firmware for the K800i, which can be obtained by using SEUS :D.

At last :D! I am happy now :).

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Quick Shot

awesome phone!!!!!!

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LewisBraid

i've got this phone, tis so great. I had the k750i before which imo was poorly made.

k800i perfect, had it since they were released on contract in the uk, not one bit of wear on it yet.

i had the silver version as i was going to swap with a mate but i didnt like the silverness so i gave it back.

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  • 2 weeks later...
.bin

nice review! i personally run the k600i myself, and the k800i is going to be my next upgrade! Sony ericsson ftw!

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  • 2 weeks later...
mFC_

i just got one this week, very slick phone... the UI is way better than phones i'm used to (i've been through a razr, slvr and pebl)

the only issues i have with it right now are signal reception (my motos were all quadband i think, the k800i is triband) and i keep getting a voicemail indicator when i dont actually have any voicemail

but otherwise, i'm very, very happy with this phone... it might even convince me to hold off on an iphone :)

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  • 1 month later...
Whitlam

I've got the K800i - and it has some software problems. It resets itself after trying to open certain photos in the photo album.

It then flashes on and off, & won't turn off - the only way to stop it is to remove the battery.

Happens frequently.

Quite disappointing - as I moved to that phone after having endless problems with dreadful Nokia 6280

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Lee
I've got the K800i - and it has some software problems. It resets itself after trying to open certain photos in the photo album.

It then flashes on and off, & won't turn off - the only way to stop it is to remove the battery.

Happens frequently.

Quite disappointing - as I moved to that phone after having endless problems with dreadful Nokia 6280

Try updating the firmware.

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Syphonic
I've got the K800i - and it has some software problems. It resets itself after trying to open certain photos in the photo album.

It then flashes on and off, & won't turn off - the only way to stop it is to remove the battery.

Happens frequently.

Quite disappointing - as I moved to that phone after having endless problems with dreadful Nokia 6280

Had this problem with my W800i. Eventually the phone became a dud.

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  • 4 weeks later...
ElectricDemon

I've had two die in the last 6 months (froze, then wont power up anymore). I've been issued a voucher for the carphone warehouse now to pick up a brand new phone, I might try for the w880i now. Although i love the K800i (minus it's faults), I dont think I'd risk a 3rd.

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Premgenius

Nice review, but I'm a Nokia fanboy.

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Elliot B.
Nice review, but I'm a Nokia fanboy.

Wth? :s So why post?

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Damo R.

I got this phone a few weeks back...I like it alot :D

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Wannes

I'm getting one next week and thanks for your review. It's good to see my Samsung E-900 go. :p

J.

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Cosmin

definetly ugly .

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