Sony Ericsson’s 3G a little too hot

Are cartoons the killer app for Vodafone's 3G network?

The Sony Ericsson V800 cellphone, one of the new Vodafone 3G beasts, is hot. No, literally — it gets very very hot. If you’re going to use it, take your oven gloves with you because, frankly, it’s got a China Syndrome thing going on.

Other than that and its odd shiny plastic shell, which is designed to get sticky and to pick up every fingerprint and scuff mark coming its way, the phone’s quite nice. The videophone gimmick is just that (remember videoconferencing on dialup? That’s what this is like). Forget moving objects — that TV ad with the guy surfing behind the dogs would be unrecognisable if my experience is anything to go by. I also found the lag annoying and the synchronisation between picture and sound wasn’t too good either.

But since I doubt I’ll use that feature much, I’m not too concerned. The phone does let users download music, albeit with as much digital rights management as Vodafone can stick its customers with. I tried to set one song as my ringtone and was sniffily informed that I had only a limited number of uses of that song and so it wasn’t appropriate for me to use it. The download speed was faster than I expected — the whole song was downloaded to the phone and playing within two minutes — but the song quality was pretty poor. I’d have hoped for a better sound for $3.50.

Another problem: there’s only 32MB of inaccessible storage in a memory stick. You have to take the phone’s back off to get the card out. No good.

The TV clips are pretty cool. The image is a better quality than Telecom’s T3G equivalent and the screen on the Sony Ericsson is very nice. I watched South Park and the trailer for Madagascar before my three-year-old daughter relieved me of the phone. I doubt you’ll be getting that back off her, Vodafone. She muttered something about prying it out of her “cold dead hands”, or something similiar.

The verdict? Stay away from the video calls and stick to downloading cartoons and you’ll be fine.

Sony Ericsson V800

Vodafone 0800-800 021

Price: $849

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