Notes on the Sony Ericsson K750i

June 12, 2005

While I certainly don't have the time (or energy) to write up a full review of my new Sony Ericsson K750i (like I did for the K700i), I did want to mention a few things that have really stood out in my mind since getting the phone a few weeks ago.

Camera

The only reason I didn't go with a "smartphone" this time around (read: this particular 3-month span before I get a new phone) is because the camera on the K750i is phenomenal. I really can't explain how good the pictures are and so I've picked out a few choice photos from my Flickr photostream:

I really could not be happier with the camera. It's available for taking pictures almost immediately after sliding back the cover and there's no significant delay between pressing the button and actually taking the picture.

With the included 64MB memory card (coupled with the 38MB of internal memory), you can store around 130 pictures at full resolution (1632x1224).

The auto-focus feature works incredibly well; it's very fast and makes taking pictures with the phone completely painless.

The one gripe I have with the camera is the fact that you can't turn off the camera 'alerts.' There is no option to mute the beep that sounds after auto-focus has found its mark or the shutter sound that escapes when you actually take the picture. I understand the public policy reason behind keeping the sounds on, but I should have some say in the matter. Speaking of which, I'm going to try to hack around this when I have some time.

Mac OS X

Though there's no syncing out-of-the-box with Mac OS X (there will be as soon as the phone is introduced to the US), I've been able to get the K750i to sync with Tiger and I'll talk about my method in a future post.

USB

The phone comes with a much-needed USB data cable; I say much-needed because of the file size of the pictures it produces, which usually hover around 550KB — moving these to your machine over Bluetooth (or to Flickr over GPRS) would take forever. I was afraid that the USB cable wouldn't work under Mac OS X (the bundled software is MS only), but upon plugging it into my machine I was wonderfully reminded of why I love my Mac so much — it just worked! Image Capture sees the phone as a regular camera and moves pictures off the phone the same as it would any other camera.

But, of course, not everything came up roses — there's no way to remove the device without causing your machine to freeze. Not sure which side is crapping on itself, but one thing is for sure, it's causing me to go ape-shit every time it locks up.

If anyone has come up with a solution, I'd love to hear from you. I've tried every conceivable sequence of unmounting and unplugging, but nothing seems to work.

vs. K700i

Battery

Inevitably, a lot of you will be looking to compare the K750i with the K700i, and the biggest difference for me between the two (save the camera, obviously) is battery life; the horrid battery life of the K700i was the main reason I ditched it so soon after getting it. With the K750i I can routinely get two and three days of heavy use out of a charge (including significant camera use).

Memory

The K750i adds expandable memory in the form of a Memory Stick Duo slot (and can support up to 4GB). While the expandibility is certainly a virtue, the proprietary memory made me somewhat reluctant to buy the phone — I keep swearing off Sony's memory formats, but every couple of years a must-have device pulls me back in.

Speed

Another positive difference between the K750i and its predecessor is speed. Application response is snappy and I've yet to experience any discernable lag in any application.

Internal speaker volume

One thing that I'm disappointed with is the lack of improvement in the internal speaker volume of the handset. The speakerphone speaker is great and music sounds wonderful blasting from it, but the regular internal speaker is simply too low in some situations. I should be fair and mention that my previous phone, the i-mate SP3i, had the best speaker I've ever used on any device and so I became a little spoiled by its loudness, but that shouldn't excuse the fact that SE seems to have put internal speaker improvements on the back burner (surely they had a ton of complaints concerning the K700i's speaker?).

Construction

Perhaps I just got a sketcky K700i, but it always felt a little too "loose" in my hands. The back cover rocked quite a bit and I actually ended up creating a little buffer between it and the battery to mitigate the rocking. I see none of that in the K750i; the phone feels very solid and the sliding camera cover is fluid and tight.

Miscellaneous

The music player on the phone is actually fairly usable and had the phone come with a standard 3.5mm audio jack, I might be compelled to replace my iPod with a 2GB Memory Stick Duo, but alas, like every other phone on the market, the audio jacks are proprietary and either require a third-party converter or that you listen to music only through the provided headphones. As an aside, this little annoyance is going to go the way of the dodo as handset makers begin to realize that the iPod market is one they are going to want to take over (and can take over).

The new "Activity" menu/button is quite nice. The button resides above the joystick and when pressed takes you to a tabbed interface that contains new events (missed calls, SMSs, etc.), shortcuts (which you can add, delete, and sort how you want), and Internet bookmarks. The activity menu also pops up when a new event occurs; it's how the phone presents the event to you.

Give me more information!

Like I said, there was never any intention for this to be a full-fledged review — I simply don't have the time to do the type of review that I'd like; anyone who knows what's going on with me this summer can appreciate my lack of free time. That said, I do welcome specific questions you might have about the phone and will make every effort to answer all of them.

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