Sony Ericsson K660i Review : Skype Gets Gorgeous

The Sony Ericsson K660i is the second Skype compatible phone ITProportal.com is reviewing this year and unlike the Skypephone, this one is available on other non 3 (three or 3G) networks, more about that in a bit.

The model we reviewed is the black/bordeaux colour; three other variants are available, the lime white version, cyan on black and the silver black one and there's no denying that it is pretty attractive, especially compared to the slightly smaller Skypephone (see our review here).

The phone has been dubbed a clone phone by some like Mobile-Phones-uk and to be fair, Sony has released a number of similar, more or less popular candy bar cell phones, most of which belong to the K series - you can see Sony's 50 candy bar models here.

The K660i was released back in November 2007 and its main highlight is the fact that it comes with HSDPA (3.5G) connectivity which means that you should be able to surf online at speeds that would put the iPhone non-3G to shame.

In addition, you should be able to use the phone as a modem for your laptop although we have not tried this yet; mind you, the phone is very roughly twice the size of a normal USB broadband dongle and some of us might not feel comfortable having their prized possessions dangling at the end of a cable.

At 95g and about the size of a two-finger KitKat bar (104mm x 47mm x 15mm), it will easily be tucked away in a jean pocket.

The K660i looks and feel stylish, it looks slimmer than previous K series (compared to the K750i and the K800i) and the silver edges adds to its cachet; its front face carries a 2-inch 320x240 pixel, 262k TFT screen which is bright but falls in the average category as far as colour rendition is concerned.

Directional Controls aka the joystick which was popular on older K series, has been replaced by a 4-way pad, which is sturdier but feels less intuitive; the K660i retains the six-button model found on most web-capable Sony Ericsson K-series mobile phones.

The keyboard adopted small rounded illuminating buttons, some of which (four of them on the right : 3, 6, 9 and # keys) have secondary functions which kick in when browsing and come handy for shortcuts and the likes.

The K660i has the ability to surf the web horizontally, this means that you have a larger landscape screen area which SE calls "Horizontal Web Browsing" and the buttons allow you to zoom in and out as well as move laterally along the sides; no iPhone kicker but still quite good.

The problem though is that while the screen does rotate, the keypad does not, which means that you might have some issues using the keypad to type.

The K660i is compatible with the Opera Mini Browser (not the new Mobile version) should you want to swap the default browser.

One of the main reasons why you should look at this phone is its ability to make and receive Skype calls for free Worldwide; getting the Skype application up and running is pretty straight forward

You can easily upgrade its internal 32MB worth of internal memory thanks to a M2 micro slot on the side which supports up to 2GB; the phone itself came with a 256MB card courtesy of Sony Ericsson.

The K660i comes with a FM radio and the default MP3 player is a rather bland, unimpressive application and you are still stuck with one of those pesky proprietary headset connectors that prevent you from using your own earphone although you can always buy a converter.

The MP3 player offers a variety of options including the ability to sort tracks into playlists and the fact that you can adjust the equaliser.

Bland is the expression that can also be used to describe the 2-megapixel camera which comes without any autofocus feature and without any flash; while it produces decent photos under normal daylight conditions; it fails miserably to produce anything like an iPhone 3G camera - a similar 2-megapixel snapper without any flash - when the night sets in.

This picture below is from iPhone Photos, Courtesy of Matt George.

You will still be able to use the camera as a movie recorder with an avearge 15 frames per second at 320 x 240 pixel resolution.

Trustedreviews also reports that there's a front-facing camera for video calling although I did not find any clue of such a feature in the menu list or on Sony Ericsson's website.

Three sells the phone for a mere £15 per month on a contract that gives you 300 minutes per month anytime any network, 300 minutes 3-to-3 and 4000 Skype minutes.

Note that Skype minutes are exclusive to Three Network - you won't be able to Skype on any other networks in the UK although the phone is available on many other networks.

Battery life is pretty good with more than 48 hours in moderate use before needing a charge - much less if you want to use Skype or do long sessions of web browsing; we also noticed that the phone warms up quickly when doing VoIP calls.

Overall the phone is a great entry level device that should satisfy the occasional picture snapper as well as the novice audiophile.

Next in Sony's portfolio is the K770i mobile phone which is a beefed-up K660i and would certainly suit those looking for an altogether better model.

Also look forward for the soon to be released Skypephone version 2.0.

Other reviews of the K660i online

Trustedreviews

The Register

Cnet

Know your Mobile

Stuff.tv

3G.co.uk

Mobile Review

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