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printed November 26, 2014
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MWC 2008

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SE: smartphones SE: Cyber-Shot & Walkman Samsung  

Sony Ericsson is known for its Walkman and Cyber-Shot phones. Sony had new high-end models of each type. Starting with the Walkman series, we have the W980:

 

W980

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The W980 has a clamshell design with a few nifty twists. When closed, it has a mode designed to look like a standalone music player. This is definitely a trend in music phones for 2008. A large external display is part of that, and of course external music controls.

The external keys change between a d-pad and music keys when appropriate. Changing lit icons behind a glossy black touch surface - so that they disappear when not in use - is a major trend these days. Sony Ericsson joins Samsung, Nokia and Motorola in presenting music controls this way.

The W980 also has a unique glass edge along the bottom (or top, when open.) The glass lights up white at times, but orange for music. It can be set to pulse in sync with the music if you'd like a personal light show.

Continuing with music features, the W980 has a whopping 8 GB of internal memory.

It also rocks two-way FM radio. What I mean is it can receive FM radio and also transmit FM, so you can wirelessly listen to your MP3s through your car stereo, for example. What's more, unlike most phones that can tune into FM radio, the W980 doesn't require a wired headset to be connected (as an antenna) thanks to its built-in FM antenna. It can also receive RDS - meaning it will show song info sent out by local radio stations - plus it can even transmit RDS info, so you can see the name of the MP3 you're playing displayed on your car radio display.

The W980 also has QVGA display and 3 megapixel camera (fixed focus.) It has 3G for Europe, but it's also quad-band GSM/EDGE, so it will work fine in the States.

Check out the video to see the external controls and FM features in action:



Moving on to the Cyber-Shots:

The C702 is a typical Sony Ericsson Cyber-Shot camera phone (meaning it has a darn good camera) but it does have a major twist, and that's the splash- and dust-resistant casing. You can use the C702 in the rain to your heart's content, or on the beach, for example.

 

C702

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The C702's camera resolution is only 3.2 megapixel, but it is auto-focus, which makes a huge difference, and Sony Ericsson has a great reputation for camera quality, so only pixel-counters should be concerned that's it's not 5 megapixel.

 

C702 UI

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The C702 also has GPS, for geo-tagging your photos (as well as navigation, of course.) That means if you upload photos to a service that supports geo-tagging like Flickr, you can automatically see exactly where you took the photo on a map.

Another neat feature of the C702 is automatic face detection, which will find human faces in real time as you frame the shot, and make sure they are focused and well-exposed when you take the photo. Standalone cameras have had this for a while, but Sony Ericsson is among the first to bring this technology to phones.

You'll see other familiar Cyber-Shot features on the C702, like a row of blue camera shortcut keys along the top edge in camera (normally the right column on the numeric keypad) just like the K850. There's also scene modes, like "twilight landscape" for getting a good shot quickly without adjusting a bunch of manual settings.

Like the W980, the C702 and C902 are 3G for Europe, but they have quad-band GSM/EDGE for use in the States as well. The C702 and C902 only have 160 MB of built-in memory, so there's an M2 (Memory Stick Micro) slot for adding more memory. Speaking of the C902...

The C902 might seem like an upgraded version of the C702, stepping up to a 5 megapixel camera, however there are some trade-offs. They're really just two different phones aimed at different kinds of people.

 

C902

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The C902 lacks GPS and the rugged casing, but steps up on camera resolution and ease of use for the camera. What makes it easier to use are two rows of touch keys just for camera modes - one above the display, and another below it.

 

C902 UI

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Furthermore, the whole top half of the case acts like a giant lens cover. Camera mode is activated simply by holding it at the corners like you would any thin camera and tugging on the ends to slide it open. A second later a spiffy row of blue lights flash next to the lens, and you're ready to take a photo.

That neat sliding body is also very, very thin. It's one of the - if not THE - thinnest auto-focus 5 megapixel camera phones in the world. If you always wanted something like the K800 or K850 but couldn't stomach the thickness, the C902 may be your next phone. This is one of the first 5 megapixel camera phones we've seen that simply does not have a size penalty.

Check out the video to see the slide action, touch controls, and real-time face detection in action:

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