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Sony Ericsson K750i review: Sony Ericsson K750i

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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.

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