The Sony Ericsson K790/K800 gives the concept of Camera-phone a whole new meaning. The k790/k800 has a 3.2 mega pixel Cybershot camera with a Zenon Flash. The K790/K800 comes in both maroon and black colors. There are two variants of the phone that have been released, the K790 and the K800. There are two versions of the K800, the k800i and the K800c. The K800i is meant for the international market while the K800c is meant for China Mainland market only. The K790 has three variations: the K790a, K790c and the K790i. I used the K790a in this review which is meant for North America because it has the 850 GSM Band. The K790c is for China and the K790i is meant for the international market.
There are two major differences between the K790 and the K800. The K800 has a secondary QCIF resolution camera for video calling while the K790 does not. Another difference is that the K800 has Dual Mode UMTS while the K790 has EDGE. Since the phones are made for different markets around the world it makes more sense to have them customized for that particular market. For example it would not make sense for the North American version to have a secondary camera because we do not have the video calling feature yet. The main feature of this phone is the camera, but does the Cybershot really produce good pictures? Read on to find out!!
The Sony Ericsson K790/K800 is a new version of the K750. The K750 was slightly smaller in length but had the same kind of camera concept. If you think back when the Sony Ericsson T610 and T630 were released, they had the same idea in which you hold the phone sideways and the camera button is on the top right corner like a digital camera. The T630 and T610 were only VGA cameras, but now the K790/K800 produces pictures like a Sony Digital camera.
This is the first time that Sony Ericsson has released the Sony Cybershot Camera on a cell phone, the cover of the camera looks identical to that of the Cybershot digital camera. The cover of the camera is an excellent concept for because it protects the camera lens when not in use. It also slides down seamlessly when you want to take pictures quickly. Sony Ericsson has done an excellent job in designing the phone with actual camera functions.
The K790/K800 has all the basic features you need. The K790/K800 supports alarm clock function and you can put up to 5 different alarms at one time. Another cool thing about the alarm function is that you can listen to the radio when waking up but you need the headphones plugged in. another key features is the calendar with appointments. The k750 was missing this feature and it is nice to see that it has now been included. Other basic features include tasks, notes, timer, stop watch, calculator and code memo. With code memo you can save secret documents, let's say bank password for example, you have to input a password in order to look at the memo.
The Sony Ericsson K790/K800 has a lot of advanced features as well. The Bluetooth is version 2.0 and is fast when sending data. There is also a preinstalled application called Bluetooth Remote which lets you control your computer's media player or slide show presenter. The Bluetooth remote also lets you use the phone's joystick as a mouse. In order to do this your computer needs to have built in Bluetooth or you need a Bluetooth USB key inserted. The K790/K800 also supports Stereo over Bluetooth which enables you to listen to your music wirelessly. I will discuss more on the stereo over Bluetooth under the Audio section of this review.
Radio is another key feature but you have to have the headphones connected in order to listen. If you do not have the headphones plugged in and try to access the radio it will say ?Please insert the hands-free. The cord works as an antenna.? Since the headphones use the same port as the phone's charger, you may think that you cannot listen to music or the radio while it is charging, but in fact you can. All you have to do is plug the headphones into the bottom of the charger port, this way you can have a radio station set for your alarm clock while the phone charges overnight.
Another cool feature I like in this phone is that you can charge the phone while it is plugged into the computer via USB. While you are loading your phones with media, it charges simultaneously. If you want to disable this feature, you cannot do it through the normal phone menu. There is a secret menu on most Sony Ericsson phones and you can access it by pressing: right, star, left, left, star, left, star. At this menu you can do all sorts of stuff like service checks to ensure everything on the phone is in perfect working condition, disabling USB charge and more. If you are buying this phone second hand or buying it brand new and feel that it might be used you can check the real life-timer minutes through the secret menu. In the normal menu you can easily reset all timers so you never know if its real or not.
The Camera is by far the most advanced feature on the K790/K800. This is the first phone to have the ?Cyber-Shot? logo on it which in the past has made an excellent name for itself when it comes to digital cameras. The camera is 3.2 mega pixels which is the first Sony Ericsson phone to offer a camera over 3 mega pixels. The phone also has a built in Xenon flash which makes night pictures look like day. This is a major upgrade from the k750 which had a LED flash. There are many features that have been added that make this phone truly a
Although the k790/k800 has all of these features does it produce good pictures? The answer is definitely yes. To date I have not seen any better camera phone that can produce high resolution pictures like this. Although there are digital cameras that are more than 5 mega-pixels, people think they must be better. This is a big misconception because even though a camera has more mega-pixels does not necessarily mean that it produces better pictures, all it means is that the size of the picture will be bigger. So in fact a camera that has less mega pixels can still produce a better picture than that of a camera with more mega pixels and just because a camera has more mega-pixels does not always mean it is better.
What makes this phone stand out from the others is the Camera lens cover. Like other Cyber-Shot cameras the lens cover slides down seamlessly and looks awesome!! It also does great job of protecting the camera lens, but the lens cover sometimes opens when the phone is in your pocket. Also you have to be careful because the camera lens cover sticks out, so when placing it on a table it rests on the cover and might get scratched.
The Samsung D900 also has a 3 mega-pixel camera and is also very good in quality. When taking pictures outdoors the quality is almost the same. When taking pictures in low lighting or indoors, the K790/K800 is much superior due to the excellent Xenon flash.
The Cyber-Shot camera has 8 different scene settings to best fit the type of photo you?re taking.
Overall I loved the K790/K800's Cyber-Shot camera for still pictures, but I did not like the video capabilities. For some strange reason the video resolution is only QCIF 176x144. I would think that this phone having a Cyber-Shot camera would make better videos, but I was wrong. The most disappointing part about it is the fact that the Sony Ericsson W900 is capable of recording video at a resolution of QVGA 320x240. If Sony Ericsson has the ability to make QVGA quality videos, why is it not included on their Cyber-Shot camera phone? The W900 has a 2 mega-pixel camera and is capable of making better videos does not make sense to me.
The display of the K790/K800 is an excellent upgrade from the k750. The display is QVGA 240x 320 while the k750's display was only 176x 220. The display is a major improvement, not only in quality but in size too. The screen is capable of displaying 256k colors and is excellent for displaying pictures, playing games, and browsing the net. The display is the same size as the S700 and W900 models. It was a wise decision to make the screen's resolution better because you can now read text more easily and view high quality pictures.
Although the Sony Ericsson k790/K800 is not a W-Series phone does not mean it is not meant for listening to music. The k790/K800 has an excellent speaker which is located at the back of the phone near the camera cover. Although the speaker is sufficient it could be a bit louder. One thing I noticed is that the ring tones on highest volume is louder than the maximum volume in the music player.
The provided headphones are excellent. They go very high in volume and have excellent sound quality. The K790/K800 also has built in stereo over Bluetooth which is becoming more and more common on new phones. This feature works great with the new Sony Ericsson HBH- DS970 Bluetooth stereo headphones. The new HBH-DS970 is expensive but is certainly worth the money. The headphones are not like the normal Bluetooth headphones which cover your ears, they are ear buds. Another cool thing about these headphones is that it has a built in display and shows caller ID. Although these headphones work great with the new K790/K800, the caller ID did not work on my HTC Universal and some other windows mobile devices.
The Sony Ericsson K790/K800 is an entertainment machine!! One aspect I liked a lot were the games included with the phone. The games preinstalled were: Tennis, mini golf and a fishing game. The tennis game was my favorite because it has an interesting feature that not many games have yet, which is multi-player via Bluetooth. With this feature you can play anyone who has a compatible Sony Ericsson phone.
Since the k790 and k800 are made for different parts of the world it makes more sense making different versions. The k790 which is for North America has both EDGE and GPRS. The GPRS is decent for browsing WAP sites and has a speed range of 32- 48 K bits per second. The EDGE is a lot faster and you can view normal HTML sites at excellent speed rates, EDGE has speed rates of up to 327 K bits per second. The K800 has HSCSD, GPRS and 3G and is meant for Europe and Asia. Since the K800 has 3G, it also has a secondary camera for video calling located on the front of the phone.
An excellent feature that Sony Ericsson has incorporated into this phone is Bluetooth-internet and USB-Internet. This feature allows you to use the internet on your phone through a connection from your laptop or home PC. Although Bluetooth is a lot easier because it is wireless, some people may not have Bluetooth on their computer, the good news is that you can do that exact same with your USB cable that is included with your phone. Sony Ericsson has included PAN (Personal Area Networking) with a lot of their new phones which makes it very easy to connect to the internet using a home computer or laptop.
The K790/K800 has 64 MB built in and a 64MB card is included with the phone. The K790/K800 are the first phones that include the new Sony memory: Sony M2. The memory is very small compared to the old Sony memory stick duo and is comparable to the micro SD flash memory. M2 is good because the memory is small but also is a bad thing because it is very expensive and is currently limited to 1 GB. Sony will implement this memory in a lot of their new products so it is a good idea for changing memory between various devices.
The K790/K800 has three different types of connectivity. The first one is Bluetooth version 2.0. The Bluetooth v2.0 is a lot better than the old 1.2 standard because it is faster and drains less battery. The Bluetooth also has many features like: Stereo over Bluetooth, Bluetooth mouse, Bluetooth internet and Bluetooth file transfer. Another connectivity type is infrared port which is becoming more and more obsolete because Bluetooth can do everything that infrared can and more. Although infrared is not used often it is good for sending small data files from one device to another. The third connectivity type is USB. With the USB cable you can make the phone a mass storage drive so you can easily drag and drop files you want. The USB is version 2.0 which is excellent for high speed data transfers. The USB also charges the phone when connected.
The Quality of the K790/K800 is very high-end and luxurious. The phone has a soft rubber feel to it which reminds me of the Samsung e730. The battery cover is excellent because like the k750 is fits in perfectly and seems very durable. Overall the phone is very durable, but you have to be careful of the camera lens cover. After a while the cover seems to get loose and sometimes opens while in your pocket. Overall the build quality is excellent and the phone seems very solid.
The K790/K800 is truly one of the best phones when it comes to elegance, style and features. The K790/K800 packs all the greatest and latest technologies that consumers are looking for in a phone. The phone has Stereo over Bluetooth, 3.2 mega pixel camera, Zenon flash, Expandable memory, Excellent MP3 player, Excellent web browser and an excellent overall UI (user interface). The battery is also very good. The battery is Lithium Polymer and on standby lasts 350 hours, and talk-time lasts 7 hours. Also depending on what you use the phone for the battery will act accordingly. Overall the battery life is very good.
Another key feature to note is that there are many variations of this phone. Usually new GSM phones were made mainly for the Europe and Asia market so it is good to see that the newer phones are made for different markets including North America.
Overall I loved the phone, not only for the excellent pictures the Cyber-Shot camera produces, but also for the style, UI, and Media player. The media player I liked a lot because this is the first Sony Ericsson phone to have the stereo over Bluetooth built in. The Sony Ericsson DS970 headphones are excellent too and I would recommend them to anyone who is going to buy this phone or planning to buy Bluetooth stereo headphones.
The average price for this phone is around 500 dollars. Very soon the K790 is going to be released for Rogers Wireless in Canada, and may be released for more service providers in the states. By then the price will be cheaper and depending on your service provider the prices will vary.