Sony Ericsson is quickly becoming one of the most well known mobile phone
manufacturers on the planet. Time after time they bring new and exciting
features to the consumer which other manufacturers don't adopt for quite
a while. With Sony Ericsson you're sure to have the latest and greatest
technology – and the Z800i is an example of just that.
The Z800i is a 3G-based device, one of only a few on the Sony Ericsson
handset range. With the latest features in a sexy clamshell format, the
Z800i is a winner in all aspects.
Sony Ericsson fans down under have been waiting for their latest 3G creation;
so how does it perform?
The latest addition to Sony Ericsson's 3G-range of handsets is the Z800i.
Here, you will find all the latest technological enhancements like a 262k
colour display, video call capabilities, 1.3mpx digital camera, Memory
Stick Duo Pro external memory support, and support for 3G UTMS networks
and GSM networks.
The Z800i has two displays, an external 65k colour 101 x 80 pixel display
and internal 262,144 colour display. The internal display is of the utmost
quality and has to be seen to believed. When used as the viewfinder for
the MotionEye™ rotating 1.3mpx digital camera the quality is amazing!
Browsing multimedia based WAP pages and watching video clips on the Media
Player application will never be the same again. The internal LCD measures
176 x 220 pixels.
Supporting the UTMS network (based on the 3G/WCDMA networks), the Z800i
has data speed capabilities of up to 384kbp/s. This is blisteringly fast.
You will find that video clips, full audio files & more are downloaded
faster than some DSL connections! The handset operates on the GSM networks
when out of 3G range (known as roaming) on the 900, 1800, or 1900MHz GSM
Two-way video calling is supported thanks to both the MotionEye™ rotating
camera and 3G network capabilities. The camera can be rotated to face
inwards, so your caller can see your face when in a video call! Want to
show them what's going on in front of you? Twist the camera around – it's
as easy as that. The handset even has a dedicated video calling key and
A hot swappable Memory Stick Duo Pro port can be found on the left side
of the handset, underneath the battery cover. Removal of the battery cover
must occur before you can access the Memory Stick Duo. A 32mB memory stick
is supplied in the sales package and more can be purchased separately.
This format of memory has high speed data transfer and is small too. 6mB
of internal memory is offered on top of the external memory.
Now for more on this MotionEye™ camera. At 1.3mpx, video and images captured
are very high quality. The camera can rotate to almost 360° and automatically
rotates itself depending on which way it is facing. It is very strong
and I wasn't worried about it breaking due to excessive movement. More
on the camera can be found in both the Making and Receiving Calls &
Camera Performance sections of this article.
With these, and many other exciting features the Z800i is a packed with
the latest features of today & tomorrow! :)
Considering Sony Ericsson don't release that many clam-shell handsets,
they definitely had the right idea when crafting the Z800i! The handset
is, of course, a clam-shell, in a pleasing silver colour theme. There
are two available colours of the Z800i, a Linear Silver and Titanium Silver.
The different between the two is that the latter does not have lines down
the front, hence the name of the first colour – Linear silver. The handset
I received was Titanium Silver.
The handset measures 102 x 49 x 23.6 mm, so is quite a bit larger than
your average clamshell. I found it to be a bit bulky at times especially
when in your pocket, but nothing that you can't deal with. Weighing in
at 128 grams it's not all that heavy. The dimensions and weight do have
their advantages though – you can hold the Z800i at your ear with your
shoulder easily, and it fits very comfortably in hand.
Sony Ericsson have ensured that you won't get a sore ear from chatting
on the Z800i like with some of their other phones, but rounding the end
of the Z800i off in a small curve. It does look sharp, but quote me on
it that it doesn't hurt your ear! The top of the Z800i houses the MotionEye™
1.3mpx camera and hinge for the flip. The camera is positioned between
the two black bars and has many indents for increased grip when rotating
The external front of the Z800i houses a small display and speakerphone
(in optimum position for amplifying sound), along with a Flashing LED
light. When charging the light is a static green, and when everything
is a-okay the light flashes green. The small display is of average size
at 101 x 80 pixels, and fits snugly in the middle of the Z800i. The same
rounded edge you'll find on the actual handset is on the “frame” of the
mini-display and also the speakerphone, just below it.
The “Three” logo is placed at the very bottom of the front flip, perfectly
in the centre. Other branding includes the “Sony Ericsson” text at the
top and on the battery cover the green and silver Sony Ericsson logo.
There is a “Memory Stick Pro Duo” label on the right hand side of the
Z800i, right where the Memory Stick Duo plugs in under the battery cover.
The buttons on the Z800i (external) are all black except for the dedicated
camera key, which is chrome so you can distinguish between it and the
others. Volume control can be found on the left side with camera and the
flash light on the right.
At the bottom of the Z800i are the interface ports, as you will find on
any Sony Ericsson handset. Nothing has changed here – far left is for
wired headsets, and far right for power connector. There is an extra port
off to the right though; it's mini-USB! The mini-USB connector allows
high speed data transfer to and from the Z800i, and you can still charge
the handset while transferring data as it doesn't use the default interface
port. A USB cable is even included in the sales package. At the same spot
as the mini-USB connector on the left hand side is the small infrared
window, nicely hidden.
Open the Z800i up and it's a treat for all senses! The beautiful 262,144
colour display activates and the blue backlight of all slimline the keys
lights up. It's not a familiar scene here, all the interface keys are
towards the top and the numerical keys down below (as usual), but there
is an extra row of special function keys below the interface keys. The
numerical keys are black and the interface keys silver. An extra key towards
the bottom right is the on/off key. All keys on the Z800i are very flat
but indents on either side of them allow them to be pressed easily; they
are very tactile.
The build quality of the Z800i is exceptional in all circumstances, the
battery cover slips on securely and there was no doubt in my mind that
the clamshell was locking shut properly and clicking into place when opened.
The battery cover is easily removed with one hand, just push down the
middle with your thumb and pull down! The memory card can be seen to the
right with the SIM in the centre. The battery must be removed (there's
a fingernail section above the memory card slot) before you can remove
the SIM card.
User Interface & display
The Z800i uses the familiar interface found in all the new Sony Ericsson
models, but in the Z800i it goes that bit further. If you've used a new
Sony Ericsson phone with themes before, you'll know how much they can
change the entire feel of the phone. Well, just when you thought they
couldn't get any better – they have! The themes on the Sony Ericsson Z800i
are absolutely amazing. Support for animated wallpapers (both externally
and internally) helps the situation, but the menus are now animated too.
On most themes, there will be a trail of some sort (for example, of bubbles)
following the cursor and bouncing off the boundaries of screen. You'll
fall in love instantly! The Z800i does come with pre-installed themes
and more are created each day which can be downloaded to a PC or directly
to the handset. A “power-saving” theme comes which uses less “fancy” designs,
conserving the battery power.
Now, onto something else! The Z800i has two displays. As already mentioned,
the external screen is 101 x 80 pixels and capable of 65,536 colours.
It will display your next upcoming calendar event, the time, date, service
provider, reception status, battery life, connectivity links established,
and quite a lot more. You can also set a wallpaper of your own to the
display, or use the theme-defined choice. The display can be activated
using the volume keys, which when pressed twice, will show your calendar
The internal display is more delightful, with 262,144 colour quality!
At 176 x 220 pixels you can't get much larger these days. It will consume
you with its quality, the user interface looks marvellous and is totally
animated and user friendly, with easy-to-distinguish icons. Another point
to note is the tabbed user interface, its back!
Navigation around the Z800i's user interface is for the most part with
the 5-way navigational pad. The circular key allows you to move left,
right, up, and down with an “enter” or “accept” key in the centre. The
general rule of thumb is that whatever is displayed on the left hand side
of screen (ie. What the left soft key will do) is what pushing down the
navigational key will do. That said, there are two soft keys for use,
a right and left soft key. Their function is displayed just above them
on screen. Under the left soft key is the return key, which will move
back a menu or when held down will return you to the idle screen. Under
the right soft key is the cancel key, mainly for messages or other input
The main menu is launched with the middle key in the navigational keypad.
The 12 icon menu is as follows: 3 Services, Internet Services, Entertainment,
Camera, Messaging, Media Player, File Browser, Phonebook, Video Call,
Calls (call register), Organizer, and Settings. Moving with the directional
key will move the “spotlight” and any theme-based trail along to the icon.
When selected an icon pulsates, and when you open the main menu messaging
is the selected icon.
Personally, the Sony Ericsson interfaces are the best I've come across
in mobile handsets. Many other manufacturers are too concerned with getting
the latest features out onto the market then spending time with the interface
which is ultimately what the users have to put up with! With Sony Ericsson
there is a never a dull moment using the UI and it's very simple to use.
Making and receiving calls
The Z800i has the ability to perform both voice and video calls. Video
calling is one of the major advantages of being on a 3G capable network.
The Z800i even has a dedicated video call key for easy access. The handset
also offers the user the ability of hosting calls over a Bluetooth headset,
and the integrated loudspeaker is also at your disposal.
A photo phonebook displays the defined picture of your caller when they're
calling. With thanks to the external display, their image can be shown
here when they call. If your caller isn't in your phonebook or doesn't
have an image, the number or name will be shown on the external display.
From here you can open the handset to accept the call. If you have a Bluetooth
headset connected and active you will need to press the button to answer
An icon will display when you are receiving a video call to indicate that
it is in fact a video call. You will need to open the Z800i up to initiate
the call – your camera will then become active and you and your caller
connected. The video calling interface is very easy to understand – a
small window shows your image, and a larger window shows the callers streaming
video. You can use the navigational keys in a call (like you do in the
camera application) to adjust the brightness or zoom in/out. The options
button will launch a menu which allows you to, among other things, activate
the speaker phone, switch the images (you become large they become small),
hide your video, access advanced camera features, mirror your clip, or
transmit a demo clip.
When you want to make a video call, simply input the number that you wish
to call (or browse to it in the contacts) and press the dedicated video
key below the navigational key. To initiate a standard voice call, input
the number and press the call button. To hang up either a voice or video
call, close the handset or press the end key! Volume adjustment keys can
be found on the left hand side of the handset.
Personally I found the video quality streaming from the Z800i to be a
little choppy at times, but this may have been simply due to the video
zone coverage in my area. Other than that the quality was great, and with
the 262k colour display your caller's video looks awesome.
As always the Z800i supports all the latest and greatest messaging formats.
SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail, and instant messaging formats are all supported.
With 3G speeds MMS, e-mail, and instant messaging is super quick and not
to mention becoming increasingly less expensive. The handset has predictive
text input too.
On launching of the main menu the handset automatically selects the messaging
icon. Once opened, you can then access text and picture messages, sent
items, drafts, sending messages (outbox), and the dedicated e-mail and
instant messaging applications. When you selecting “new message”, you
are prompted to select either text (SMS/EMS), or picture (MMS). The message
composition application is very easy to use and I experienced no lag when
texting, even with T9 predictive text activated. I personally think Sony
Ericsson's predictive text method is a little hard to use, having to use
the navigational key to select between different words.
SMS messages can be spread among several messages, also known as long-SMS.
This allows you to say more than you can fit into a single 160 character
SMS message. EMS messaging allows you to attach small images and sounds
to your messages, whereas MMS messaging allows high quality images, video,
sounds, and text to be inserted into a single message.
Three offers an e-mail service with their servers, allowing you to send
messages from your own @three.net.au e-mail address. These are cheap and
very quick thanks to 3G data rates. E-mails can be sent to supported handsets
or the normal work or home e-mail address. MMS messages can also be sent
to e-mail addresses.
The Z800i is compatible with three GSM network bands – GSM 900, 1800,
and 1900MHz. This allows support for the GSM networks in Europe, Africa,
Asia-Pacific, and some area's of the America's. Local connectivity comes
in the form of Bluetooth, Infrared, and USB data-cable. You can connect
to the world-wide-web using GPRS (in 2.5G coverage areas) or UTMS data.
The Z800i comes ready-to-go out of the box with PC software CD and a USB
data-cable. The data-cable uses the mini-USB connector on the bottom right
of the handset. It connects to a PC or laptop using a free USB port. You
can perform synchronization tasks, back up your data, access the internal
and external memory (upload/download files), and much more with the included
software. USB is by far the most stable and easy-to-use connection method
with a PC or laptop. The mini-USB connector has a rubber cap over the
top to prevent any unwanted material getting in.
The infrared port is located in the same place as the USB connector on
the opposite side of the handset. Infrared can be used to beam data from
the Z800i to another infrared-enabled device (like a PDA or other mobile
phone), or used to connect the handset to a PC for everything that a data-cable
connection would do. The PC software that comes with the handset can be
used for Bluetooth, Infrared, and USB connections.
Bluetooth can be used for handset-PC connections and also to connect accessories
to the Z800i like an audio headset. Many API's are included in the Z800i
allowing the connection of many different accessories. Bluetooth connections
are easily established and secured via the settings menu of the Z800i.
Bluetooth headsets are perfect for both video and voice calls; video calls
especially as with a video call the speakerphone is activated – not good
in high-noise areas. The Bluetooth connectivity can be used to connect
the handset to a PC, so long as the PC has in-built Bluetooth support
or a Bluetooth adapter (mostly USB these days).
A WAP 2.0 browser can be used with GPRS or UTMS data, allowing streaming
media, animations, and much more to be displayed on the 262,144 colour
LCD display. Three's Content Service has a host of features including
ring tones, streaming media bulletins, and much more. UTMS is a third
generation mobile network, with increased data capabilities from existing
GPRS is used when you are not in Three's video coverage area. You must
be in a 3G coverage area (as indicated by the handset displaying “3” and
not “Roaming”) to accept and make video calls. Thanks to GPRS you can
still access Three's Content Service when you are Roaming on Vodafone's
network with acceptable speeds.
I experienced no problems when it came to the battery life of the Z800i.
With such high power-consuming features like the LED lights, 1.3mpx digital
camera, video calling, and Java applications most handsets would drain
very quickly. The Z800i managed to have longer battery life than most
handsets with similar features.
Sony Ericsson estimate around 600 minutes for GSM talk time, and 150 minutes
talk on the WCDMA (3G network). For video calling, you can expect around
60 minutes. On the GSM network around 240 hours of standby time can be
expected with 220 hours on the 3G network.