Since there’s nothing particularly new about the k800i itself, I won’t do an exhaustive review of it’s every feature, except to cover the main points of using it as a mobile blogging camera and, first off, connecting it up to Apple Mac OS X Leopard; both via Bluetooth and USB.
As is to be expected there is no mention in the Vodafone blurb which bundles with the device about Mac OS X support, although from what I can work out, OS X (as usual) simply does everything which the supplied Windows CD ROM requires installing as extra.
I won’t mention anything more about what should be by now obvious, about OS X Leopard’s many hidden gifts, but it never ceases to amaze me just how many third party hardware manufacturers, from cell phones to printers, fail to mention entirely, in their “Getting Started” documentation, that while Windows might require you to power down the whole machine and restart with the device plugged into the USB port, with the CD ROM in the drive, then click “next” 20 times, then restart, then hop on one leg chanting “I’m my own grandparents”, Mac OS X, on the other hand, just works.
Having resisted the urge to call Vodafone’s “So you’ve decided to set the world to rights by ringing someone in India” hotline, to seek recompense for this baffling oversight, I did what any man of the technology cloth would do and immediately flung the instruction manual in the bin, connected the battery charger and attempted to call Sony Ericsson’s bluff by seeing what this baby could do by way of connectivity, out of the box.
Bluetooth syncing was incredibly easy. Before I really realised what I was doing, I was moving the mouse around the OS X screen using the joystick controller on the k800i handset, and using the phone’s media playback buttons to launch and control iTunes. Very nifty if you happen to have your computer linked up to an audio system in another room and you want to control playback using wireless remote control.
Connecting via USB, with the supplied cable, also charges the phone – which would be great if it didn’t also disable some of the phone’s functionality. You can’t, for example, do anything by way of activating the camera or even browse your address book, while USB is connected. This might be something which is possible using the supplied Windows only software, in which case I underline my frustration that the combined might of Sony, Ericsson and Vodafone can’t get it together enough to hire a software developer who knows how to click a ‘Make an Apple version’ button, in their source code compiler of choice. Is so little effort to keep 16% of the world’s desktop users happy, so much to ask?
Not that this stops the Mac from doing most of the things you would want to do day to day. OS X mounts the phone as a USB device and displays the user folders as shown opposite. You can drag and drop images, videos, MP3s and text documents just as you as if using the phone as a thumb drive. I also found it super easy to sync address book and other calendaring features via OS X’s built-in iSync, since in Leopard Apple added a whole range of Sony Ericsson, LG and Nokia cell phones to their built-in list of supported devices – so I won’t bemoan the odd feature here and there which is only available on that other operating system.
The blogger.com partnership between the camera phone and the internet works brilliantly. I was genuinely very impressed with how easy it was to set up an account which automatically merged with my existing blogger.com page – set up before I received the k800i. It was click an “ok” box here and click the odd “yes I agree” page there and, boom, it just worked great.
The camera side of the k800i is everything I had hoped it would be. For bandwidth reasons, the pictures it uploads to blogger are resized, but it would be easy enough to set-up a work around that would e-mail an attachment of a full size, fine detail picture to the blog – if you really wanted to wade through the slower than dial-up speeds of the 3G cell network.
All in all I’m over the moon that I finally have a phone with a screen I can actually see and more than that a really nice little device for my inner geek.