The camera’s 2 megapixels sounds impressive but the Sharp 902 is not a substitute for a dedicated digital camera. It's useful for snaps, and even then it is at its best outdoors. We found that in dim lighting conditions performance, even with the flash, it was not on a par with a standalone digital camera.
Now here’s a strange thing: the 902 has a built-in scanner. It has separate modules for scanning barcodes, email addresses, URLs and phone numbers as well as straight text right into the phone. We had variable success with it, and positioning the camera just right is somewhat fiddly. Given that data entry using the keys is so easy, this feature seems extraneous.
While the video out feature is nice, we’d rather have been provided with a USB cable than the video leads and preferably both. As it is, you’ll need either to buy a USB accessory or use Bluetooth to synch data.
Memory in general is a problem. Just 8.5MB is available on board for image and videos you shoot, stuff you download, and Java games you install. You will need a memory card and the 32MB supplied card won’t be enough. We like having the SD card slot on the side of the casing, so that cards can be ‘hot-swapped’.
With Bluetooth on board using a wireless headset is no problem. Doing so means you will miss out on the stereo output through the provided headset which we found to be excellent. There are four tone control settings and you can pump up the bass. Music is interrupted by incoming calls. As you would expect, the built-in stereo speakers don't give you great audio, and the output is relatively quiet.
The 902 has the range of applications you’d expect from a phone of this calibre including diary, contact manager, voice recorder, currency converter, alarm, stopwatch and so on. PC connectivity software is provided for you to synchronise the calendar and contact book and share data such as pictures or videos you’ve shot or downloaded.
Call quality was good, as was 3G performance as far as Vodafone Live! services are concerned. The wider Web was a mixed experience. The BBC’s low graphics news page loaded well, but Amazon.co.uk, which is more complex, took ages to load. When browsing we got some ‘insufficient memory’ reports, and with Web pages in memory we found the phone’s response to button presses slower than usual.
Battery life was impressive. Sharp says you should get 140 minutes of talktime and 240 hours of standby from the 902. We spent a 48-hour period making video calls, using Vodafone Live! and generally testing the phone without charging. Still, we wouldn’t like to try and last for a long weekend without the mains power cable.
Edited by Michael Parsons
Additional editing by Tom Espiner