Flip the lens cover down on the Sony Ericsson C903 and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were holding a dedicated digital camera. Sony Ericsson’s pulling a Paul McKenna on you though: this 5 megapixel machine is a phone too, with plenty of multimedia magic inside.
The Sony Ericsson C903 totes GPS with Google Maps to stop you getting lost, plus HSDPA to get you bombing around the web like you were on a laptop. And then there’s that camera a camera. With face detection, Best Pic (Which grabs a bunch at speed for you to choose) and Smile Shutter picking out grins from gurns, this is no slouch compared to its camera–shaped cousins.
Don’t get dazzled by those pretty press shots though – the Sony Ericsson C903 is a letdown like Beyonce without makeup. Up close and from the front, it’s plasticky, fugly, and rocking those tiny, narrow navigation buttons to which Sony Ericsson has a seemingly inescapable addiction.
In fact, the whole Sony Ericsson C903 is draped in déjà vu. We’re big fans of the stills it takes, and the powerful editing skills stashed on board, but software aside there’s no noticeable improvement over other recent Cyber-shots, from the C902 to the mighty C905. The 2.4-inch screen is QVGA “meh” resolution, and grainy and unresponsive compared to the Sony Ericsson W995. The battery life is fine, but no Nokia, and we’re still stuck in Sony’s walled garden, with only M2 memory cards supported.
There are a few other strange omissions too. Granted, there’s HSDPA, but where’s the Wi-Fi? Given the Sony Ericsson C903’s selling point as a photo sharing phone, it’d certainly speed things up and avoid you falling into data tariff traps when uploading albums at full res. And is there a 3.5mm audio port? Nuh uh. Sony Ericsson take note: just because a Cyber-shot isn’t a Walkman, doesn’t mean you have to salt the Earth for mobile music heads.
The Sony Ericsson W995, touted as the first of a string of ‘Entertainment Now’ handsets, costs more. But if you’re loyal to the brand, you’d do well to pony up and get the extra features (Wi-Fi, BBC iPlayer). Unless you’re a fan of stuffing every group shot you take with your mates on Facebook ASAP, there’s nothing new to stoke your gadget passions here.