Christmas Buyers' Guide: Mobile Phones

You can’t buy their love, but you can buy them a phone. The problem is, which phone? With all the different price plans and operators to choose from, we know that talk is definitely cheap. So you can afford to chitchat but you don’t want to waste money on a handset that’s not for you. Or worse, waste money buying someone else a handset they won’t use. . . Here’s the lowdown on what phones we think you should be looking at this Christmas.

The Sony Ericsson K810i

How does it look?

The K810i is a classy-looking, light (108g) and fairly small (106 x 48 x 17 mm) phone. The buttons are small but quite far apart. This is handy as it means you’re not going to run into any trouble pressing the tiny button 1 when you meant to press tiny button 2. While the handset is aesthetically pleasing, it’s not a feminine looking phone, especially when you look at all the pink and purple inventions currently for sale.

Sony ericsson sidesony ericsson

What does it do?

The K810i has got all the usual bits and pieces you’d expect to see on a handset in its price range. Bluetooth, 3G, Email, a 3.2 MP camera, USB mass storage, a media player as well as a few extra bits that we love.

TrackID is a nifty little application, which you can use to identify whatever song happens to be playing in the background or on the radio. It takes a sample of the music you’re lisening to and then it scuttles off to the web to find the album, track and artist. Our managing editor was particularly impressed by that.

Sony Ericsson has paid particular attention to the phone’s camera. Its 3.2 megapixel camera might not be top of the range but it’s the closest you’ll get for the price you’re paying. It uses cyber-shot technology (of course) and has various different things that make your camera-phone experience a little more pleasant. It’s got a handy little feature that eliminates blur whereever possible and the Photo Fix application helps you fix any further problems you have with images such as brightness or contrast. One of the cuter features we found was the change in key functions when you activate the camera. The 1, 4, 7, and asterisk keys give you direct access to camera functions. These functions (picture quality, macro mode on/off, timer and flash) appear as backlit icons next to the buttons meaning you don’t need to remember what function each button changes to.

It’s got a standby time of 400 hours and a talktime of 10 but we all know that’s going to vary depending how much you use your handset. The one thing to remember with this phone is, as frequently happens, you really can’t bank on the battery life being wonderful. If you’re using it as a media-player for a two hour commute twice a day that’s going to eat up your battery like there’s no tomorrow.

Who’s it for?

The K810i is definitely a snap-happy phone. This is the kind of phone suited to someone who wants to document their day to day experiences without carrying around a heavy or expensive piece of kit. It’s got a built in Xenon flash, which comes in handy for taking photos inside or when it’s dark. It’s also great for someone who loves gadgets and likes to show off to their friends. It’s got that initial wow factor because it’s so very pretty to look at, but it’s also got a whole ream of little things that you’re going to discover as time goes on. Definitely something that’ll keep you busy Christmas day.

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