Sony Ericsson K800i Review

Sony Ericsson K800i

The K800i has been around for a while so here’s what are the worst and best bits of this model.

The K800i was Sony Ericsson’s halo model when it arrive in early 2006 about the same time as Nokia released the 6233. Although the price difference was some $300 these 2 models are clearly direct competitors. This phone was heavily promoted because it was the first with a fully featured 3.2MP camera and that it claimed top spec functionality.

We believe that it was this handset that finally make people take notice of the brand when it was featured in the James Bond movie – Casino Royale. Before that Sony Ericsson was just another mobile phone maker. Certainly if you chart the released by SE prior to the k800i you’ll probably agree. Pity that SE didn’t take advantage of the momentum and they have fallen behind in technology stake compared to the market leader Nokia.

Construction wise it’s made very well, panels aligning well. Unfortunately it has a joystick navigation instead of buttons which meant it didn’t well in heavy use and prone to damage. The camera cover on the back, although sturdy made it an awkward phone to hold. The keypad is on the small side due to the large frame around the screen. It is not helped by the need to press keys quite hard. The camera cover on the back is really high quality stuff but makes it hard to hold the phone.

Other ergonomic issues include the number and location of button along the side and even top of the phone. If you don’t believe us try using it as an alarm clock. Which brings up another issue. It’s flight mode is crippling – you’d expect the alarm clock to work regardless of mode – it doesn’t!

The phone’s operating system speed is excellent. Very fast to navigate to and activate its various functions. (Not taking the time it takes for the animated icons to complete their show into account – If we did it wouldn’t be as fast.) It’s key feature of the top spec digital camera was one of the best at the time, it does basically everything a normal but average digital camera can do. Pictures the camera produced were good but still not equivalent of a proper digital camera however excellent for a mobile phone. Speed of capture is also good when auto focus is turned off.

Other surprises include the slowness of internet downloads. It took more time to load pages than all other 3G capable phones we tested. The fastest 3G phone are the LG models with or without HSDPA. We think its problem with the cache settings.

As for network reception, the transceiver is on par with all other phones we’ve had to test except for the basic models naturally. In our fringe coverage area it pulls in a 3G signal most of the time. Call quality is very good too.

In terms of customization Sony Ericsson still has to play catch up with Nokia. The majority want to customise all the buttons and their functions – the K800i simply doesn’t do it. For example SWF or flash wallpapers will not work on the phone. It only has one feature that we could call class leading, that being the ability to turn on or off Bluetooth via the selection of a profile.

Sure you can find lots of themes for it over the Internet but it doesn’t solve the inability to change the button functionality. Speaking of which, like most Sony Ericsson modesl it comes with lots of software to play with including games and music ‘DJ’ software.

Battery life on a 3G network is a little disappointing. With little use only 3 days, with heavy use, during game testing 2-3 hours. Mind you back at it’s release in 2006 it was quite acceptable.


Now that the K800i is the ‘standard’ phone for most operators it becomes a bench mark we use around here too! However it lacks customization features of other phones, it’s speaker is average and distorts at high volume. Ergonomics are questionable but speed is excellent. Also propriety connectors are old school.  Get over it SE and give us new micro USB standard. Otherwise it is a lovely phone.

End Notes

It’s hard not to compare the K800i with the Nokia 6233 because they are very similar in size and functionality. Although cheaper the 6233 has everything the K800i has, except for the forward facing camera and a 3.2 MP main camera. That said the K800i does look physically better than the 6233! The Sony Ericsson SMS system is actually better than the Nokia because of the on-screen notification system.

If you can live without a mega pixel camera the Nokia 6233 betters the K800i by being the best sounding, stereo speaker mobile phone to date and virtually complete customization features. It also has less creaking panels.

Manufacturer : Sony Ericsson
Model : K800i
Network : Tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz)
3G UTMS 2100 MHz (Aust only)
384kbps download speed
Design : Standard Phone
L105 x W47 x D22 mm
Weight 115 grams
Display/s : 24-bit colour TFT – 240 x 320 pixels
Camera : Single 3.2MP Camera auto-focus with Xenon Flash and 640×480 forward facing
Video capable MP4, WMV, 3GP
Connectivity : Bluetooth, Infrared, USB
Memory : 6 MB internal memory
MicroSD memory Hot Swap
Ring tones : Video, ACC, MP4, MP3, MIDI (64), WAV, Vibration, AMR
Features : SMS, MMS, IM, EMAIL
Modem for PC
Web browser (WAP 2.0 – xHTML)
Speaker Phone/Hands free
Media player
FM Radio
Speed : Vs Nokia 6230
Navigation 10/10
Battery Life : 900mAh Li Polymer
Claimed operating times:
Standby 350 hours
Voice 7 hours
Sample camera :