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Cybershot and Walkman Phone Equivalent Review.

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Posted by Muhammad-Oli
Hi everyone.

This is a review of three devices, a camera, a MP3 player and an SE phone. To me, carrying three devices around is not a bother, and I understand that to some people, or perhaps many, it would not be so convenient. I'll get to that later anyway.

In particular, the three devices which I own are:

The Sony Walkman NWZ-S616F shown here:

I have the white one:

The Sony Cybershot DSC-T2 shown here:

I have the black one:

And the Sony Ericsson V630i (otherwise known as the K618i) shown here:

I won't be reviewing the V630i much, as it would be similar to other reviews you find here as the performance of Sony Ericsson phones around the same spec don't differ much.

The reason for this review is to offer an equivalent to the camera/music phone. Why offer an equivalent? Well, as you browse through reviews and comments on these camera and music phones, you will find that the standard of many of these phones (in regards to imaging or music playing) are not as high quality as a dedicated device.

For example, if you were to go to GSMArena and view their latest 5 Megapixel phone shootout at:
...you would notice the images aren't too sharp and are not so impressive for a 5 Megapixel camera, though they are impressive for a phone camera.

Though I have no reliable review source to say that a music phone is not up to the standard of a dedicated MP3 player, it is generally accepted that this is the case. As I read the comments about new Sony Ericsson Walkman phones, it usually comes up that they still don't quite achieve excellent sound playback which you expect from any decent brand MP3 player.

So if you want real good quality photos, proper MP3 player sound quality and a mobile phone, in my opinion, this is still the only route to take That's if you don't mind carrying the extra devices of course! You'll notice I still use a 2MP phone, this is handy when I just don't have room to carry my camera. However I find it too annoying to use my phone as an MP3 player so usually my Sony MP3 player is on me too.

Anyway, on with the review:

Firstly, the NWZ-S616F.

I love the design of this. I used to have a second generation iPod Nano which I loved the design of, but when I saw the Sony in the flesh, I had to have it. I wasn't even looking to upgrade from my iPod but the Sony just has that 'have to have it' design in my eyes

It uses glossy white plastic and is very small, but the screen still appears slightly bigger than the screen of my V630i. It measures about 1.8" diagonally across. The NWZ-S616F feels strong and unbreakable despite being made only of plastic. I still wouldn't want to drop it. The screen has better resolution (QVGA) than my phone and even though it is small, it is fine for watching short video clips on. It displays 262144 colours. The menus are easy to follow and look a lot like the Sony Ericsson mobile phone software. If you come from using Walkman phones, you will find the appearance of the software pretty similar.

The NWZ-S616F has the usual browsing by artist, album, song, etc. It also has smart playlists of which there are not many. But one cool one is where it randomly picks a year to play music from. It supports playlists, Mpeg video, pictures and everything as you would expect. Also standard is an FM radio. It comes with either 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB memory. Sony says the battery will last for up to 33 hours of music and 9.5 hours of video playback. I believe it performs to about 70-80% of this which is pretty decent.

The equaliser is excellent. It does not have Megabass, as I believe Sony has dropped the Megabass brand. It does however have different presets or the option to create two of your own custom equaliser settings including the option to boost the bass... So it is easy to create the Megabass effects anyway. There are other different sound options too, including effects to make your music sound like a live performance, or in a studio or karaoke, etc. These work but are quite gimmicky.

One thing that used to be a real let-down on Sony MP3 players was the terrible Sonic Stage software that you had to use. It was slow, hard to use, and crap. Sony have now dropped this and they now support the Windows 'Plays For Sure' idea. So you can use Windows Media Player (WMP) to transfer music and playlists. However, you don't have to. I have a Mac and therefore don't use WMP at all. I have no problems just dragging and dropping my files onto the player and they work fine, even for files created using iTunes. Album art transfers perfectly and displays just fine. I find this option easier than using iTunes on an iPod (though some may not).

Sound quality is an interesting one here. The NWZ-S616F ships with some terrible head-phones. Probably some of the cheapest that Sony make. So therefore it was necessary for me to buy some better ones as I like to have good sound. I went back to Sony and purchased some admittedly not too cheap Sony MDREX85LP headphones. These are in-ear style ones and some of the best that Sony offer and certainly live up to my expectations. You certainly wouldn't need to buy such expensive ones, but you will need to upgrade a bit if you expect good sound quality. Sony's NWZ-A816 player has similar features but comes with a slightly bigger screen and the better headphones (but has no radio). It costs more too of course, but in my opinion it does not look as the one I bought.

This is the Sony MDREX85LP headphones I bought:

They come in white or black so you can match them with your MP3 player.
And this is the Sony NWZ-A816 MP3 player in white:

It too comes in a variety of colours.

On to the next part of my review, the Sony DSC-T2 Digital Camera.

The design of the DSC-T2 (T2) did the same for me as the NWZ-S616 when I first saw it. Again it was something I had to have, although this time I was looking to buy a camera anyway. The design of the T2 is quite simple and it reminds me of a small wallet or a nice metal cigarette case or something. It has silver metal sides and the front and back have a brushed steel look to them. The camera shell is made from metal. The front features a sliding lens cover which hides the flash, lens and red LED light. The back has four buttons and a large, 2.7" 16:9 widescreen touchscreen. I think the whole camera looks beautifully designed, especially the black and white versions.

It is a very high quality 8.1MP camera with 3x optical zoom and 6x digital. It has optical zoom, but no lens which protrudes from the camera casing. It uses a BIONZ image processing engine (I don't know what that means to be honest. I'm not pretending to be an expert!). The T2 is a little different to most digital cameras in that it has a decent amount of on-board memory, reducing the need for a memory card. It comes with 4GB of memory on board, and for me, this means I will never need a memory card, though for those who still would, it has a Memory Stick Pro Duo card slot. Apparently it only saves onto a memory card when the on-board memory is full though. This may be an inconvenience for some, but is no drawback to me Other features are on-board editing using the touchscreen, face detection technology, Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation and high ISO3200 sensitivity, album and scrapbook viewing and Sony's Smile Shutter mode - A true gimmick if ever I saw one!

One thing about the touchscreen is that you do need the provided stylus to use it. I was slightly disappointed that it does not support use of fingers, but too be honest, I like it better now with the stylus as it means the screen stays cleaner longer. The stylus attaches to the wrist strap of the camera ensuring it is always with you.

The menus are quite easy to use and there is an option to have helpful explanations pop up while using the camera so you know what every function is. These help screens don't get in the way of normal use, but can be turned off anyway if you want. The menus look great as yo would expect from Sony, and it has some neat little sounds which play, rather than the typical beep, beep, beep which can get irritating. It plays a cool sound when you start the camera up too. Sounds can be turned off

The T2 can record video with sound at a maximum size of 640x480 at 30fps. There are options for smaller sizes and lesser fps. It records using the MPEG1 format. I tested it out and the video was clear, not blurry or noisy. It did seem a little quiet when played back on the camera, this may be due to the speaker on the camera being a little quiet. It may be better on a computer.

What do we buy a camera for? Taking photos right? Exactly. So lets get on to that now. My first impression of the shots I took with the T2 were that they are amazing. And I still feel the same. The colours seem perfect and the screen shows them so beautifully.

I immediately tested it against my mother's Fujifilm Finepix A340, which it should out-perform easily. I took photos of the same subject from the same position at the same time using both cameras' auto settings. The Fujifilm, which I used to think was a good camera, was nothing compared to my Sony. Even viewing on the camera screens showed the Sony to have excellent colour reproduction and the Fuji's seemed a bit dim and colourless.

Here is a comparison:



The lighting in my kitchen was very yellow at the time due to the lights being on in the early evening. Both cameras used their flash and I think the Sony's shows better colour due to it capturing the yellower light. The Fuji's seems faded and more dull.

I will now add more photos taken by the Sony:

Here are two photos using the Macro modes. One is of a light bulb and one is of my Sony Ericsson V630i phone:

Now here are some outdoor shots:

Two of the garden and yard surrounding my house:

And one of our cat, Maia outside in the sun:

And an indoor shot of my Macbook laptop:

I am no great photographer and so these images are just examples. I'm sure the camera can do better, but I think these photos show that it is very capable of producing nice shots with good detail, good lighting and everything you would expect.

The Smile Shutter mode is definitely fun to try out, but I can't see it being used in situations other than simply playing around. My brother and I tried it out and found it easy to use, though on some sensitivity levels you almost have to have a seizure to get it to snap the photo. It is fine on the low sensitivity setting though. The in camera editing is simply adding a few on-board effects like blur or drawing and adding stamps to the photos. I don't see myself using it much. Anyone with photoshop will wait until the photos are on their computer before editing. The stamps will probably only appeal to teenage girls I think

Overall the T2 is a joy to use and very easy. It is great for simple point and shoot photography and has enough modes so that if you wanted more, it can deliver easily. There are plenty of features to keep you occupied at say, a boring family party. And these features will ensure that you can show it off to friends and family and make them jealous! It looks amazing and is an excellent quality camera, and in my opinion, worth paying the bit extra to get a Sony.

Right, now a bit about the Sony Ericsson V630i phone:

Like I said, I won't say much about it.

What sold the V630i to me was that it came with a set of portable speakers. I was never sold on it's looks or features, as I think they are both average. The phone itself is nice enough looking, though I feel it is a bit plain and boring. Nothing different like th K850i or say, a slider phone.

In regards to features, the V630i doesn't have much to set it apart from the rest. It has an average quality non-AF 2MP camera which is really only suitable for on-phone viewing and when you leave your camera behind. It sucks in low-light and really only makes good shots in full daylight. I have managed a few nice shots with it, for example these shots from my recent holiday:

The phone has a pretty bad music player with only the basic functionality like playlists, album and artist viewing, etc.

Other than that, it has 3G with video calling, a M2 memory card slot, and then its just the usual Sony Ericsson fare with nice menu layout. Though I can't say much for the Vodafone icons. I suppose in other countries people will get a K618i though, if they don't want these icons!

It is an average phone and it does the trick nicely. It doesn't excel in any area though and while I recommend the above MP3 player and digital camera, I don't recommend this phone. I'd say get any phone that takes your fancy if you were to do as I have done

Really, I don't care about what my phone's features are like. It does what I really need it for (texting and calling) perfectly. I have a great digital camera and a great MP3 player for everything else I need

Here is the cost of what I have bought in New Zealand dollars and converted into Euros:

Sony NWZ-S616F: $220NZ or 114 Euros.
Sony DSC-T2: $600NZ or 313 Euros.
Sony Ericsson V630i: $300NZ or 156 Euros.

Total: $1120NZ or 585 Euros.

Note that it is likely cheaper where you are from, because New Zealand prices are always a bit more expensive!

Now think, how much would a 3G phone with a full featured 8.1MP camera with optical zoom and a very good quality MP3 player with Radio cost?

I don't think I've done too badly

Thank you for reading my review and I'm sorry if it is a bit long-winded!

I am not saying this should be a better option for you than having it all in one device, as it's likely that it isn't too convenient. But if you have room, then perhaps this is better... The quality certainly is!

If there is anything more you want to know about the above products or anything to do with my review, then feel free to ask!


[ This Message was edited by: Muhummad-Oli on 2008-01-25 06:03 ]

Posted by technical-expert

U dont need all these devices.U have really wasted money.

Here's what i have to say

Cannot Play music though speakers with mp3 player
NO screen in mp3 player (ur stuck with 2 inch screen or no screen in case of mp3 only player)
Cannot listen to music wirefree(bluetooth 2.o)
Cannot share music instantly with friends Instantly(using bluetooth and also ring tones)
Need to charge 3 devices(tedious)
Need to carry 3 devices (tedious)
Cannot transfer photos to ur computer wirelesly.
cannot send photos from ur digital camera(to ur friends by email)
Cannot print photos wirelessly (thru bluetooth 2,0)
Cannot watch u tube videos on ur camera
cannot chat with ur friends(yahoo msn)
5mp images of phone camera are completely noise free when the computer scales down to fit in screen (even on my notebook 17" with 1650 x 1050).they look excellent hard to find any noise or bluriness

I will add more if i remember

[ This Message was edited by: itouch on 2008-01-25 06:14 ]

Posted by razec
^^ iTouch:

the N95 is no where near to the quality of a dedicated camera like the T2 which uses a better 1/2.5" Super HAD CCD Sensor and steadyshot IS, same goes for a dedicated Walkman player sound quality

and as far as performance is concerned the gadgets you've listed on your picture is way above the features builts inside of N95 like Tomtom, Fujifilm and so on. you would buy N95 for one thing: it's all in one but you can't buy them if you think about performance and quality of a dedicated device compared to that

and if you have read this sentence:

"So if you want real good quality photos, proper MP3 player sound quality and a mobile phone, in my opinion, this is still the only route to take"

Posted by Muhammad-Oli
Cheers for your reply, itouch.

Sure you make some valid points, but I can argue against some. Others I don't care too much for

Cannot Play music though speakers with mp3 player: No need for this. The only place I play music out loud is at home where I plug my laptop or mp3 player into a decent set of bassy speakers.

NO screen in mp3 player (ur stuck with 2 inch screen or no screen in case of mp3 only player): The screen on my MP3 player is perfect fro displaying all that it needs to display.

Cannot listen to music wirefree(bluetooth 2.o): Not at all worried about this.

Cannot share music instantly with friends Instantly(using bluetooth and also ring tones): I don't do that anyway

Need to charge 3 devices(tedious): Nah, I'm used to it and I can just charge them overnight or while I'm at home.

Need to carry 3 devices (tedious): I've got plenty of room for three small devices.

Cannot transfer photos to ur computer wirelesly: Thats fine. Its quicker by cable anyway.

cannot send photos from ur digital camera(to ur friends by email): You mean from my camera? I wouldn't on a phone anyway. Computers make it much easier.

Cannot print photos wirelessly (thru bluetooth 2,0): I wouldn't.

Cannot watch u tube videos on ur camera: I wouldn't.

cannot chat with ur friends(yahoo msn): I only do that at home.

5mp images of phone camera are completely noise free when the computer scales down to fit in screen (even on my notebook 17" with 1650 x 1050).they look excellent hard to find any noise or bluriness: Yeah but I don't always scale them down or print them small. So therefore I need a much better quality camera than a phone camera. Maybe in a few years I will reassess the situation, but at the moment, this is how I get the best quality

Also, I think the N95 is ugly and has many things I don't want or need!

@razec, thanks mate


[ This Message was edited by: Muhummad-Oli on 2008-01-25 09:16 ]

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