Mobile Personal Photography

Upgrading to Sony Ericsson K800i

When my wife needed to upgrade her phone several weeks back, there was no question on which brand she’ll be getting. The question was which Sony Ericsson model best fits her needs and our budget.

I am a Sony Ericsson fan boy and my fanaticism must have rubbed off on my wife because she decided to dump Nokia. Not even a recent marketing fiasco by Sony Ericsson Philippines can dampen my Sony Ericsson fanaticism.

Sony Ericsson K800i A PHONE ANY BLOGGER WOULD LOVE. The Sony Ericsson K800i comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera, which makes it great for taking photos for websites and blogs. The 3G phone can also display RSS feeds. Click on photo to enlarge.

My wife chose the Sony Ericsson K800 or, as it is being marketed here in the Asia-Pacific region, K800i. The phone is part of the company’s Cyber-shot line, phone products with image taking qualities good enough to carry the Sony brand for standalone digital cameras.

The K800i is no longer the latest in its line. Sony Ericsson has already upgraded the line by launching the K810i and announcing the coming availability of the K850i.

What stands out in the K800 line is the ability to upgrade the firmware over the air. In previous Sony Ericsson versions, you need to attach your phone to your PC via a USB cable to upgrade your unit’s firmware. With the K800, you can upgrade your firmware from the phone itself.

What’s good about Sony Ericsson firmware upgrades is that at times, the changes they bring are really major. In my K750i, for example, firmware upgrades have improved the photo quality and even sound levels. Firmware upgrades also fixed a nasty USB transfer bug that causes files to go missing when you transfer files to your phone.

I still haven’t tried upgrading the firmware of my wife’s phone so I can’t compare the experience with upgrading via a PC connection. My wife is still using her Globe SIM. We’re waiting for her plan to expire in July so that she can shift to Smart, which offers cheaper mobile Internet access and has a stronger signal in our part of the subdivision.

But I’ve updated my K750i at least thrice and I also upgraded a colleague’s phone and found the process easy. There are several comments, however, on this blog about botched upgrades and these usually involve drivers and versions of Java and Flash.

What I’d wish for Sony Ericsson to implement, though, is allowing users to choose which firmware to upgrade to. In the K750i’s case, the last firmware version lowers the volume by two levels. I was lucky I had upgraded to the penultimate version and could afford not upgrading to the latest firmware. But others who were still suffering from the USB transfer bug had no option but to upgrade to the last firmware version and suffer the lowered volume levels.

The Sony Ericsson Update Service, during the upgrade process, automatically upgrades your phone to the latest version for your country. This is perfectly fine if Sony Ericsson commits to continuing work on a model’s firmware but this isn’t the case. Look at the K750i.

The K800i comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera that’s perfect for blogging. The camera comes with auto-focus and an image stabilizer, which compensates for hand movement to reduce blurring of photos.

Max smoking for K800i sample photo SAMPLE PHOTO. Here’s a sample photograph taken with the Sony Ericsson K800i. To view the really huge original photo (it’s 2,000 pixels wide so don’t say I didn’t warn you) click on the image. The close button of the window that will load the photograph is on the lower right portion of the screen (believe me, you’ll be looking for it).

The K800i also comes with BestPic, a feature that allows the camera to take nine successive photographs on a single button press. It takes four photos as you press the button, one image when you press it and another four photos after you press it. You can then choose the best shot to save.

BestPic is useful when taking photographs of fast-moving subjects such as in sports or even news events. I just wished you can have the option of saving all the photographs for choosing later. In certain scenarios, such as covering a news event for your website, you won’t have the time to go over the photos to choose the best one to save. And having to choose a photo may make you miss a shot.

The K800i also comes with picture blogging, a feature that allows you to publish photos in your blog as soon as you take them.

The K800i, being a 3G phone, also allows video calls with compatible handsets and is capable of video streaming. It also offers a faster mobile Internet experience. The phone can also display RSS feeds.

All in all, I think the K800i is a great phone. My wife thinks so. But the K810i seems a lot sleeker and the coming K850i is also something to drool over. I’m thinking of upgrading my K750i next year. In all likelihood, I’d be getting the K850i.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.