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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 Features). 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.
The Sony Ericcson K750i's 2-megapixel camera is hands-down the best we've seen in a phone, surpassing the 2-megapixel version in Samsung's new MM-A800. With resolutions ranging from the thumbnail-size 160x120 to a whopping 1,632x1,224 pixels, the K750i's camera boasts autofocus and macro focus for close-ups; a night mode; an 8-second self-timer; color effects such as black and white, negative, and sepia; white-balance settings; a 4X digital zoom; a time and date stamp; picture frames (24 total, all of which look pretty goofy and cartoonish); a rapid-fire burst mode; and a panorama mode that lets you line up a succession of shots for extrawide vistas. Taken together, this impressive slate of features comes as close to that of a standalone camera as we've seen in a phone, as does the camera's eye-popping picture quality (see Performance). Ready to shoot some video? The video recorder includes almost all the same features as the camera, and you can shoot videos of any length, RAM permitting, although the low-quality 3GP file format makes for jittery, blocky movie clips.
You can groove to MP3s and watch videos with the K750i's versatile media player, which lets you create playlists and even has an equalizer, complete with presets for bass, MegaBass, voice and treble boost, and a user-defined mode. The player's interface provides scrolling song info and a progress bar showing time elapsed. You can shuffle and repeat your music or minimize the player to listen to tunes while using the handset's other features. If you're in an FM mood, the Sony Ericcson's FM tuner automatically scans and programs up to 20 presets; it even grabs Radio Data System info from stations that digitally broadcast their names and call letters.
Our test cell phone shipped with three games: Aero Mission 3D, a fun first-person shooter in the Top Gun tradition; PuzzleSlider, which creates puzzles from snapshots in the phone's memory; and Super Real Tennis, an impressive first-person tennis game. There's also MusicDJ, which lets you create your own ring tones; VideoDJ, for creating MMS-type messages from your video clips; and PhotoDJ, a rudimentary photo editor for your snapshots.
Customization options on the Sony Ericcson K750i are excellent. In addition to the ability to pick your own menu themes, screensavers, start-up screen, and wallpaper, you can also assign specific ring tones and images to your contacts, as well as choose and edit ringer profiles such as meeting, in-car, outdoors, hands-free, home, and office--or you can create your own.We tested the triband (GSM 900/1800/1900; GPRS) Sony Ericsson K750i world phone in New York City and had no trouble with our calls; we heard our pals fine, and they said we sounded loud and clear. We also tried the cell phone in our interference-heavy living room with wireless phones, a microwave, a big CRT TV, and a wireless network clogging the airwaves and didn't detect any loss in call quality.
The snapshots we took with the Sony Ericsson K750i looked stunning for a camera phone. In fact, they're the first photos we've taken with a handset that actually measure up to those taken with a standalone digital camera, albeit a cheap one. Much of the softness we normally associate with camera phone photos was gone, and we saw only minimal lens distortion around the edges of our images. Compared to the impressive photos we snapped with the 2-megapixel Samsung MM-A800, the Sony Ericsson's looked even sharper, richer, and more detailed. In low-light conditions, however, the digital noise we normally see in camera phone pictures crept back into our photos.
Sony Ericsson promises 9 hours of talk time and more than 16 days of standby time from the K750i. That seemed a little too optimistic to us, and sure enough, we measured 5.5 hours of talk time in our tests. However, we got a solid 10 days of standby time.