Sony Ericsson Z800i

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A top-shelf 3G offering with a focus on multimedia, the Z800i is a real crowd-pleaser despite its bulk factor.

The lengthy specs list for the 3G Z800i makes for some substantial reading -- there's triband coverage; a sound recorder; a 64MB Memory Stick Duo; not one but two LCD screens and more connectivity options than your local telephone exchange. Sony Ericsson has certainly crammed in the goodies, but how does this feature-filled fold-up phone function? We were suitably impressed.

Sony Ericsson seems to be going through a neo-80s phase - the Z800i, with its chunky form factor and square contours, wouldn't look out of place in the parachute pants pocket of MC Hammer, circa "U Can't Touch This". At 102 by 49 by 23.6 millimetres and 128 grams, clipping this model to your lanyard may result in a strained neck muscle, but the clamshell design makes it more compact than other 3G models.

Sony Ericsson Z800i

One positive aspect of the large size is the fact that, unlike many phones currently on the market, the keypad is actually big enough for human hands. Users who are tired of having finger seizures when attempting to phone a friend will appreciate the big, widely spaced numbers -- although the navigation key could have been raised a little for a more comfortable scrolling-and-selecting experience.

The hinge of the clamshell incorporates a Motion Eye-equipped 1.3 megapixel camera, which can be rotated inward to face your own alluring visage or outward to take snaps of friends and scenery.

When the phone is closed, you can keep an eye on your popularity via missed call and message icons that appear on a tiny screen on the outside of the flip-out panel.

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As with the K750i, Sony Ericsson has thrown a 64MB Memory Stick Duo into the bargain, which can be removed while the phone is on and replaced by a larger capacity stick, should your predilection for multimedia require it.

For all your data transfer and Crazy Frog ringtone downloading needs, the Z800i offers a smorgasbord of connectivity including USB, GPRS, infrared and Bluetooth.

The phone also benefits from Sony Ericsson's innovations in the world of multimedia, with Mega Bass audio, QuickShare photo-sending and the MusicDJ ringtone composer enjoying star billing.

The Z800i initially won us over with its gorgeous 256K colour display, and kept us singing its praises with a simple, intuitive menu interface and lag-free response time.

Browsing for content on the specially designed 3 portal was a little temperamental, with fast data transfer alternating with the occasional dreaded "Page Not Found" message. Downloading music videos, ringtones and graphics from the Sony Ericsson Web site was all very swift however, and in general Web navigation and text entry was straightforward.

Photo quality was average, with quite a bit of graininess creeping into pictures taken in low light conditions and in night mode. Photos sent to an e-mail address via MMS tended to appear much darker onscreen than on the phone's LCD - perhaps a good thing for those who get the urge to mug for the camera after a few drinks.

Sound was simply fabulous; Sony's Mega Bass technology really makes a difference when playing MP3 files, and distortion problems we've seen in the past were non-existent, even at high volumes. The equaliser and playlist functions make the Z800i a more comprehensive offering for media playback, and had us gathering around the humble clamshell in awe, amazed at the powerful sound emanating from such a tiny speaker. For more private music appreciation, the included stereo headphones provide equal aural satisfaction.

There was one sound-related oddity: when previewing ringtones and songs, the volume defaulted to zero. We'd wager that this is a firmware issue, but it did get annoying having to quickly up the volume every time we scrolled to the next option.

Power-wise, Web browsing sucked the life force from the battery with alarming speed, but moderate usage saw the Z800i lasting for around three days between charges.

Beyond superficial complaints about this model looking a little too Back to the Future-esque, it's difficult to fault the Z800i. If you're considering a foray into the world of 3G, this phone, with its solid multimedia offerings and easily navigable menus, would be a very rewarding choice.

Sony Ericsson Z800i
Company: Sony Ericsson
Price: AU$685
Phone: 1300 650 050


Form Factor Folder (flip)
Antenna internal
Available Body Colors linear silver, titanium silver
Integrated Components Digital camera, digital player
Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Software Platforms Supported Java
Type cellular phone
Integrated Components digital camera, Digital player
Band WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 900/1800/1900
Mobile Broadband Generation 3G
Phone Form Factor folder (flip)
Service Provider not specified
Phone Features
Polyphonic Ringer Yes
Voice Dialing Yes
Phone Functions Speakerphone, voice control, call timer, conference call, voice dialing, vibrating alert
Additional Features Intelligent typing (T9), picture editor, closed user groups, photo album, picture phonebook, MPEG4 video playback, video clip recording, melody composer
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services SMS, EMS, MMS
WAP Protocol Supported WAP 2.0
Downloadable Content audio files, Business cards, Themes, Video files, Wallpapers, Ring tones, Games
Mobile Services Video Call
Supported Email Protocols SMTP, POP3
Communication Features Internet browser
Data Transmission GPRS
Wireless Interface Bluetooth, Infrared (IrDA)
Display Resolution 176 x 220 pixels
Color Depth 18-bit (262000 Colors)
Color Support color
Features wallpaper, Screensaver, Backlit
Display (2nd)
Display Resolution 101 x 80 pixels
Color Support color
Personal Information Management calculator
Alarm Clock Yes
Supported Flash Memory Cards Memory Stick Duo
User Memory 6 MB
Security Features
Phone Lock Yes
SIM Card Lock Yes
Run Time Details Talk - up to 600 min
Standby - up to 240 hrs
Run Time Details Talk - up to 600 min
Standby - up to 240 hrs
Brand Sony Ericsson
Product Line Sony Ericsson
Model Z800i
Packaged Quantity 1
Phone Functions speakerphone
Additional Features MPEG4 video playback, Photo album, Picture editor, Melody composer, Closed user groups, Video clip recording, Intelligent typing (T9)
Power Adapter
Type power adapter
Flash Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards Memory Stick Duo
User Memory 6 MB
Optical Sensor
Sensor Resolution 1.3 pixels