Posted by Mike Evans in Articles on November 28, 2007

Christmas is fast approaching, so it’s time to do a few recommendations to help those of you looking to buy a mobile phone for someone as the perfect Christmas present.


The first recommendation is in the camera phone category. Camera phones have been released by the bucket load this year, with 5 megapixels now the norm for the top-end phones. These phones now come with picture quality so good, they’re actually on a par with digital cameras from just a few years ago.


Read on to see which camera phone should you buy for Christmas.


The contenders

The main contenders are the:

  • Nokia N95
  • Sony Ericsson K850i
  • Samsung G800
  • LG Viewty

Each of these offers 5 megapixels, autofocus and a plethora of neat camera tricks – in other words, their high quality camera phones that’ll produce great looking pictures.

Nokia N95

Nokia N95 5 megapixel camera phone
I’ve written about the Nokia N95 many times before, so I won’t repeat here what I’ve said before. Suffice to say the Nokia N95 is one of the best selling mobile phones of 2007, with a tonne of features including Sat-Nav, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, DVD-quality video, and, crucially for this review, a 5 megapixel camera complete with autofocus.


The N95 comes in two variants – the original variant, with 160MB of internal memory (expandable via microSD card), which is now really good value, being offered free by Orange at just £35 per month.; and the newer 8GB version, with 8GB of internal memory, smart graphite exterior and a bigger screen. This, too is, free with a £35 a month tariff, but available only from Vodafone.


In our previous camera phone comparison review, the Nokia N95 came second in terms of picture quality. It’s only downside is relatively large size. If you want a phone that does everything and takes great pictures, you can’t beat the Nokia N95.


We’ve got loads more Nokia N95 information if you need more details.

Sony Ericsson K850i

Sony Ericsson K850i Cyber Shot camera phone
The Sony Ericsson K850i Cyber Shot phone isn’t as well-specced as the Nokia N95, but it does take the best pictures of all the camera phones on the market today. Currently on offer for free with a £30 per month tariff on O2 (with the first six months at just £2.99), the K850i is pricey, but can’t be beaten for photo quality.


Annoyingly, the K850i only comes with EDGE connectivity, not the super-fast 3.6Mbps HSDPA connectivity of the N95. As such, you should look at the K850i more as a top-notch camera and phone, rather than a camera phone.


Again, we have more Sony Ericsson K850i information if you need more details.

LG Viewty KU990

LG KU990 Viewty 5 megapixel camera phone
The LG Viewty is another 5 megapixel camera phone, but this time, one with a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, it offers a touchscreen interface, which is both intuitive and also offers the wow factor that the K850i doesn’t quite generate.


More impressively, though, is the 160 frames per second DVD-quality video recording, which lets you take videos and then play them back in slow motion.


The Viewty’s pictures aren’t as good as the Nokia N95’s or Sony Ericsson K850i’s, though, so if it’s picture quality you’re after, it’s best to go for another model. However, it offers the best video recording ability of the phones listed here, and its touchscreen is a nice touch.


Orange currently have the LG Viewty on sale for free on a £35 per month tariff.

Samsung G600

Samsung G600 5 megapixel camera phone
Samsung released the Samsung G600 a while back, and although it’s a 5 megapixel camera, it really wasn’t all that good. It’s not that it was bad – it’s just that its picture quality wasn’t as good as the K850i, N95 or the Viewty, which, given that it’s mainly a camera phone, was a bit of a let down.


That said, at 14.9mm, the G600 is the slimmest 5 megapixel camera phone on the market, and its pictures are still superb, so if it’s looks, style and slimness that you’re after in your 5 megapixel camera phone, you really can’t beat it.


O2 are offering the Samsung G600 for free on a £35 per month tariff.

Samsung G800

Samsung G800 camera phone
The Samsung G600 may be small, but it can’t quite compete with the other 5 megapixel camera phones in terms of picture quality. Fortunately, Samsung is never one to back down from the challenge, and so has released the Samsung G800 just in time for Christmas.


The G800 comes with xenon flash for proper photos in low-light conditions, one-touch mobile blogging, HSDPA for super-fast wireless connectivity and 3x optical zoom. Its picture quality is also comparable to the K850i, meaning it’s actually better than the N95’s.


O2 are currently offering the Samsung G800 for free on a £35 a month tariff, which is terrific value given how new this phone is.

Which camera phone should you buy this Christmas?

So, which camera phone should you buy this Christmas? Here are my recommendations.

  • 1). Samsung G800
    Pictures as good as the K850i, but with HSDPA and optical zoom. The clear winner.
  • 2). Sony Ericsson K850i
    The benchmark in terms of image quality. Just a shame about its relatively sparse feature-list.
  • 3). Nokia N95

    Great camera, fantastic phone, with more features than you’ll know what to do with. But this review’s based on the quality of the camera, and the N95’s is marginally poorer than the G800 and K850i’s.
  • 4). LG Viewty
    Image quality good, but not as good as the top 3, but a great touchscreen and the best in class video recorder.
  • 5). Samsung G600

    Still a great camera phone compared to others, but not compared to the line up here. Super-slim, though, and extremely fashionable.