My old Motorola RAZR didn’t have the best start in life. After just a week in my Dad’s back pocket, it somehow managed to get a bit of grit under the cover, which obscured the first line of text on the screen.
Thanks to my Dad’s original sense of humour, when I offered him a swap for my brand new Motorola PEBL (I didn’t like the girlie shape), he neglected to tell me this and ever since then, people were forever getting text messages off me which made little or no sense, as I had to use sheer guess work as to what I was writing in the first line, made even harder thanks to the simply awful implementation of predict-a-text which Motorola make nearly impossible to turn off.
Then, when I flew to the States, the change in air pressure was enough to force this little dot of grime under the plastic, down into the LCD display and everything took a turn for the even worse. I spent the entire trip using the Jedi force just to retrive numbers from the address book, and the least said about SMS texting the better. When the return journey rendered the entire bottom row of the screen a nasty spilt black, with squished crystal colours, the writing was on the wall for a change of handset.
I’m one of those people who likes to do my background checks when buying any new gadget and a close contender to the K800i was the Samsung U600, which has a similar sized screen, a 3.0 megapixel camera and boasts being the slimmest slide-up phone on the market. But I settled on the K800i thanks to it being essentially a Sony Cybershot camera, with a 3G cell phone built-in.
As a keen photographer I’ve been waiting for someone to take this approach, since the actual phone / SMS text part of the device is secondary to my needs, which (to be honest) anything with an address book and an actual phone could more than meet.
The large image resolution (2048×1536) in Fine mode is likely to get me snapping a lot more than carrying around my hefty Canon SLR everywhere I go, and the real flash and 9 shots at once function sounds like the sort of innovative approach to pocket photography some of the camera-only manufacturers could learn a lot from.
The built-in 66MB of memory might prove a limitation if you’re looking to leave your “proper” camera at home for a long trip or big night out, especially given that it’s easy to fill twice as much as that with just one shot on the sort of pro DSLR I am used to, but the Memory Stick Micro format is upgradable to 2GB for just £15 from mymemory.co.uk, which should extend the video recording time quite considerably too.
Of course, as is normal these days, the phone has an MP3 player, the down side being the Sony proprietary headphone connector. While the phone is unlikely to replace my iPod in-car, it would be nice to be able to carry music around with me that can be connected ad-hoc to a friend’s stereo system, for those unplanned occasions when I want to play something and just happen not to have my iPod with me, but it’s nice to see the full complement of Mac and PC compatible connectors, which should act as a work-around in most situations.
A big plus side, which I’d never thought of looking for in a sub-£150 phone before, is mobile blogging. The phone can send a text message to a blogger.com account for instant mobile photo sharing. Since blogger supports RSS, I can see me experimenting with micro-blogging, if only to see what all the fuss is about, though I already smell the suspect aroma of a passing fad; useful only to people with a busy social life, which if anything I actively avoid.
I can’t personally see the point in 3G video calling, but by all accounts the phone can handle it well, with it’s secondary user-facing camera and speaker phone.
Stay tuned for first impressions, once the man in the van drops mine off tomorrow!