Fast and featured but not a full smartphone. (March 17th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Sony-Ericsson
Price: $300 (with contract)
- Well-designed hardware and software interface. - Good call quality and fast Internet over 3G. - Excellent camera for a phone. - Solid music player software.
- Expensive for a non-smartphone device. - Web and camera still limited compared to the very high end. - Standby life shorter than expected. - No choice but to use proprietary budget earbuds.
phone functions: calling and battery life
For all of its emphasis on media functions, Sony-Ericsson has lately earned a minor reputation for call quality, and the K850i seems to carry on the tradition: I held conversations in some moderately noisy situations and never encountered muffled call quality. Very little background noise filtered through; about the only flaw was needing to turn the volume up slightly from default. Speakerphone quality is good, but not as stand-out as for private calls.
Anyone familiar with UIQ (Sony-Ericsson's variant on Symbian) will be very familiar with navigating the interface for managing calls. Items are buried a level deeper than some would like, but the menu system is never especially complicated and tends to be detailed without being intimidating. Airplane mode and silent mode have no top-level shortcuts, however.
In active use, the K850i's battery largely lives up to its maker's claims for active use, though standby proved somewhat different. Phone use only very gradually runs down the available power, and at 9 hours the K850i is poised to last for a very long time. When I locked the phone and let it sit at standby overnight, however, I found that it bled battery life by about a quarter. This phone may last all day in a pocket, but it will still need charging through its AC adapter or a USB port.