Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot review:

Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot

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Typical Price: £180.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Elegant design; straightforward user interface; solid lens cover; good support for podcasts and news feeds; built-in Google Maps.

The Bad No proper flash; tightly spaced, small keys; no standard headphone jack or adaptor; requires a memory card to be bought separately.

The Bottom Line The Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot represents a good antidote to the feature bloat that's seen the size of handsets increase and battery life fall. The photo quality doesn't live up to the Cyber-shot name, but the C510's good selection of features makes it a worthwhile handset -- as long as you have small fingers

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

The C510 is not exactly the martini-sipping, lady-loving 007 of the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot range, but it's a solid 006. While it's not particularly flashy, you could take it to the ambassador's party without being embarrassed, and it's got your back when you need it, with a good range of features.

It's Sony Ericsson's first phone with face-detection technology, but the C510 isn't about innovation. The C510 is a good all-round camera phone that aims to bring Cyber-shot picture quality to the masses.

SIM-free it'll cost you about £180, but you should be able to pick it up for free on a contract soon.

Flash-free snaps
The C510 is principally a camera phone. But it's a basic one, and the features reflect that. It's got a 3.2-megapixel camera, which peeps out elegantly from behind a slider with a solid mechanism that won't open in your pocket.

The camera's face-recognition software detected our faces just fine, despite our beards and glasses. The smile-detection mode, which doesn't take a picture until the subject smiles, grabbed our grins perfectly too.

But there's no xenon flash, just an LED photo light, so the camera struggles in low light. The shutter speed is decent, but not mind-blowing: we found a lag of about 2 seconds between pressing the shutter and taking the picture. But, because of the delay and lack of a proper flash, we needed good light and a steady hand to get decent results.

In bright light, the C510 takes photos with good colour reproduction, but they're slightly noisy and soft. In low light, even with the LED, we think the noise levels are too high.

The Web-feeds feature makes it easy to grab RSS feeds and podcasts, and the ticker feature displays new items gracefully

The camera interface is easy to use. The menu and shortcut keys make switching settings trouble-free. It's also simple to switch from video to still photos with the navigation key.

Easy to use
In fact, we were impressed with the C510's user interface throughout. Features were clearly labelled and we were never left guessing as to what a selection would do. Messages were in plain English and perfectly comprehensible, even for non-geeks. For example, when we tried to send an empty text message, the C510 warned us and gave the following options: 'continue writing', 'don't send' and 'send anyway'.

Unfortunately, the user interface of the PC-syncing software isn't anyway near as easy to use. The phone synchronises easily and quickly, but the media manager is horrendous, as is the case with most manufacturers' applications. It supports drag and drop, but its greyish interface is vague and it's unclear what media-file types it supports. Our attempt to load WAV files failed, but we received no message to let us know why. The C510 supports transferring multimedia files with other applications, however.

Entertaining features
The C510 isn't a smart phone by any stretch of the imagination, but Sony Ericsson has packed in a good selection of features. Although it doesn't have GPS, it comes with Google Maps installed, and uses nearby mobile-phone masts to triangulate your position. We found it to be accurate enough -- within a couple of streets, at least in central London.

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