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Before I got my Iphone this was the phone I had for the past 2 years, not being the kind of person that changes phones often unless theres a problem. This phone was excellent and never let me down, unlike the Iphone which sometimes freezes for no apparant reason.
If you are looking for a basic phone with a few added extras then this is a great choice. Yes it hasnt got the smart phone features but not everyone needs these.
I got my K500i on contract through O2 and paid £40. The cost, however, is more if you went pay as you go. I thought this was great as it lasted me two years before I finally gave in to the Iphone.
The features on this phone include bluetooth, infered, camera (not great quality but worthwhile having), video recording capacity (again same as camera), internet although it is very basic on screen, radio. This phone also has some of the usual features email, SMS, large phonebook. It also has great battery life. I only had to charge it once a week and it was used every day.
The look of this phone is good but it is a little bulky for your pocket. Newer versions are much slimer and I often found myself taking the phone out of my pocket when I was in the car as it was rather uncomfortable. However, it never got lost in my hanbag.
Overall this is a great phone for people not too fussed about having the latest model. You can also get a great price if you shop around on the internet.
In November 2004, I bought my Sony Ericsson K500i for £130.
With its silver cover, the body of K500i looks like it's covered with heavy load of metal so it is really surprising that it's very light and just weighs 80 grams. Its shape makes it look like no other and that made me attracted to it instantly. The overall design from front, back to sides instantly made me long to own it. The uniqueness of the mobile phone is simply eye-catching.
Upon turning it on for a test, I was so impressed with the clarity of its screen display. The K500i has 128 by 160 pixel TFT screen which is capable of displaying up to 65,000 colours. It provides excellent image. The animated icons are really fun to view especially the moving wallpapers.
The cover of K500i looks like silver metal but it is actually made in plastic material. Removing the back cover is not difficult but I have to insert a fingernail when I have to remove it. I hate it when I have to do that. I broke my nail whilst trying to remove the back cover. The second time I did that, my pretty nail polish just cracked. Even removing the battery is not a piece-of-cake for me. The battery seems to be blocked by a small plastic. Well, the plastic lock must have been there to keep the battery in place.
The keypad is very convenient to use for writing messages using one hand or both. The bottom half of the front of the K500i is curved downward where the keypad is located. The keypad consists of 16 regular keys and a joystick which works 5 ways (left, right, up, down and OK). Under the 2 shortcut keys just under the screen are the Back and Clear buttons. In typical non-Sony Ericsson mobile phones, the 'Call' and 'Hang-up' buttons are usually positioned there. However, the k500i doesn't have 'Call' and 'Hang-up' buttons. These 'missing' buttons are usually present in most mobile phones which are coloured green and red respectively. When I have an incoming call, the display asks me to answer the call. I only have to click the joystick to indicate 'Yes'.
The joystick serves so many functions in navigating. This is due to fewer key buttons when compared to other mobile phone brands. My complaint with the joystick is that I find it quite taxing in trying to select the right icons. When I press the joystick down, it sometimes moves to the left which opens up a different menu. The skill in clicking the right icon can be achieved by long use though. That should not have been too much of a problem. My main concern with the joystick is that it can get stuck which prevents me to access the mobile phone. My joystick got stuck 4 times in 3 years of using it. I had to bring it to the mobile phone technician for repair. My first joystick replacement was a heart-breaking £20. The second was £11 and the 3rd was £5.
When the joystick was stuck for the 4th time, I decided not to replace it. I had to buy another mobile phone. I read a lot of reviews on K500i. Most expressed complaint on the joystick but I never knew of anyone who had a problem with the joystick as worse as mine. Perhaps I just used it heavily.
Using the upper right key button gives me an option to instantly turn the phone to silent mode without going to the main menu, turn on/off the infrared, know the mobile phone's memory status or edit the shortcut keys. The upper left key displays the call logs.
2G Network GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
Dimensions 102 x 46 x 14 mm
Weight 80 g
Type TFT, 65K colors
Size 128 x 160 pixels, 1.9 inches, 30 x 37 mm
- Wallpapers, 3D animations and pictures
Alert types Vibration; Downloadable polyphonic, MP3 ringtones, composer
Phonebook 8 fields, 510 items, Photo call
Call records 30 received, dialed and missed calls
Internal 12 MB
Card slot None
GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 - 48 kbps
Standard battery: Li-Ion
Stand-by Up to 300 h
Talk time Up to 7 h
===Menu and Features===
There is no 'menu' button so I have to click the joystick at the center to access the main menu. The Menu consists of 9 colourful icons. Though the Messaging icon is fifth in the Menu list, it is the default feature.
Messaging consists of writing messages and MMS, inbox, voicemail, email, drafts, templates, outbox, sent items, saved items and settings. It has quickshare feature that allows me to quickly share my files to my friends. The default setting of text size in writing messages is thin letters set in normal size which is also the text size of the messages. I don't appreciate the text size of the inbox. I still prefer bold letters but K500i's text format cannot be altered to bold font. I admit I can't read the text messages well while I'm in a moving car or if I'm walking fast. The thin letters are not really readable when I'm in motion. Whilst writing messages, I can have the option though to change the text setting to smaller or larger sizes but there is definitely no option to make the letters bold. The default setting for inbox is the normal thin text font and cannot be altered to bold font as well.
The T9 predictive message (dictionary) is also an option in creating messages. The writing language can be set to French or Italian. The intelligent feature I'm impressed with is the phone's capability to store the numbers that I constantly use so I don't have to go to the phonebook each time I send a message to person I frequently send messages to.
The built-in games are really good. The Super Real Tennis has playstation 1 or 2 graphics. Amongst the built-in games are Darts, Fighters, SC-PT. I downloaded Air Warrior game without difficulty. The graphics of the games are simply amazing. The low 12MB internal memory of K500i is not much so I always advise to check the availability of the memory before downloading. The Music-DJ is also amazing. It lets me mix-match sound according to instruments that I choose. It has also Sound-Recording feature that comes in handy when I suddenly hear new songs that I seem to like.
At the back of K500i, a non-typically designed camera is placed. The camera lens is located at the upper center part of the back. It has a rotating cover which hides or shows the lens when adjusted so lens is protected when the camera is not in use. Beside the lens is a small mirror which makes me possible to capture self-portrait.
The VGA camera is not great but it can compensate when I don't bring my digital camera. It has the options of switching to video, night mode, adjusting the image size, putting on black&white or negative effect, putting on lots of frames, picture quality, self-timer and default name. The images taken by K500i camera appear a little blurry due to its VGA quality. The video taken by the VGA camera doesn't impress me too but it is helpful when video cam-corder is not available.
This contains all the files making it easy to browse through the different files under different folders like sounds, pictures, videos, games, themes and applications. If I am not sure on what particular folder to open if I need to browse through Themes, I open the File Manager.
I can use the media player to play MP3 files or MPEG4. Though the 12MB internal memory doesn't allow me to store enough files, that is still a good feature. It also has a ringtone composer, downloadable Java games and 3D games.
This contains the infrared port, synchronization, mobile network, data comm, internet settings, settings for Java and phone accessories connectivity. I emphasize that there is no Bluetooth technology present in this phone but an infrared port is present. This also lets me set the infrared to be turned on for just 10 minutes so it will automatically turn off at the specified time in case I would forget to manually turn it off.
This has calendar, tasks, notes, applications, alarms, timer, stopwatch, calculator and code memo. This folder helps me a lot in setting reminders for myself.
This is where I control most of the phone's settings from Profile, Voice control, shortcut keys, Locks, Set-up Wizard, the tones, wallpapers, screensavers, themes and call settings. The incoming call alert tone can be altered to any song or music that I downloaded aside from the built-in songs. The message alert tone is only limited to 6 built-in music so replacing the message alert tone with my downloaded favorite music is not possible.
The audio is amazingly great. The sound quality is at its best with the right balance of bass and treble whether I'm having phone conversation, when I listen to music or simply when a call or message alert rings. Sony has been an excellent provider of audio gadgets and it's good that it extends its excellence to the mobile phone's audio.
SE K500i's 1.9-inch TFT screen has 128 by 160 pixel. It provides excellent image quality that I can be proud of. When I watch a downloaded short video, I always get the best quality that I can get in a mobile phone. The different themes are displayed in crystal-clear images especially the awesome moving wallpapers. The built-in themes are impressive with Floom theme that suits females and Metalix theme for males. However, playing the videos or viewing images taken from this mobile phone camera is not good. This is due to the VGA quality of the phone's camera.
Although I admire the phone's audio and video features a lot, the joystick annoys me with its self-clicking on the icons. When I move the joystick to the left, it self-clicks the icon at the top. It took me about 4 months to master the clicking technique to hit the right icon. After about 10 months of using it, the joystick got stuck and an expensive joystick replacement was necessary or else the phone would have ended up in the garbage can too soon. The joystick was replaced 3 times in 3 years. The 4th time it got stuck, I knew I needed to get a non-joystick phone. The joystick should have been made durable since it serves too many functions due to the phone's 'lacking' key buttons.
The battery did well in my first 2 years of using it. It lasted 3 to 4 days in regular use. Then the battery bloated after 2 years and ceased functioning well so I replaced the battery but I always got a 'charging-alien-battery' warning display when I charged it. Since then, I always got a 'low-battery' warning each time I had incoming call or if I tried to make a call.
Finally, I decided to buy a new mobile phone and kept my K500i in my drawer. Aside from the defective battery and vulnerable joystick, I wanted to get a phone with a high-resolution camera with a non-joystick keypad. The non-expandable 12MB internal memory is just too low for me so I wanted to have a mobile phone that can have up to 1 gigabyte memory so I won't be deleting files from time to time and I can download files to my heart's content..
(also posted on ciao)