updated 12:25 pm EST, Thu February 28, 2008
Sony-Ericsson's K850i phone has just landed at the Electronista offices, and it promises to be one of the most powerful phones tested here to date -- and likely one of the most powerful phones of its type in North America. For those unfamiliar with the device, the K850i is one of Sony-Ericsson's few phones that supports North American 3G. This translates to very fast downloads, and in our initial experiences the performance is genuinely quick enough to be usable; it feels tangibly faster for downloads than EVDO on rival CDMA networks. The 5-megapixel camera is welcome, especially with the addition of a sizeable flash.
Anyone familiar with Sony-Ericsson's UIQ interface will be familiar with the K850i. The interface has not changed significantly, although the K-series label means there's no quick access to playback; finding the official player (rather than the Rogers offering) requires delving deeper, though once there the interface is as easy as it has been in the past.
As of now, our initial reservations revalve only around the size and shell for the phone. The K850 is far thicker than the W580i and is closer in bulk to a Nokia N95 or a similar smartphone. That stems in no small partfrom the camera, but it does rule the phone out for smaller pockets. The extremely glossy black skin on the phone is more worrisome: quite simply, nearly all the outer surface picks up and shows fingerprints all too easily. This may not matter to some users, but fashion-conscious users may want to think twice as this phone will quickly show signs of abuse.
Look for a larger review in coming days that involves more detailed Internet tests (including video streaming) as well as media playback.