Posted by: Gomzy | May 9, 2007

Review of Sony Ericsson K790i

Idea for the upgrade:

I was a satisfied owner of a SEK750i – very pleased with the performance of my instrument. It had a good 2 mega pixel Auto Focus camera that did AF with optics, rather than purely on a digital level. It had pretty decent talk and standby time. The music capabilities were fair enough for a casual listener like me, and had thrown in some de-facto PIM capabilities like the Calendar, Alarm, Notes. On the connectivity front as well it faired decently. It had the Bluetooth, IR, USB connections apart from support for GPRS.

Well basically it had everything that I wanted. But then I had to change. I have this compulsive urge of trading my phone for a new one every once in a while. This time therefore I went for an upgrade rather than a new model altogether. The choice was obviously the (not so) New SE K790i since it succeeded the K750i from SE.

The First Look
The first five things I noticed when I took the phone in my hands were:

  • It seemed slightly lighter than the K750i, though in size it was larger than the K750i, may be because I was so exited.
  • It had a matt finish on the back of the phone body, and it too had a camera sliding cover which, on sliding would activate the camera.
  • It had a slightly changed key layout with an instant internet key thrown in.
  • It had a larger screen and the Menu seemed similar to K750i.
  • The words cyber-shot were mentioned prominently on the phone at the back camera sliding cover and under the screen.

Now let us go into the details
Price

The K790i set me back by Rs. 16,500 from the grey marker without bill. The going rate for a new K750i is around Rs. 9,800. I had to go to the grey market as I had to barter the old phone for part of the price. My old phone went for Rs. 6,300 (it had a 1GB memory, I bought for Rs.1,200 which now costs Rs. 600). I bought a 1GB M2 memory for the new phone for Rs. 1,300. SE K790i uses a new M2 format memory that is similar to miniSD in size.

Body

The K790i (105 x 47 x 22 mm) is a larger phone compared to the K750i (100 x 46 x 20.5 mm). K790i (115gm) is also slightly heavier than the K750i (99gm) however if one would look at the ratio of size to weight K790i would seem lighter as I though initially.

K790i seemed a slightly less sturdy than the K750i. It had matt-finish plastic on the back that looked delicate than that of K750i which has a sturdy plastic cover. If you tap on the plastics of the phone you can listen to the hollowness inside, the K750i was on the other hand was a solid brick.

Looks

In this part of the world most of the phones do get greasy a bit due to the moisture in the atmosphere. The back has a matt-finish that would not let any grease apparently visible. It has a slide-down camera sporting black color and a Xenon Flash over it. There is a Speaker Phone at the back as well. On the left you will find a music button and a M2

K790i has a curvy line on the back of the phone with Aluminum finish; it is the median between the front and the back. Front of the phone has a brushed steel finish, but the large screen overshadows everything else. There are two buttons for use with the camera on both sides of the ear phone on the front. The screen is surrounded by mirror finish border. The number keys look very tiny; anyone with large fingers would find it very difficult to SMS. There is an extra instant internet button creating a balanced grid of menu buttons.

Menu

Enough talk on the looks, lets talk about the menu structure of the phone. At first look I thought the menu is exactly same as that of SE K750i, however later found out some differences in both. SE K790i has a set dark looking themes preinstalled in it that compliments the overall black hue of the phone. The main menu is same as SE K750i however underneath it you will start discovering new things. Let me list them here:

  • The key left to the earphone starts picture view and the left one will being the grid view of the pictures.
  • Internet Section starts with the Google Search box. It seems Google is to be found everywhere.
  • Entertainment section sports a new Video Player it supersedes the Music Player that used to do the job. The phone comes preinstalled with some mute videos – the purpose of which I could not understand.
  • 2 new games other than the Tennis Game from Sega. The other 2 games are on golf and photography.
  • A new RSS reader in the Messaging section – I have not tried it yet so will not be able to comment on it.
  • Music Player has been revamped. Main window starts with 4 options – Now Playing, Artists, Tracks and Playlists. Artists and Tracks section get automatically updated with the ID3 tags from the mp3 files.
  • File Manager is also got revamped. Now you find 3 tabs one each for the memory stick and internal memory and one overall.
  • Thoughtfully the Camera album – the place where all the camera pictures and videos are stored has been made as separate folder – earlier it was buried inside the Pictures and Videos folders respectively.
  • Videos folder gives a Live Thumbnail view of the videos that start playing the preview when the file is selected.
  • The light in the organizer is missing now. The Xenon Flash does not allow it to be used for long duration as a torch light as earlier flash used to.
  • There are 5 configurable Alarms in the new phone, which is a boon for people like me who oversleep every day.

Camera

SE K790i is all about the camera. It was the first phone from the Sony Ericsson to sport the Cyber-shot branding of Sony. It has a 3 mega pixel Auto Focus camera, and a true Flash to compliment it. The phone has 8 in all buttons dedicated to the camera – including a couple of new tiny buttons near the speaker.

The camera has a dedicated button on the right side panel. Apart from that the volume buttons can be used for zoom/pan in the camera mode. The Zoom can be used Numeric 3 and 6 buttons on the keypad.

The camera sports 8 custom modes

  • Auto
  • Twilight Landscape
  • Twilight Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Beach/Snow
  • Sport
  • & Document

All these can be easily accessed from the right side button near the speaker when camera is on. Further the there are 4 Shoot modes as well. Apart from Normal and Video the camera/phone also sports a BestPic and Panorama. BestPic is the mode in which the camera takes a series of shots and one has to choose the best one of them. The shoot modes can easily be accessed from the Left Button near the speaker.

Camera can shoot in VGA, 1 MP, 2 MP and 3MP and these can be changed conveniently with the Numeric 1 on the keypad. The Focus length can be Macro, Infinity or Auto focus. These settings can be controlled from the Numeric 4 on the keypad. There is a digital image stabilization that can be activated from the Numeric 7 on the keypad. The flash got Auto Flash mode, the Red Eye Reduction and No Flash modes. As per my experience the Red-worked fairly well but then it is just a phone. They can be accessed from the Numeric * key on the keypad.

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