CLONMEL -- I've started using the Sony Ericsson S700i right out of the box and before I read the user's manual, I snapped a few pictures. As expected, the well-lighted settings result in the best images. But even zoom and low light provide good documentation of people, places and things. Plus, it's a pocket-sized camera. Although it's not as lightweight as a dedicated pocket camera, its unimposing form factor means the little guy will certainly be a pocket away and close to the action. It certainly is very easy to use. One note: it pays to hold steady as you shoot at night because the camera records a second after you push the button to snap the image.
Update one week later: This is a cameraphone more than a smart phone. Its form factor is like a small camera. It shoots like a small camera would snap a photo. I've given it to three people to snap away. They figured out how to turn it on, point, click and shoot with me merely nodding approval. The random survey shows that ordinary blokes have rudimentary photo composition skills and the steady hands to produce quality "snap" shots. Moreoever, the snap shots look good when printed as 4x6 photos and they look good on Flickr. Sony has built a winner in the S700i cameraphone.
Update two weeks later: The S700i's brilliant screen coexists with keys in my pocket and doesn't get sratched. The back of the phone is easily scratched around the circular ring of its camera lens. I've had quasi-toothing experiences with the phone, getting and giving MP3 files in a classroom of students who have Nokia Bluetooth phones.
Image of HP scanner's controls in full zoom mode with Sony Ericsson S700i camera.
First video shot on a typical (bumpy) Irish road requires a full version of Real Player 10 to run it or try this AVI file (4 MB).
Flickr users are tagging many of their S700i photos with the phone's model number and there are some fun images worth seeing there. The images confirm that early adopters of technology often have wads of disposable income.