The K850i is the latest in the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot camera phone lineage, succeeding the and . It is the first 5-megapixel model we've seen from Sony Ericsson, but its release trails almost a year behind its competition from the Nokia camp, the N95.
Cyber-shot camera phones have so far tended to be on the bulky side, and the K850i is no exception. Measuring 102mm by 48mm by 17mm, it is slightly cumbersome to put in your pocket, but it's no thicker than most compact cameras. It's available in two slightly different colour schemes, black with blue or black with green accents.
Sony Ericsson gives the K850i a dual-face design; the front looks like a phone and the back looks like a camera. The protruding lens cover from previous models is thankfully gone, meaning you can slide the K850i into your pocket without accidentally firing up the camera. On the side of the phone (or the top if you're holding it like a camera) are similar controls to those found on standalone Sony Cyber-shot cameras, with a dedicated power button and a switch for changing into video or still capture mode or to playback mode.
The battery, SIM card slot and microSD card slot are all behind a flip-down panel at the bottom. All the bits and bobs are spring-loaded so you don't have to worry about them falling out when you open the case.
While we like that Sony Ericsson has replaced the teeny joystick from previous models, which had a tendency to brake over time, it has been replaced with a rather odd square-navigation key that wraps around the number keys two and five (usually with a navigation pad there's a selection key for pressing OK in the middle). We still haven't gotten used to it while texting even after two weeks of using the phone.
Soft-keys under the screen have been replaced with touch-sensitive controls, which take a while to get used to. Our biggest gripe with the touch-keys is that they are a little too close to the tactile keys underneath them. After hitting, say, back instead of delete one too many times and losing your text message, it can get annoying.