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back to article Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot K850i camera phone

So here it is, the new big boy on the block. Replacing the old K800i/K810i at the top of the Sony Ericsson cameraphone family tree, the K850i shoulders quite a burden of expectation. After all, as far as Sony Ericsson is concerned this is pretty much as good as it gets. Sony Ericsson K850i mobile phone Sony Ericsson's K850i We …

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Happy

That looks like my new phone.

Shiny.

I think I'll be going for that when my contract rolls over in six weeks. It'll nicely replace my K800.

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Bit meh

Having had it for just over a week, not so impressed. The finish really does show off every single mucky fingerprint, the D pad is a real pain to adjust to after the perfectly good joystick on previous Sony Ericssons, but worst of all, those soft keys - just don't give the right kind of tactile feedback. Possibly they're cheaper, or they fit into the design aesthetic that they're looking for, but I really miss the positive feel of my old T610 - it's somehow much more difficult to lock the keypad, amongst other common actions.

Nice battery door though.

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K + W

Why are SE phones always great camera or great capacity with a great media player?

Whay can't they don't both?

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Black Helicopters

Typical

El Reg goes out to do a serious review of a phone photo taking ability and ends up capturing an image of the latest Martian invasion scout.

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Blind reviewer?

Just wondering if the reviewer was blind, considering that aesthetically it is far less pleasing to the eye than the K810i that went before it. The buttons are plastic looking, squishy and ugly, and the whole front panel of the phone feels cheap and poorly put together.

I wanted one of these, at least until I went and actually looked at them.

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@ AndyWorth

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Andy. I think it's a very nifty looking design but obviously the punters will vote with their wallets

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Anonymous Coward

The keyZ

I wonder if they'll still work ok after a year - your thumbs, not the keys! The keys will be fine :D:D:D

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Anonymous Coward

What is so common about 30fps recording?

So the Reg is claiming the video recording capability of the K850i is a common feature in other mobile phones?

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Anonymous Coward

N82....

...is coming Q1 2008.

The N82 apparently comes with 640x480 30fps, optical zoom, xenon flash, Symbian 60 and wifi. I'm going to wait and see for the N82. SonyE's reign at the top of the camera phone market here in the UK could soon be over, so who cares about the k850i, which should by now have come with optical zoom and the last model (K800) should have had the current models (K850) video capture capabilities.

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Unhappy

N82

"The N82 apparently comes with...optical zoom" I don't think it does!

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Optical Zoom on 'phones

as per above, the N82 does not have optical zoom - it has a x20 digital zoom.

The Samsung G800 has a 3x optical zoom, just a shame Samsung handsets are so crap to use.

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Marble Madness

The reviewer also missed out Marble Madness 3D that comes pre-loaded on the phone, a game completely controlled by tilting the phone. Really, really impressive - although Vodafone take it off for some reason, replacing it with a load of crappy demos.

I've had the phone about a week now and on the whole it's pretty good. I do find the D-Pad a bit tricky at times, as when texting I sometimes hit the up arrow instead of the letter a, causing tghe cursor to jump into the middle of another word - and I don't have particularly fat fingers. Also, the camera doesn't seem to take pictures as well at the K800i did - it feels almost as if the flash is out of sync with the shutter, so all my pics come out darker than they would normally be. And the touch screen is great except you instinctively want the rest of the screen to be touch sensitive too, and I obviously keep pressing "select" with my ear when on a call, so when I finish it I see it's about to send a blank text message to the first entry in my contacts list; I've had to create a dummy one called "Aaa" so as not to bombard my alphabetically challenged friend with speechless texts.

Other notable ommissions on the phone: no ability to put the phone in clock mode - the K800i would tell me without having to touch it what the time was or if I had a text. This requires me to press the zoom keys on the side to get the same info. And they still have that awful "WORD NOT IN DICTIONARY" message that comes up, completely interrupting the flow of your texting; a simple bleep would suffice. However, thank god they've moved the keys around so it's not so easy to accidentally dump the message you're working on into drafts.

I just wish Nokia would put a decent flash on their phones...

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High expectations

The phone is ok, but i think because of the hype, i expected more and so am more dispappointed as it does not meet the high expectations i thought of it to be. Having said that if you actually compare it to other phones, come on people its not that bad.

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Thumb Up

well i like it...

ive had mine for a week now and love it..

i dont particullary play games so im happy with the new button presses instead of the joystick (i had 3 different k800i's and the joystick was always sticking so was a pain in the arse).

i couldnt care less about the fingerprints.. any phone with a shiny case is going to suffer that and i think people moaning about are just trying to find things to moan about!!

buttons are a bit weird to start with but at least they wont suffer with the same problem as the k800i... ie the labels coming off the keys (very annoying and is a known problem with that model)

i love the camera and it makes it feel more like a proper camera now than a phone with a camera and its much quicker to move between the modes now they have used the keys 3 to # to allow you change them.

the soft keys are fantastic and i love them cant see why people are having problems with them and the person saying they keep getting empty texts... have the phone on autolock and you wont have an issue.

the only issue i would have mentioned was that the software doesnt auto sync but the cd supplied is already out of date and the updated version from the site allows that now so my contacts and diary from work are now synced every half hour.

and lastly the flash can now be used as a torch (dont remember that option on the k800i) which is usefull as it the SOS option it has .. if i ever get stuck somewhere i need it that is

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Stop

Still not an N95 beater

Nokia will be releasing the 8Gb version of the N95 next month. Improved battery life more than double the original N95's RAM also you can put an 8Gig memory card in it. Plus it's black and looks wicked! Oh and it has Wifi

Game over again sony ericsson!

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Go

@ Optical Zoom on 'phones

Nokia N93 had 3x too and had VGA Video (640x480 @30fps). Just was never adopted by a UK network.

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Dead Vulture

This reviews is missing the key piece of information

The key piece of information for camera phones is the length of time required to take the damn picture! My old Samsung took so long, photo's always ended up with people moving away.

Any indication of time between shutter-button press and image capture? Also, how long does it take to process the image, so that the camera is ready to take the next shot?

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Wait and see

Not utterly convinced after having a play at my local store. however my K800 is dying a death (usual joystick issues) so I welcome any way SE choose to fix that problem.

Don't quite understand the two buttons being enclosed by the d-pad. Surely one would make a bit more sense as this could operate as the select key when you are navigating around menus.

Menu is a bit dull, and I think it could do with bigger internal capacity and add some of the walkman features. Maybe SE will eventually put the cybershot and Walkman leaders together in one phone, but until then I'll be buying the K series as it is better for what I tend to use my phone for: calls, texts, and snaps. Just not sure if I'll wait for the 6 month revision to see if they tidy things up a bit.

As for the N95 as an alternative. Ouch, not really a like for like comparison (N95 is a smart phone, K850 isn't), but my wife's N95 is an absolute pup. Slow, fiddly, network crippled, and loaded with inconsistencies and dodgy software. My K800 does just about everything the N95 does, to a lesser standard to be sure, but it all actually hangs together.

At least the K850 actually works, and now SE have fixed their PC suite, it's a borderline joy to use with your PC. Maybe SE will chuck the new cybershot and the walkman features in the P1 replacement? until then, the K850 is really tempting me, but I think I'll play with it a bit more first...

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Camera response time..

Matthew, in answer to your question the 850i takes about 1.5 seconds to auto-focus and take a picture, either with or without flash, and maybe a further 2.5 - 3 seconds to process the image and let you take pic #2. It's faster than many cameras I have used, and certainly faster than my trusty old Nikon.

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@Mark

Lets see:

"It lacks Wi-Fi, which frankly is no surprise - it isn't, after all, trying to be a smartphone."

It is not, and was never intended to be, an N95 beater. The game can't be over if the players aren't even in the same league.

BTW: looks as a great phone to replace my old trusty K700i

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compared to the K810...

...there doesn't seem to be much of interest about this phone. There are 3 things about my K810 that the K850 addresses and that is the battery cover (everytime i slide my phone into my pocket the battery cover comes off), the flash-as-a-torch (i had this on a w550 and it came in useful soo damn often i was gutted when i upgraded to the k810 and had already given away my W550) and the sliding camera lens cover has been removed (opens at every opportunity on my handset). Any joystick jams i have had on the K810 have been fixed with a spray of air. The next phone i go for will have wi-fi and a torch function.

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K810 Torch

If you're looking for a torch for the K810 (might work with K800 too - I don't have one, so I can't say) then visit esato.com. It's a website that reviews mobiles, etc, but specialises in SE.

Do a search for k810 and torch, and you should find that there's a small java program that uses the auto-focus red light as a flash.

I've been using this since upgrading from my old K750 and discovered that I used the torch a lot more than I realised, and have been happy with the results.

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