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Review: Sony Ericsson W600

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Like Sony Ericsson's top-of-the-line camera phones, the W600 features the same camera interface copied from Sony's Cybershot digital cameras. However to bring the cost of this phone down, the W600 does not possess all the photographic power of its siblings. The 1.3 MP sensor cannot match the CCD of the S710a or the 2 MP camera of the K750/W800. The pictures are better than those taken by 1.3 MP sensors on many competitors' phones, but they are still lack the detail of higher-end models from SE or a few others like the Nokia 6682.

In addition, the W600 does not feature an active slide cover for the lens. Instead the lens is exposed at all times and the camera is started by more traditional camera phone means - either holding down the dedicated shutter button or starting the camera application from the main menu.

The camera application takes about 1.5 seconds to launch. After that happens you are presented with a responsive camera that is both fast and easy to use. In the view finder you can use right and left on the D-pad to adjust exposure, The volume keys to zoom, and access a menu with many other advanced options and effects. The shutter button is a bit small, so taking a picture requires a little manual dexterity, but the phone is easy to hold - even with one hand - so shots always come out clear. There is no blurring or shake.

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After taking a picture, the phone takes about 2 seconds to save it to the built in memory. The W600 has no memory card slot, but it has 256 MB of RAM, which is plenty for over 300 1.3 MP pictures even with a few hours of songs sharing the memory. After the picture is saved it is easy to return to the viewfinder, delete the picture, or send it via a number of methods.

The w600 has two video quality setting (message and high quality) and two sizes (QCIF and 128 x 96). The high quality setting is smooth and has decent image quality. The message setting is more grainy and choppier. Video recording on this phone has a great deal of flexibility. Recording lengths are limited only by available memory, even in the message quality mode. All of the still camera's effects can be used as can the digital zoom. You could take a press impressive, albeit very small, video. However the video recorder's shortcoming is the microphone, which is not very sensitive. This screens out ambient noise, but it also fails to capture softer noises you'd like to record.

The gallery has two different viewing modes. After a picture is selected from the thumbnail list, it is shown in vertical or phone orientation. From this mode you can edit, rotate or send the picture, as well as use the picture for a variety of phone functions. You can also choose to view the picture in landscape or horizontal mode at this screen. In landscape mode you can use the volume keys to zoom in on details while using the D-Pad to pan around the picture. Or you can view all your pictures as a slide show.


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