Sony Ericsson K750i
Sony Ericsson's new K750i is a triple threat: it's a multimedia powerhouse, it takes amazing pictures, and it boasts top-notch wireless connectivity. The compact candy bar-style cell phone not only has an impressive MP3 and video player as well as an FM radio, it also packs in a 2-megapixel camera (only the second we've seen in the United States), fully enabled Bluetooth, an infrared port, a 64MB Memory Stick Duo card, slick animated menus, and excellent personalization options. Were it not for the Sony Ericsson's hard-to-use keypad, we wouldn't hesitate to give the K750i our Editors' Choice award. This unlocked GSM cell phone comes with a steep $630 price tag, but the cost is bound to fall once a U.S. carrier puts the K750i in its lineup. The silver-and-black, candy bar-style Sony Ericsson K750i bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, the , although its edges are a little boxier, and it's slightly thinner and lighter (3.9 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches and 3.5 ounces). While the cell phone still feels a tad heavy for its size, the K750i fits easily in a purse or jeans pocket.
The Sony Ericsson K750i's gorgeous display measures nearly 2 inches diagonally, packing in 176x220 pixels and a whopping 262,000 colors, easily beating the K700i's 65,000-color screen. Images looked sharp and drenched with color, boasting plenty of detail. The lively animated menus will seem familiar to owners of the K700i, although we're happy to report that the various menu screens are much less sluggish this time around. We had only a few complaints: it's tough to read the TFT screen in direct sunlight (nothing unusual there), and the sleek display is easy to smudge.
And now for our biggest gripe about the Sony Ericsson K750i: the keypad. While the blue-backlit keys look cool, their small size and angled design (the top of each key juts out ever so slightly, like a shim) played havoc with our fingers, making it hard to find--or even press--the right key. We also had a tough time with the stubby, wiggly navigation joystick, and we missed dedicated Talk/End keys; you have to use the soft keys instead. Considering the phone's overall quality, this fingertip-defying keypad comes as a rude, unwelcome surprise. On the other hand, there are dedicated Clear and Back keys.
The rest of the K750i's controls are satisfactory, including a volume rocker on the upper-right edge of the phone, a power button up top, and a play/pause button on the left edge for one-click access to your music (see). There's also a dedicated backlit shutter release for the camera just below the volume rocker, as well as a hard-to-open rubber flap covering the Memory Stick slot on the opposite edge. Missing from the mix, however, is a dedicated speakerphone control.
Flip the phone over and you'll find the camera lens cover and the jumbo flash, along with some embossed emblems and beveled features that make the phone look like an Instamatic from the back. Behind the sliding lens cover is the 4.8mm lens and a small convex mirror for self-portraits; sliding the cover open switches the phone to camera mode--a nice touch.Talk about everything but the kitchen sink--Sony Ericsson loads the K750i with just about every feature under the sun; indeed, we're hard-pressed to think of any significant omissions. Let's start with the basics, such as a 510-entry phone book with room for multiple entries; a calendar with month and week views; photo caller ID; a vibrate mode; voice memos and commands; 30-odd polyphonic ring tones, including a handful of MP3 tones; wireless Web and e-mail, complete with POP and IMAP access; a speakerphone that you can activate only once you're on a call; 34MB of shared RAM; and a Memory Stick Duo slot (a 64MB Memory Stick is included). There's even a light control that turns on the LED flash for a minute or indefinitely--perfect for finding your keys in the dark.
The Sony Ericsson K750i's wireless connectivity options are top notch, including an infrared port and fully enabled Bluetooth. After dealing with phones and carriers that disable all but the most basic Bluetooth functions, it's a pleasure to see a handset that lets you send and transfer photos, videos, and MP3s, as well as lets you sync contacts and calendar events; the phone was also browsable from our Windows PC and our Mac. Even better, the cell phone comes with a trio of remote-control apps that let you take control of a Bluetooth-enabled system; using the keypad and the joystick, we were able to move our PowerBook's cursor, make left and right clicks, enter carriage returns and tabs, and even click the Escape key and some function buttons. It's a cool feature, one that's guaranteed to raise the hackles of paranoid IT technicians.