Sony Ericsson C905 is the first mobile phone to feature an 8 Megapixel camera, and the slider should be remembered even if only for that. Anyway, Sony Ericsson has fierce rivals such as Samsung and LG, who have also announced some 8 Megapixel camera phones, including Samsung INNOV8 and LG KC910. Unfortunately, C905 was released on the market one month after INNOV8, so its sales dropped a little bit than it was first expected. Nevertheless, time doesn't mean too much in the eyes of those that are looking for a good camera phone. If you are one of these people, then Sony Ericsson C905 will definitely not disappoint you. The solution is added to the Cyber-shot series portfolio, as the new high standard for future camera phones.
Announced in June 2008, Sony Ericsson C905 was made available on the market in October, the same year. As a high-end device, C905 can be acquired for about 520 US dollars, free of contract. Users can choose one of the four available colors, namely Night Black, Ice Silver, Copper Gold, or Tender Rose.
At a first glance, Sony Ericsson looks much like LG's KC910, but a little bit bulkier. It features the same rounded top edge, just like Renoir's, but the resemblance stops here, as SE's slider doesn't have such a large touch screen display. Unfortunately, C905 is no sleek phone, measuring 104 x 49mm and 18mm in thickness (19.5mm with the camera module). Still, the unusual slider form factor makes C905 stand out from the rest of the Cyber-shot series of handsets. The phone is all covered in plastic, but that doesn't give it the impression of cheap at all. Both left and right sides are framed by a metallic stripe.
The rather small 2.4-inch display occupies 2/3 of the front part. You'll notice that above the screen, on both sides of the in-call speaker, there are two weird keys that are functional when the camera is used. They can also be used when the camera interface is closed to open up the image gallery (right key) or simply open the last image (the left key). There's also an ambient light sensor in the middle of the left button and in-call speaker.
Below the screen, there are six buttons, symmetrically arranged on both sides of the big D-pad. These are 2 soft keys, the Accept and the Reject call ones, the Shortcut and the C (Delete) keys.
On the bottom, one can notice the speakerphone and a small lanyard eyelet. The left side of the phone features the proprietary Fast port and an M2 slot for the memory card, which is covered by a plastic stripe. The entire right side is full of camera-dedicated keys. Starting from the top, these are as follows: the Dual volume keys, which can also be used to zoom in/out, the Gallery one, the Camera Mode key (changes between camera and video modes), and the Shutter one. When slid up, a flat 4-row keypad is revealed, separated by thin metallic stripes. The buttons are responsive and generous in size.
The backlighting is perfectly even and strong enough, so users can text even in darker areas. The back hood of the phone is also made of plastic, except for the active lens cover, which seems to be made from a light, brushed metal. Only provided you slide down the lens cover, will you be able to notice the 8 Megapixel camera, a self-portrait mirror, a Xenon flash, a video microphone and an LED flash. The battery cover seems to be a little bit flimsy, but at least is easy to pull out.
Overall, Sony Ericsson C905 is a good looking device, much different than other Cyber-shot series handset. This is a very welcome change from SE, which has never changed its camera phone series look, no matter how bad was the user feedback.Display and Camera
The 2.4-inch display makes the phone seem under-equipped, especially when compared with other features of the device, which are mostly top-notch. Nevertheless, the display is coated in a mineral glass, which is resistant to scratches. It supports 262K colors and a 240x320 pixel resolution. Contrast and brightness are exceptionally good, as in never before has Sony Ericsson come with such a good screen. Even outdoors, you'll be able to use it with no problems, a trait that has been usually missing in all other Cyber-shot phones. For more in-depth info regarding performance, check out the benchmarks below.
The main attraction of the slider is definitely the incredibly powerful 8.1 Megapixel camera with auto-focus, video light (also available as an assist light for shooting in darker areas), Xenon flash and video recording capabilities. Other cool functions include geotagging (“the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs and videos” – Wikipedia), Face detection, smart contrast, Red-eye reduction, BestPic, Image stabilizer and macro mode.
The interface of the camera is pretty complex, but user-friendly. When the camera interface is active, certain functions of the camera can be quickly accessed from the D-pad: Focus, Exposure, Flash and Self-timer. Also, the two keys above the screen can be used to access Scene and Shoot modes. All these camera control keys are blue lighted when camera interface is active, which makes it easier to identify them. The maximum resolution of the pictures is of 3264 x 2448, while the size varies between 2.3-2.8 MB.
The quality of the pictures is outstanding, as you can see from the samples below. Even the time that it takes to save the pictures is quite short. The noise effect is kept within limits, the contrast is exceptional, the level of detail is excellent, the “purple effect” is missing. In terms of video recording, the device captures movies in the QVGA resolution at 30fps in MPEG4 file format. It records movies with stereo sound, thanks to the extra microphone placed near the camera.
Overall, Sony Ericsson C905 is way above its predecessors in terms of capturing pictures, and will definitely be the perfect choice for those looking for a camera phone. The only thing that I have found missing and should've been embedded is the secondary camera for video-calls. Still, I believe that C905 is one of the best shooters available on the market at the moment. Menu and Software
The specific Sony Ericsson user interface has been embedded into C905 as well, but some updates have been made in terms of device personalization and looks. The same Media center introduced together with the K850i model has also been added to C905, including the auto-rotate feature. There's also support for Flash Lite 2.0, so users can now take advantage of various animated themes, but also of some other Flash-based entertainment utilities. They get to choose from four different themes, each with its own specific abilities.
The main menu layout can be changed in accordance to the theme, or by choosing one of these options: grid, rotating and single icon. Wallpaper, startup screen and screen saver can also be personalized according to the user’s need. Also, there are seven profiles to choose from, more specifically Normal, Meeting, In car, Outdoors, Handsfree, Home, and Office. Besides these, C905 also includes a Flight mode, in case users don't want to use the GSM function of the handset.
There are few productivity tools that can be employed, such as Alarms (limited to 5), Tasks, Notes, Calendar, Timer, Stopwatch, Calculator, Light, AccuWeather, CamPlus, Slideshow Wall, World Clock 3D, PhotoMate, Code memo and a basic File manager. The Internet icon, as the name suggests, gives users access to basic Web browsing. Sony Ericsson C905 features the latest Access NetFront HTML browser 3.4, which seems to open any Webpage, no matter how much elaborated it is.
The Radio only works when the wired earphones are inserted. Location Services is the place where users can find some useful applications: Google Maps and Wayfinder Navigator 7. The Entertainment sub-folder contains a few functions more or less specific to the Walkman series devices, namely TrackID, MusicDJ, PhotoDJ, VideoDJ, Record sound, Remote control and Games (Kasparov Chess, Need for Speed Pro Street and Tennis Multiplay).
The Gallery can be found through the File manager in the folder called Camera Album, or in the Media center, and can also be accessed through the camera interface menu or directly by clicking the small key on the right of the in-call speaker.
The Java emulator works with just about any compatible application, like games or productivity software. Let's not forget the new service available from Sony Ericsson, Play Now, which offers maximum entertainment. Overall, SE's C905 user-interface puts at the individuals’ disposal quite a number of features and high functionality at an excellent price.Communication
Sony Ericsson C905 Cyber-shot is an all-connectivity tool, as it features the HSDPA 3.6Mbps technology, which greatly improves data transfers, but also solutions such as GPRS and EDGE class 10. When benchmarked, the phone has attained outstanding speeds: 826 Kbit/s download and 290 Kbit/s upload in 3G network. EDGE data transfers have been a little bit lower than expected, but have still reached speeds of 167 Kbit/s for download and 67 Kbit/s for upload services.
The handset is also compatible with Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP technology, and features USB 2.0 (no charging) and Wi-Fi connectivity. I have experienced data transfer speeds of up to 121 KB/s when sending files, and of 165 KB/s when receiving them through Bluetooth connectivity, which is way above the average. One useful thing that I have noticed is the fact that the Wi-Fi connectivity can be quickly accessed by clicking the Shortcut key below the screen.
The built-in GPS receiver makes a good addition for those active, young people, who are on the go most of the time. Applications like Google Maps and Wayfinder Navigator 7 will come really in handy with localizations. Unfortunately, I have noticed an annoying latency of the GPS, even when the A-GPS function was activated.
Messaging capabilities have been improved, and now offer a wider range of options. All messages share the same Inbox, except for emails, which have a separate one. You can now manage and categorize them the way you want, or you can simply use the pre-installed categories: Business, Favorites, Follow Up, Fun, Holiday and Important. The email service is fully compatible with the POP3 and SMTP clients.
The quad-band (GSM 850 / 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible handset has a good GSM signal reception. Unfortunately, while the level of clarity is outstanding when talking on the phone, the sound is a little bit lower than I have previously expected. Furthermore, the vibration is somewhat mediocre in intensity.Processor and Memory
The C905 Cyber-shot bar phone features a medium power ARM9 family processor that runs at speeds up to 170 MHz. Again, I believe that C905 has been under-equipped, as the CPU is not powerful enough, so you will notice big lags when browsing the menu. Fortunately, the embedded Java emulator can handle any compatible large-size files (over 300KB), so third party applications can be installed with ease.
The phone comes with a 160MB internal memory, but features a micro M2 memory slot card to expand the storage space up to 8 GB. It has been placed on the left side of the phone, and an M2 card can be inserted without the need of powering off the phone (hot-swappable).
Also, the sales package contains a 2 GB M2 memory card and an M2 USB adapter, which might prove extremely valuable for those traveling a lot. Multimedia
Sony Ericsson has done an excellent job at mixing high-end camera traits with music functions. C905 may be the answer for both music lovers and those looking for the best camera phone. The device offers almost the same quality in terms of music as a Walkman series one.
Equipped with Music Player 3.0, the slider supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, E-AAC+, WAV, WMA, M4A and MIDI file formats, and takes advantage of a great Equalizer that includes settings such as MegaBass and Treble.
Even with the earphones (HPM-62) included, the sound is above average in terms of quality, but it still cannot be compared with that delivered by handset any of the Walkman series. The FM radio supports RDS and can memorize up to 20 stations, while both the radio and the music player can be run in the background. Sony Ericsson C905 is definitely one of the best solutions for both: good pictures and good music.Battery
Sony Ericsson C905 features a 930 mAh Li-Polymer battery, which has an official lifetime of approximately 380 hours in standby mode and 9 hours in talk-time mode. I have managed to reah a duration of up to 5 days of use. The overall talking time has been of 1 hour and 30 minutes and about 15 minutes in the case of data transfers. The music playback time is of nearly 15 hours with the display in standby mode. Overall, this is a high-quality battery of small dimensions that barely adds to the weight of the phone.Impressions
For the first time, I have been really impressed by a Sony Ericsson mobile phone, starting with its design and features. Thanks to the new form factor imprinted, C905 is not just another Cyber-shot phone, but one of the best of this series. I'm pretty sure that this is the best camera handset manufactured by Sony Ericsson, but that won't last as the company has just announced the world's first 12.1 Megapixel camera.The Good
Obviously, the strong point of the phone is the 8.1 Megapixel camera, but also the quality of the pictures taken. Together with the HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivities, the GPS and excellent display turn the C905 into the flagship of the Cyber-shot series.The Bad
There are a couple of things that should be improved in the future Cyber-shot phones, and those include the low processor, which cannot handle the graphical UI as it should. Also, the fact that you get such a small display might be frustrating for those that want to watch movies or browse the Internet. Other drawbacks of the phone comprise the lack of a secondary camera or a document viewer.Sales package
Sony Ericsson C905 Handset;
2GB M2 Card;
930 mAh Li-Polymer Battery;
M2 USB adapter.