The Sony Ericsson C902 Cyber-shot phone

Thursday, 28 August, 2008

Sony Ericsson C902 Cyber-shot phoneThe crew at Sony Ericsson recently gave me one of their newest mobile phones, the C902 Cyber-shot to call my own for a couple of months.

Given my love of taking photos I’ve been waiting for a chance to try out the phone’s five mega-pixel camera up at the nearby UNSW campus (where I have a stack of shots from my digital camera to base comparisons on), but to date Sydney’s topsy-turvy weather has thwarted me.

August is statistically Sydney’s driest month, but a clear sunny day, ideal for the outdoor shots I want, continues to elude me whenever I plan to be on the uni campus. Never mind, maybe next week.

Back to the C902. Mobile phones have continued to evolve far beyond being a simple telephone, and the C902 is the latest in this line of development. I have more than the means to simply phone or text home to say I’m running late, sitting comfortably and unobtrusively, in my shirt pocket.

I can send and receive email. Surf the net (reminding me that I need to create a dedicated mobile device stylesheet for disassociated), participate in conference calls, organise my calender and tasks (I’ve long since dispensed with a paper diary), film and view video clips, listen to the radio or MP3s, and of course take photos.

It’s certainly a stylish piece of equipment, and the black finish complete with the silver-gray trim, makes for a uber-appealing tool that permits me to take off into the wide blue yonder for days at a time without having to worry about being out of the loop.

Anyway a few observations to date:

Battery life
So far I have no qualms with the C902 battery. Mobile phone battery life is truly a case of “your mileage may vary” with any phone though. Some weeks my usage has been higher than others, and I’ve needed to recharge the battery after three days.

Another week passed before a recharge was required, with only a few short calls, but the phone on stand-by the whole time.

I’ve found reception to be very clear, and even if I’m walking alongside a busy road, or in an area where reception is not so strong, I can still hear a caller’s voice quite clearly.

Mind you I haven’t used the phone away from inner Sydney yet, so can’t comment on reception in rural, or more remote, areas.

The keypad is rather compact, and sometimes I press the wrong key. My current phone is a Motorola MOTOKRZR K1 and I find its keypad easier to use. I do have have oversize hands though so this may not be a problem for everyone.

I also appreciate that that “clam shell” type phones do have a little more handset real estate, or room, to allow for slightly wider keypad buttons, as opposed to “candy bar” type phones such as the C902.

Text messaging
Despite my fat fingers text messaging with the C902 is simple and straightforward. I especially like what I call the “multi-choice predictive text function”. The C902 will offer several suggestions as to which word, or part of, you wish to use, as you are typing. This took some getting used to, but now I am finding it quite useful.

Screen Icons
I was a little confused by some of the icons appearing on the phone’s screen display, particularly a U-shaped like red arrow. Was it some sort of warning?

A browse of the phone’s manual failed to turn up a legend, or explanation, of screen icons. I have since deduced however that the icon is a “withheld”, or missed call, indicator.

Another initial puzzle was a “H” icon which was present on some occasions but not others. I noticed it would vanish from the screen if I stepped into a lift, or was in an underground car park, so I assume it is a “strong signal” indicator.

One little gripe I have is with phone security, or lack of.

While the C902 does feature a keypad lock, this really only guards against accidentally dialing a number while the phone is in your pocket or bag. In comparison the MOTOKRZR K1 has a PIN activated phone lock, meaning I can’t do anything with the phone until I tap in a PIN code.

It’s an extra layer of security I appreciate. If the C902 does have such a phone lock, its activation eludes me.

Computer synchronisation
I was quickly and easily able to synchronise the phone to my laptop by way of the C902’s “PC Suite” software, which is included on the DVD that comes with the phone.

I can transfer photos and videos from the phone to my local drive, manage my contacts/phone book, appointments, and task lists, and best of all, send SMS text messages via the computer keyboard, something I appreciate no matter how big a phone’s keypad is.

Summary to date
Aside from the points I make about understanding screen icons and security, I am enjoying using this phone.

A “quick reference” page in the operating manual addressing points such as screen icons and phone security would be useful, as I consider these primary to the phone’s use, as opposed to, say, the camera, which strikes me as being a secondary function, and something I would expect to have to read more about before using.

Further reading and reviews
A few other Australian bloggers are also trying out the phone, Jen, Ben Barren, Neerav Bhatt, and Lee, so between the five of us you’ll end up pretty clued-up on the C902.

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  • Yes, I am trying out the phone but I’m not a Sydneysider. I’m all the way over in Adelaide. Good review and I agree with most of it. I took a heap of photos the other day which I want to upload this weekend. I’m loving the camera component.

    jen at 7:06 pm on Thursday, 28 August, 2008
  • D’oh! Sorry about that Jen… re-worded now. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out the camera. :)

    John Lampard at 10:01 pm on Thursday, 28 August, 2008
  • nice review John, I agree with most of the points

    I’ve typed up most of my notes about the c902 and should publish my review within a week or so, just waiting for Rory to get back to me with some technical details

    neerav at 12:07 pm on Friday, 29 August, 2008
  • Cheers Neerav, I look forward to seeing your write-up.

    John Lampard at 8:49 pm on Friday, 29 August, 2008
  • i thought the phone was a load of rubbish i sent it back

    craig at 5:39 am on Monday, 1 September, 2008
  • What exactly didn’t you like about the phone Craig?

    John Lampard at 10:06 am on Monday, 1 September, 2008
  • Great review, John. I too am hoping September’s spring time presents some better photo opps than the coldest August in 64 years.

    Your feedback on the quick reference page is most useful and we’ll relay this to HQ. Also appreciate your thoughts on the missed call and high reception icons, as well as the “multi-choice predictive text function” or T9 Text input. Useful, isn’t it?

    Look forward to seeing the shots.

    Rory at 3:23 pm on Monday, 1 September, 2008
  • Coldest August in 64 years? I thought it was a bit chilly! :)

    Documentation of the screen symbols would be useful… it could be they are common to all Sony Ericsson phones, and while regular users may be familiar with them, new users such as myself could be confused until they work out what they mean.

    John Lampard at 11:42 pm on Monday, 1 September, 2008
  • The “H” is for HDSPA, sometimes called “turbo-3G”

    petter at 12:03 am on Tuesday, 2 September, 2008
  • Thank you. HDSPA which would be High-Speed Downlink Packet Access.

    John Lampard at 2:01 pm on Tuesday, 2 September, 2008
  • Nice review and nice blog too.

    Pit at 5:55 pm on Thursday, 18 September, 2008
  • Thank you Pit :)

    John Lampard at 3:08 pm on Friday, 19 September, 2008
  • Hi there,

    Nice review, I got mine yesterday, but am also struggling to find documentation on the screen icons.

    I have an icon next to the signal strength meter and 3g icons that looks like I have redirects on or something – iut looks like a u shaped arrow, but cannot see where it is in the manuals.

    I don’t have any diverts active, so this one has me a little perplexed.

    Other than getting used to the keys (I had the K800i before) I am happy with the phone, it is small in dimensions and feels quite solid. I will take the camera and stuff for a spin over the weekend.

    Bronson at 7:35 pm on Tuesday, 23 September, 2008
  • Is the U shaped icon red? If so it’s probably the withheld, or missed call indicator.

    John Lampard at 6:15 am on Wednesday, 24 September, 2008
  • Just got this phone yesterday, and have also been wanting a guide for the screen icons that are displayed – as you say, the manual doesn’t help out here.
    Googling led me to your page and I now know what that cheeky little H indicates – thanks to you and other commenters :)

    Bri at 12:05 pm on Thursday, 25 September, 2008
  • I have a Sony Ericsson K850i – it’s great, I love SE phones

    Bryce at 6:03 pm on Tuesday, 7 October, 2008
  • Actually this is my first SE. My bro had one back in ’96 tho… forget the model name, but it was the smallest mobi around at the time, and the phone to have :)

    John Lampard at 10:02 pm on Tuesday, 7 October, 2008
  • […] even more information about the phone – read these reviews from Neerav, John Lampard, Lee, Ben and […]