Available in three colours depending what operator you’re with, the K660i is a stylish handset that feels comfortable in the palm of your hand. The keys are ideally located for when using the handset horizontally.
With the internet being at the core of the device, the ultra-fast HSDPA connection enhances the experience. The K660i also has Google Maps, TrackID and PlayNow embedded. There’s also a two-megapixel camera and built-in music player.
The numeric keys are a little on the fiddly side. The novel mouse pointer only adds to the joyous web experience, while the shortcut keys are all ideally located for a quick press of the thumb.
Surfing the net is near faultless. The HSDPA capabilities means it’s fast, while the mouse pointer is sure to become a regular feature in future handsets. The camera is rather modest, while the RSS feeds were unreliable.
Sony Ericsson handsets usually offer ample battery life and the K660i is no exception. 540 minutes talktime and 330 hours standby should prove to be more than enough.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:15 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The mouse pointer provides a PC-like internet experience.
The provided headphones are too long and are prone to becoming tangled up.
With the news that Sony Ericsson’s new C702 and C902 handsets are to become the new Cyber-shot range, we discover that the ever-popular K-series will now cater for Sony Ericsson’s mid-range market. First to enter the new K-fray is the K660i, a stylish handset with a host of features. The handset is available in three colours – the generic wine-on-black, 3’s exclusive lime-on-white and T-mobile’s blue-on-black. Our review handset happened to be the wine-on-black and very fetching it was. The ‘wine’ refers to the coloured strip that highlights the main control bar above the keypad. The contrasts in colours work really well, although we did find the buttons to be a touch on the fiddly side, particularly the numeric keys. Loyal Sony Ericsson fans may scourge the lack of back button that has become such a mainstay on recent handsets, but the right soft key usually gives you that option, and a quick press of the call end button will return you to the idle screen.
The manufacturer tells us that the handset will appeal to a younger generation obsessed with social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. And to cater for these web-savvy consumers, Sony Ericsson has included a number of key features. The web can be surfed either in portrait or landscape, to gain the best experience, landscape is preferential.When surfing the net the more observant of you may notice that keys 3, 6, 9 and # become illuminated. This is to indicate that they also double up as internet shortcut keys. A quick press of the ‘3’ button will allow you to input text for a Google search, while ‘6’ will bookmark any websites you may frequent. If at anytime during your surf you were wanting to return to the homepage, simply hit the ‘9’ key, and the ‘#’ key lets you pan and zoom web content, which proved particularly useful when we were wanting a closer inspection of a photo or pic. It’s worth noting, however, that in order to utilise the pan and zoom function, you will need to be in ‘smart fit’ mode.
As a means of providing a PC-like experience on your mobile, the K660i has introduced a mouse pointer, which is controlled via the navigation pad. The pointer can be moved anywhere on the screen, making it easier and faster to click on hyperlinks. Although the experience is not flawless – the pointer jumps rather than glides – it’s still a joy and we anticipate it becoming a regular fixture in future handsets.
The handset also boasts mobile broadband (HSDPA) speeds; a ‘H’ will appear in the top left-hand corner when the handset has a HSDPA connection, and a ‘3G’ wil display when you are browsing on 3G speeds. It’s a simple yet effective touch that keeps the user informed as to why their web experience may appear slower than earlier in the day.
RSS feeds or ‘news tickers’ can be programmed so you receive an alert direct to your screen when selected websites have a new news story. A list of selected web feeds is provided on the homepage. Somewhat interestingly, out of those suggested, including BBC and Google News, only the Sony Ericsson Fun & Games feed, the Sony Ericsson press releases feed and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) feed worked. The WTA is, incidentally, sponsored by Sony Ericsson.
Although there’s no built-in GPS, navigation enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that the K660i does come with Google Maps. Your position is located by pinpointing the three nearest cells to you, before providing a guestimate to your exact position within 1,700m. On testing the application we found the results to be far more accurate, usually placing us two or three streets away from our actual location. The service also provides traffic updates as well as a host of points of interest.
The K660i is fitted with Sony Ericsson’s download service PlayNow and TrackID that both take advantage of the handset’s ultra-quick internet speeds. There’s been some talk about revamping PlayNow in the light of other service providers such as Nokia’s Music Store and Vodafone’s MusicStation and, without intending to be too harsh on Sony Ericsson, it certainly needs one. The choice of music, ringtones and games are minimal and, at £3 per track or ringtone, PlayNow is unlikely to generate much business. TrackID is a far superior service, which records a few seconds of a song from your built-in radio or an external music source, before using the internet to identify the name of the artist, track and album. It works a treat even for the most obscure songs.
There’s no 3.5mm jack port found on the device, so you will have to rely on the provided headphones. This can prove to be a frustrating experience as the leads are absurdly long and can easily get tangled up. However, Sony Ericsson has opted to place the port in the bottom of the handset as opposed to the side – something we have been championing the manufacturer to do for months – which proves to be far more convenient when the handset is in your pocket. The K660i also supports Bluetooth stereo (A2DP) if the wires do prove to be too much of a hindrance.
With a two-megapixel camera, the K660i’s camera abilities are fairly modest. As with the internet, it is also designed to be used horizontally. Although there are a number of shortcut routes through the numeric pad, these are not highlighted as they are with the internet. For this reason, it’s more likely that you will simply revert to changing the white balance or shoot mode through the menu screen rather than trying to identify the correct shortcut key. The lack of flash may cause some snappers to rethink purchasing the K660i.
The Sony Ericsson K660i is a devilishly stylish handset that will appeal to the web generation who want a PC-like internet access without having to resort to a more bulky smartphone. Cynics may point to the lack of Wi-Fi as a fundamental oversight for an internet phone, but the mouse-style pointer and shortcut keys are great additions. Sony Ericsson has ensured that though the Cyber-shot range may have moved house, the K-series range looks to continue to produce capable handsets.