When the C905 was first announced in June 2008, it was slated to be the UK’s first 8megapixel camphone. But as summer turned to autumn and Sony Ericsson tinkered and procrastinated, the Samsung i8510 and LG KC910 Renoir both beat it to the high street.
Luckily, neither of those phones really capitalized on their head start, so we were prepared to wait for the C905. The promise of an 8.1MP lens, Xenon flash and top-class connectivity helped too.
Easy does it
With no smartphone OS to deal with the C905 works intuitively, just like every Sony Ericsson phone we know and love. The slider action is spring heeled, while the keypad gets on well with thumbs. Our only gripe is that the navigation pad and soft keys are overly spongy.
After the auto lens cover of the K850i and Samsung i8510, it’s disappointing to see the C905 sport a slightly rickety sliding spring loaded design. It’s still classy compared to most camphones, just not compared to its flagship foes.
Naturally, this Cyber-shot delivers on the photos mods; BestPic, PhotoFix, face detection, image stabiliser, exposure settings, white balance and red eye reduction are all present and correct.
Sony Ericsson has also added a ‘Smart Contrast’ setting into the mix that automatically sharpens details lost in dark, contrast-heavy areas. It’s more than just a gimmicky add-on and is highly effective in brightening gloomy snaps.
Two buttons flank the shutter key to toggle between still photography, video recording and gallery. Unfortunately, unlike VGA-toting rivals the Samsung i8510 or LC KC910 Renoir, the C905’s video resolution stalls at QVGA at 30fps. It’s YouTube-friendly but, again, not as slick and professional as its camphone challengers.
Luckily, the camera performance is very impressive. The autofocus is perceptive, the shutter lag minimal and the Xenon flash powerful. There are none of the C902’s touch-sensitive shortcuts, but the d-pad and top keys handily double up in camera mode for one-touch access to key camera settings.
Although not imbued with the i8510’s Symbian smartness, the C905 still handsomely covers the connectivity options with 3.6Mbps flavoured HSDPA and built-in Wi-Fi for brisk web browsing and downloading.
An onboard GPS receiver and support for A-GPS also means the C905 is geared for navigation and geotagging your photos.
Previous GPS-toting Sony Ericsson phones like the W760 and C702 have suffered from unstable performances, but the C905 is much more steadfast and proved a capable guide using Google Maps. Subscription Wayfinder 7 software is also embedded if you prefer dynamic routing.
Despite the emphasis on mobile photography, the C905 still carries a decent music player and features a Mega Bass loaded equaliser.
We’ve grown accustomed to Sony Ericsson not integrating a 3.5mm headphone jack, even with its Walkman phones, but to not even supply an adapter is criminal. Expect a writ in the post, Sony Ericsson.
With a titchy sensor and CMOS optics too crude to handle tricky shots, the C905 won’t replace a keen photographer’s digital compact camera. For casual snappers, though, this Cyber-shot is easily up to the task of being your sole shutterbug, producing photo prints you’d be proud to frame.
But does it have the edge on the i8510 and Renoir? All three are great camphones and there’s little to choose between them. Each one has issues to consider – the KC910’s thorny touch-screen, the Samsung’s brute size and lack of Xenon flash – but the C905 gets the best balance between size, power and a top camera performance.