I've already reviewed three 8-megapixel cameraphones, Samsung's Pixon and i8510 and LG's Renoir. They've all done very well, gaining coveted Recommended awards. These handsets all scored highly not just for their camera capabilities but also because of their general, all round, strong design and features. These factors give Sony Ericsson's 8-megapixel C905 a lot to live up to.
In design terms I have to say this phone leaves me a bit cold. The C905 is a slider, but not a very tidy one. It weighs a tonne. OK, it weighs 136g. Compared to the Pixon (122g), i8510 (136g), and Renoir (110g) it isn't actually overweight, though. Where the C905 loses out is its girth which makes this handset feel awkward and unwieldy without offering the screen area to justify this.
It is a massive 18mm thick, 49mm wide and a rather tall 104mm with the slide closed. Open the slide (whose mechanism is very smooth indeed) and the phone grows to about 135mm. This makes the C905 a lot of phone for the hand. Compare again those other 8-megapixellers. Pixon: 13.8mm thick, 54.6mm wide, 107.9mm tall. Renoir: 13.95mm x 55.9mm x 107.8mm. And i8510: 17.2mm x 53.9mm x 106.5mm.
There are measurement differences on all fronts and those other handsets are all taller than the C905's slide-down height, but the larger touchscreens found on the Pixon and Renoir makes their larger size feel legitimate. The i8510's 2.8in screen even knocks the 2.4in one here into touch, though both share 240 x 320 pixels.
Sony Ericsson has made good use of the slide space where the number pad is concerned. This is large and its backlit flat keys are very easy to use at speed. Under the screen things are also pretty neat, though the button arrangement itself is unusually ugly for Sony Ericsson.
Two columns of three buttons flank the D-pad. On the left, softmenu and Call buttons top the Activity Menu button which brings up tabbed access to reminders, running apps, shortcuts and Internet services. On the right, softmenu and End buttons top the Clear key. The D-pad incorporates four camera controls. These give access to flash/redeye; auto/macro/face detection/infinite focus; exposure settings; and the timer.
They are blue backlit when the camera is in use, as are the shortcut buttons, D-pad Centre button and side-mounted shoot button. Two further buttons above the screen are also backlit blue when in camera mode. One cycles through various shooting modes, the other through scene modes.
These buttons double up as gaming keys, incidentally, though none of the three provided games seemed to use them. These are a chess game, a tennis game and a racing game. A motion sensor does its usual job of flicking the screen into landscape mode but it didn't seem to want to do so with the games, though it is used in the racing game to good effect for car control.