Hands-on: Sony Eric’s Cybershot phones

First it swiped the Walkman logo, now Sony Ericsson’s sneaked back to the family stable and nicked the equally exciting Cybershot brand for its two ne

First it swiped the Walkman logo, now Sony Ericsson’s sneaked back to the family stable and nicked the equally exciting Cybershot brand for its two new camphones. We’ve just returned from some hands-on snapping at a secret underground lair – well, Soho – and have to say we’re impressed.

The K790 and K800 are, respectively, tri-band GPRS and 3G versions of the same phone, capable of taking 3.2MP photos and offering all the Bluetooth 2.0, web browsing, music playback and FM radio talents of the formidable K750i.

It’s the new Cybershot features that really impress, though, with three big ‘firsts’ for a cameraphone. The most obvious – and useful – is the inclusion of a genuine flash as opposed to most mobiles’ feeble LEDs. It’s the same Xenon type that’s on Sony’s standalone cameras, and produced a good shot when we tried it under the shroud of darkness.

The Cybershot interface – flicking up the lens cap will take you straight in – is easy to navigate via two tiny shortcut buttons next to the QVGA screen, and offers tons imaging features, including the spanking new BestPic.   

Similar to the ‘burst mode’ feature on some digicams, BestPic captures four images before and after you press the shutter, then lets you pick the best from the nine thumbnails. It’s a very cool way of making sure you get a decent shot, and the first time we’ve seen it on a phone.

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The final biggie is the ability to directly send your photos to a blog, thanks to Sony Eric’s partnership with Google. Once you’ve taken a snap, you can go to straight to a drop down menu, select ‘blog this’, add text and then post it directly to a Blogger page. You can re-size images to make sure costs don’t spiral.

The prolific snappers among you may, though, want to shell out for a Memory Stick Micro card, which will soon be available in a 1GB flavour. The internal 64MB memory is good for only around 100 shots.

From our first play, we reckon these are formidable camphone packages, but two that you’ll sadly have to wait for – a second quarter release between April and June is Sony Eric’s target. Pencil one in for your summer holiday suitcase.

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