The T650i is the spiritual successor to the much loved T610i, but Sony Ericsson has done more than just produce a rehash of an old favourite because this updated model boasts both an innovative new design and impressive 3G features.
The handset is available for free on most contracts or can be bought for around £270 SIM-free online.
Sony Ericsson has come up with some flashy-looking phones of late and the T650i continues the trend. Its metallic case looks pleasingly industrial and bestows the phone with a distinctly solid feel, but it's the square, metal buttons that give it a unique design identity. They may look like they'd be rather torturous to use, but in actual fact your thumb glides across them quite comfortably and they're very responsive when tapping out long text messages.
Under these buttons the T650i has flashy keypad backlights similar to those found on the S500i. Basically the lights can be animated in waves to move in tandem with your chosen screen saver, or to just act as a novel way of alerting you to an incoming call. It's a simple idea and to be honest rather useless, but it's the first feature that proud owners are going to show off to their mates and it certainly does the trick of adding to the phone's desirability.
As the handset supports 3G it has a secondary camera for video calling. The VGA camera at the front is so discreetly placed you have to look closely to actually notice that it's there, but the 3.2-megapixel offering on the rear is more prominent. Thanks to the autofocus and LED flash it produces good results even when working in relatively low light, so it's definitely something you'll make plenty of use of.
The screen uses scratch-resistant mineral glass and although it's a little small compared to those now found on some rivals, it's razor-sharp and does a great job of displaying pictures or showing pages in the excellent Web browser.
As with most of the latest Sony Ericsson handsets, the T650i is also a dab hand at music. It includes an excellent music player that's very easy to use and comes with top-quality sound-isolating headphones that are capable of producing a fearsome amount of bass.
Both the call quality and the reception are excellent and the phone has very impressive battery life. It stores enough juice to let you chat for 7 hours solid and it'll tick over happily for over 12 days on standby.
In truth there really isn't much wrong with the T650i, but if you're looking for a weakness then you'll find it in the supplied docking cradle. It's actually not much of a cradle at all, but instead a rather odd contraption that you slot the phone into sideways when you want to charge it or dock it with your computer. It's so fiddly to use you'll probably just end up ignoring it and use the supplied charger and USB leads instead.
Also, although the phone's music features are generally excellent, the onboard speaker is rather weedy and not something you'll really want to grace your favourite tracks with. But let's be honest here -- the only people who really play music through their phone's speaker are ASBO kids intent on annoying fellow users of public transport.
Another issue is that like all Sony Ericsson phones, the T650i stores tunes on M2 Memory Stick cards, which are rather more expensive to buy than the more common microSD variety used by pretty much all other handsets. You'll definitely need to purchase a larger one if you're going to make the most of the phone's features, as the one included in the box offers a rather measly 256MB of storage space.
The T650i is a top-class handset that not only looks great, but is packed full of excellent features. It's free on most contracts or costs £270 SIM-free and if you're looking for a mobile that stands out from the crowd then you could do much worse than bagging yourself this stylish phone.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire