Nail-bending camera phone easy on the eye
The Sony Ericsson K500i, like the company's previous 2.5-generation releases, does not disappoint. However, a bit of skill is required to get it started.
It took six business reporters - including a Swedish fan of Ericsson - to figure out how to pop open the phone's back to insert the SIM card. (Hint: you will need a strong fingernail, something which the accompanying instruction manual does not explain).
But once this problem was overcome, we were able to appreciate the many good things this phone has to offer.
First, the K500i is very light at 80 grams. Also, it compares well with 3G phones in terms of picture resolution and video quality.
Some users might find this model better even than the LG U8120 sold by Hutchison. The K500i has a larger screen at 1.9 inches and a retractable lens cap.
It also looks smarter and feels better to hold than the clamshell LG phone.
Another plus is the K500i's great sound effects. It has MP3 ring tones, a built-in equaliser and a dedicated loudspeaker.
MusicDJ allows users to compose their own tunes with four musical instruments.
The phone is more affordable than Sony Ericsson's other latest offering, the K700i, retailing for about $900 less. This puts it in the same price category as Xera from Sharp and SmarTone Communications.
The price differential between the K500i and the K700i, however, is reflected in the features. The K700i has a radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a larger memory at 40 megabits.
The K500i has 12 megabits of memory - or not enough, as we discovered when we tried to send a multimedia message with a photo.
We were confounded by an error message which said the file 'message will become too large'.
Transferring the photo to another phone via the infrared link did not work either.
Given the demanding needs of Java games, media players and streaming video clips, more memory would be helpful.
We also struggled to work the call divert function. The phone provides a 'divert all calls' function but no further options.
Sony Ericsson K500i
Pros: Lightweight, large screen and great sound effects
Cons: Back casing a struggle to remove;
not enough memory