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Sony Ericsson V630i review: Sony Ericsson V630i

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The Good Compact, lightweight 3G handset. 256MB M2 card provided. Easy-to-use interface. Flight mode.

The Bad Average quality still photos and video. Suffers from occasional connection lock-ups. Design could win more points in the style department.

The Bottom Line The Vodafone-exclusive V630i is a good all-round 3G handset with a decent range of features that will appeal to a broad-range of users. It is a nice -- but forgettable -- handset that doesn't really offer anything that hasn't been seen before.

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7.6 Overall

Review Sections

Design
Sony Ericsson's V630i is a 3G phone exclusive to Vodafone. Only available in black, the V630i won't win any style awards, though we wouldn't call it an ugly duckling either. We think it's a clean, easy to use handset that will appeal to a broad-range of users.

Weighing in at 91 grams it just scrapes in under the K610i's weight. It's a reasonably compact, pocket-friendly handset, too, with dimensions of 102 by 46 by 17 millimetres.

The V630i looks a lot like the K610. The size, layout and overall look of the phone mirrors its sibling, with the black-and-charcoal finish differentiating it from the K610i's white, silver and red casing.

The phone sports a bright, 176 by 220 pixel screen that supports up to 256K colours. It sits above the menu buttons which glow orange when pressed. The side-mounted volume rocker and music button, and rear speaker also accent the phone in orange.

Features
The V630i has plenty of features, though most are pretty standard in any 3G phone today.

A 2-megapixel camera is included, which is accessed via the side-mounted camera button which flips the screen on it's side for a landscape view, to take photos. The panorama function was a good addition, allowing you to merge three photos taken side-by-side into one panoramic photo. Photos can be sent via MMS, Bluetooth or, alternatively, the included mobile blogger application allows you to upload photos to a Blogger.com account.

QuadraPop and WPT Tennis are pre-installed games, as well as several demos, including Tetris, Pac-Man, Ridge Racer and Extreme Air Snowboarding.

On the connectivity side of things, the V630i has Bluetooth, GPRS, and tri-band support. The USB mass storage feature lets you drag-and-drop files straight from your PC. E-mail support is also included.

The NetFront browser is built-in for Web access, which works fine on Vodafone Live but doesn't suit regular sized Web pages that aren't designed for mobile screens. Any Web page with too much content will become a burden to scroll through. A RSS reader lets you keep up-to-date with your favourite RSS feeds.

In addition to being a phone, Sony Ericsson is pushing the V630i as a music device. As such, an integrated MP3 player is included as well as a stereo headset. The main menu button and left-and-right navigational buttons double as play/stop and forward and back buttons respectively, when playing tracks. As such they are marked with corresponding icons.

Performance
The camera does a reasonable job when adequate light is available. Photos taken in bright lighting conditions looked fine, but picture quality suffered in low light, resulting in grainy photos. Surprisingly no flash -- LED or otherwise -- is provided. A Xenon flash like the K800i would have been welcome addition.

Sound quality was decent during calls, but was a bit hard to hear in loud places, even at maximum volume. The on-board loudspeaker works well when you need your hands free (or when playing music) though, as expected, it sounds a bit tinny.

On a few occasions, connection errors were experienced when trying to make an outgoing call, where the phone thought we were holding down a button, requiring a restart to fix the problem. As the V630i has a music-theme to it, a stereo headset is provided which is comfortable and adequate for music playback and making calls.

Our phone came with generous 256MB Sony Memory Stick Micro (M2) which, according to Sony Ericsson, can hold up to 230 songs. However, you're only able to fit around 60-70 average length songs on the card. It was fine for our use, though music fans may want to upgrade to a larger size (maximum support is 4GB, but that capacity is not yet available in Australia).

The menu worked well and was pretty intuitive. It was responsive and wasn't sluggish like some previous Sony Ericsson handsets.

The V630i doesn't have any particular features that standout. At $449, it's a general all-round phone that should suit most users' needs.

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