Review of the Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone

Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson
Model: K800i
Price: Subject to contract

Leaving aside the image quality, camera phones have either been okay as phones but fiddly as cameras, or passable as cameras but big and clunky as phones. But Sony Ericsson is obviously confident in the K800i because it’s the first phone that it’s bestowed with its respected Cyber-shot camera brand.

It’s a great-looking phone, with good ergonomics and a menu system that makes sense.

It has an MP3 player, FM radio and some slick-looking games. But it’s the K800i’s functionality as a 3MP camera that we’re interested in. To perform the magic transformation from phone to camera you simply turn it 90° and slide down the lens cover on the back. There’s a shutter button on what is now the top so, superficially, it handles just like a proper camera.

From the subject’s perspective it looks like one, too. It even has a flash.

The settings button accesses a range of icon-based controls, including focus, metering and white balance. There’s a panorama mode which stitches up to three frames, BestPic mode (which takes nine shots virtually simultaneously and lets you choose the best one) and a selection of fun frames, where you can superimpose a face into a selection of templates, including Elvis and a white rabbit. Once the shot is taken, there are a few basic on-board editing features, such as Levels, red-eye removal and Add Text.

Image-quality expectations weren’t high, but they were exceeded in spades. Sure you can see the compression, and there’s visible fringing in high-contrast shots, but the overall quality is pretty reasonable for what they are. In fact, they remind me of 3MP digital compacts of four or five years ago. We even managed to make some passable A4 prints.

Impressed with this camera phone – and managed to get prints up to A4 in size, which really sets it apart

Image quality compared to other camera phone

Still only the image quality you would get from a 3MP digital compact four or five years ago

What Digital Camera Score: 83%