While all the attention tends to go to the high-end handsets -- with a plethora of features that are rarely used -- it's worth having a look lower down the chain for hidden gems. A potential diamond in the rough is the Sony Ericsson K660i. It might not be laden with glamorous features, but its simplicity could just be what you're looking for.
It's currently available from 3, for free on a monthly contract starting at £15 a month.
There's something very attractive about keeping things simple that the K660i exemplifies. Rather than opt for flashy design gimmicks, the K660i is understated, with a straightforward candybar layout that's easy to understand. The navigation keys and keypad are easy to press and its slim design ensures it'll slip into most pockets.
A silver frame, similar to the iPhone's, adds a touch of quality, but if you're looking for a large touchscreen you should go elsewhere, because the K660i's is modestly sized and not touch-sensitive. An interesting addition to the keypad is a set of shortcut keys, which give you quick access to certain browser features -- we'll discuss these later on.
The K660i's simple design is reflected internally with a straightforward interface that's responsive and easy to use. It's not a super-phone, but the K660i does have some stand-out features, including HSDPA (3.5G), which allows you to browse the Web at high speeds. Its browser allows you to view full Web pages.
The keypad shortcut keys we mentioned earlier light up when you're using the browser, allowing you to quickly search Google, add a bookmark, visit the Sony Ericsson fun and downloads site and zoom in and out of a page, similar to Opera Mini. The browser works fine, but we prefer Opera Mini, which the K660i supports.
From the K660i's start page, you can access a slick-looking menu -- similar to the PSP's -- that gives you access to K660i's main media features. At the top of the list is a 2-megapixel camera that takes acceptable pictures when you're out and about during the day. Don't expect great shots in low light, though, because there's no built-in flash or photo light.
There's also a front-facing camera for video calls, should you feel the need to chat to your mates face-to-face.
Next on the media-centric menu is an MP3 player. It's pretty comprehensive and offers plenty of options, including sorting tracks into playlists and the ability to adjust the equaliser. You have to use the provided headphones unfortunately, as there's no built-in 3.5mm headphone jack, but an adaptor is available, at added cost.
Battery life lasted for over two days with moderate use before we had to recharge it. Unless you use the Web browser over HSDPA and listen to lots of music, you should notice that the battery lasts some time. Make sure you turn 3G off if you're not going to use it to browse the Web or make video calls, as it will drain the battery.
The Sony Ericsson K660i definitely isn't one of Sony Ericsson's most advanced handsets, but similar to the Nokia 6300, it's an easy-to-use phone that does the basics very well. If you're not after all the fancy frills, it's definitely worth a look.
Edited by Nick Hide