The MTN MyCall 100 Dilemma: Nokia vs Sony Ericsson

Since I’m regarded a nerd by my friends now, and have the award to prove it, I think it is time I write some nerdy tech articles. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to get all technical with you and throw in some scary tech jargon, I’m keeping it simple and friendly enough for the average reader.

My dilemma this past month has been what phone to upgrade to on my MTN MyCall 100. The best two options: The Sony Ericsson W800i and the Nokia N70. After much consideration, including numerous trips to MTN shacks, and countless web reviews, I made my decision.

Nokia N70 vs Sony Ericsson W800i

The Nokia N70, probably the most sort after phone in South Africa at the moment, is packed full of gizmos and applications. It has a 2MB VGA camera (can take both video and photos) with flash, Radio + MP3 Player, and a 64MB Memory Card. Its big pro is that it supports 3G, which means that when MTN eventually finalise this facility, you will be able to watch certain TV channels on your phone, plus make video calls to other 3G users.

Its cons are that its body is soft and easily scratches, its buttons are too close together, and according to numerous sources its software is slow and sometimes even crashes. It’s big con is that it has a huge waiting period, as stock is very low and comes in drips and drabs from Nokia distributors. I’ve already been waiting 6 weeks, and today I was told its another 8 weeks until I will get my hands on one.

The Sony Ericsson W800i is also very popular here in South Africa. It comes with pretty much all the features of the Nokia N70, except 3G, which is quite a big drawback. It comes with a 512MB memory card though, has a better camera (according to numerous reliable sources), and better sound quality. After all its parts come from Sony.

So which did I go for, *drumroll*, are you kidding, I’m not waiting 14 weeks for a phone that enables me to use 3G in 6 months time at a crazy price. The Sony Ericcson W800i won this battle.

Now send me your comments and make me feel really good, or really bad about the decision I made.

The camera test: Sony Ericsson D750 (Same camera as in W800i) vs. Nokia N70
Specifications of phones taken from

A brief review and a load of comments on the W800i at Engadget


26 responses

  1. One of the guys over here just got an N70 (also after a loooong wait), and I must say that it’s pretty impressive… It doesn’t synchronise totally with Exchange though, but the multimedia (both photo and video) is awesome.

    Me? I’m a bit more of geek, so I’m patiently waiting for this, just (and this is the killer) so I can do this. Oh yeah!

    1. I found the Nokia N70 a bit slower and within 24 hours it froze up on me which I heard is a common problem with the N70 at the moment

  2. That is a sperious phone Martin. Think you’ll be waiting a while for it to hit SA market. And then wait another year on the waiting list. Get your order in now! 10MB camera!

    Your quite the fan of One Note I’m starting to gather. Lol.

    Thanks for the “making me feel good” comment about the wrong phone! 🙁

  3. That Fujitsu Siemens looks very cool. I am going to hold out and see if the iPhone materialises.

    Mark, MTN is running 3G (although I concede it sometimes doesn’t seem like it). I have a Nokia 6630 which runs on 3G. Given the choice between the N70 and the SE, I’d probably also go for the N70 although there aren’t any phones that really interest me at the moment. I’ll wait for the next generation of 3G and the phones that support it.

    Phone technology isn’t that exciting at the moment. No ‘wow’ stuff.

  4. I would def follow you Paul and wait a bit longer, but my phone has a mind of its own and turns off whenever its feeling even slightly bleak.

    MTN 3G has a long way to go I think. Even the lady who sold me the phone said its going to take till at least June/July to materialise into something special.

  5. Went through the same thing a year ago. At that time had the choice of taking a SE V800 or waiting a bit for the Nokia 6680. Sadly, I made the choice of taking the V800. Worst phone I have ever had. The battery seldom lasts out a day. The phone has been back for “repairs” more times then I care to mention, has had a replacement battery etc.

    The network blames the phone, SE blames the network. The phone doesnt work as advertised and nobody really cared. Wont touch a Sony Ericsson again still not too charmed with Vodacom.

    Hope things work out better for you with this one.

  6. Hey Mark,

    I wanted a slimline 3G phone, so I got the SE V600i (Vodafone version of the K600), a big drawback of this phone is that it has no memory expansion slot, but oh well I don’t use it to play mp3’s on as I got a standalone player, also the camera sucks, but I got a CyberShot for that.

    Otherwise I really like the features of the phone, its not like a business phone but you can’t beat the SE UI (6680 has a crappy one) and it should have everything you need, easy to connect to your windows PC via USB, IR or bluetooth. I use the flashlight and radio a LOT which I didn’t expect.

    For the SE non believers let me just say that I own an old T300 that my wife uses and it totally rocks, never skipped a beat, even after a dropkick and a drowning.

    The V600 battery WILL drain within 3 – 4 days if you keep the 3G on, switch it off if you don’t need it.

    Also I must say its wierd that people compare smart phones with lifestyle/fashion phones, they are not really the same, get the N** when you need to run spreadsheats, full browsers etc. Just a note, if you want a smartphone, I think there is no better platform than Windows Mobile *duck*, and no , I am not a “Windows” supporter I just think that the mobile platform is fantastic and I am still to be shown a better one.

    I do like the w800i , I have to friends that own one, and they love it, one guy replaced his D600 with one.

  7. Mark, don’t get me wrong, I just complimented the N70 because I’ve played with it. On the SE side, I really like my brother’s old K700i – the Sony-Ericsson interfaces are actually really intuitive, and the screens are pretty damned good, so I’m sure the W800 would be pretty cool!

    OneNote? Naturally yes, it kicks total ass, even without the upcoming Windows Mobile version. With it, its gonna rock Chuck out of his beard.

    I agree with Paul about the “wow” factor, and with you on waiting. I don’t think we’ll see the Loox devices available as contract-inclusions from any of the operators, sadly. I’m still keen though… Conrad: you’re right, Windows Mobile is far superior to Symbian at the moment.

    Let me go charge my old Motorola Smartphone now, it’s been a whole day!

  8. Conrad you are completely right, I am comparing a “lifestyle” phone with a smart phone, why? I thought it would be interesting to see what people look for in a phone when purchasing one. Do they understnad the difference, and do they see past its looks, or brand name, and really think about what functionality they require.

    I didn’t really need a smart phone, my laptop does all that functionality for me. iBurst is my personal choice over 3G at the moment, and cheaper. I wanted something with a good camera, so that I can take some spur of the moment shots, a friendly interface, which I agree with Martin the W800i does have, and a good battery life (hopefully, we will see…). The 512MB add-on memory card is a huge bonus.

    As far as I know the Nokia N70 comes with a 64MB memory card, of which like 35MB is used for its software. Surely a smartphone requires more memory than that?

    Thanks for the comments guys keep em coming.

  9. Bru why dont you just change service providers, Vodacom has 3G Waxed already. My current phone Sony E’s K700i has some serious software issues which has totally put me off Sony, my next phone wil def be a nokia….Anyway i am sure Sony have upgraded their software since!!

    Anyway…chat later..


  10. Nokia gets my vote, everytime i stray i regret it. I have the 6680 and a few odd memory issues aside its been great. Both business and lifestyle functions have been very good. Apparently the N70 is a extension of this thus i would go for it. Use it, dont use.

    Great site by the way. Happy friday.

  11. It’s “sought after” not “sort after”, by the way 😉

  12. Bryce Lloyd Avatar
    Bryce Lloyd

    Whats important to me in a phone ? Camera, Screen size/resolution, build and looks.

    Been sitting with a K750 now for almost a year, had it back for repair twice, just suddenly decides to play up. Upside, it does have a great camera and with a large mem card plays MP3s fine. Build quality far better than the Nokias. It works, it makes calls, it sends messages and rings ! I dont think I would look at the N70 either, to big and as you say build not great! My question is what phone out there actually has good build quality, looks cool and functions. Every phone out there seems to do to much and not offer a good all round package. As for 3G its been here in the UK for near on 3 years and only just becoming interesting, watching TV on a mobile doesnt make much sense to me so it doesn’t interest me. As for the cost it’s still pricey. I would imagine MTNs still got some time go before it has a decent content and service to offer.

    To be honest i’m not convinced with the cell phone market at the moment, I’m up for renewal soon and dont really have a phone in mind! Nokia is probably still my preferred make. Sony was good but not good enough.

  13. Watching TV on your cellphone seems ridiculous to me anyway. Squinting your eyes trying to make out what the picture is, on a 200 X 250 pixel screen, just ain’t fun!

    Took some great pics with me new cellphone last night. So far, so good.

  14. […] Some dude, lets call him Eric , took these fantastic photos using a W800i just like mine. I hope Big Concerts don’t find out. The picture quality looks brilliant, except when the zoom is used. […]

  15. Idiots stop comparing nokias smartphones with the se toys. Those things (k750,w800,d750) are all toys for babies and the cameras are not better only on macro shots the n70 is far superior. I can watch a whole 700mb movie on the n70 and it looks really damn good all those se craps are good for is nothing when compared to a smartphone

  16. A whole 700mb movie in avi format using smartmovie and so many programs are out and as for crashes just get the new firmware and the mp3 quality is good u can always change the mp3 program when t want se cameras do not know the meaning of color n70 is just better i shoudnt even be comparing them.

  17. The N70 talktime = 3.5 hours – absolute granny! I’d rather take the 6680 – 6 hours.

  18. I’ve got the w800i excellent phone great camera brilliant mp3 player with EQ that actually works plus a mega bass feature not to mention the booming earplug headset. There are some major problems with the software at first and it needs to be flashed and flexed but if this is done the phone is a pocket wonder the high rez pics, the music, the browser all in that tiny package. The nokia is all of that and 3G but it is bulky and cannot be worn around your neck unless you are a wwf wresler. I love my se w800i in its crystal shell there is no more sexy phone, chicks love it too!

  19. […] The helpful comments I received on my Nikon D50 vs Canon 350d post, helped me chose my camera, the Canon 350d. The comments I received on my Nokia N70 vs Sony Ericsson W800i post helped me chose my W800i cellphone. Now the time has come for the Music Player battle. […]

  20. I have to say SE W800i,actually really rocks.
    It has almost everything that a mobile user needs.
    The 2MegaPixel Camera is awesome, what really put this one above the N phone from Nokia is the bundled 512MB memory stick, also if you want an upgrade on memory capacity, the price is much cheaper compared to its counterpart, The Walkman logo is also quite stylish that catches
    the attention of other mobile users..boy!! SE really gets this one going..

    The 3G drawback as what they say isn’t really that much, 3G has got along way to go, and by that time that 3G is set for the power users, there will be new phones that is more suitable for the consumer to indulged on.

    SE W800i definitely has my vote on this one.

  21. w800 is g#y sicks n70 way beter media good

  22. Eilesia Avatar

    I have the N70, upgraded on MyCall100 in May 2007. The only issue I do have is the software, which is slow and really, it does crash.
    I phoned MTN and they need to test if the phone needs a software upgrade, usually takes up to 1 and a 1/2 months as it has to be sent away. How can I ever last this long without my phone?
    I guess I have to sort it out one way or the other or just accept the fact that I will get frustrated from time to time.

  23. Ahoy…
    I have two K750i’s in my pockets 🙂
    oh, and it’s now 2007, i got them in 2005.
    Ja i know u got the W800… i’m about to redo the firmware to W800 on one of them in case it farks out.
    My buddy had the N70, the niggle i have about the SE, besides that it doesn’t have 3G (does MTN have that now?), is the video recording format… 3gp sucks big time!
    There’re a lot more pro’s to the SE than u might know! it has a virtual com-port thru bluetooth…
    ok… forgot the rest of the stuff… i’s never owned a nokia and doubt i ever will.


  25. i am a little late for this but i had both and the 3g just diddent do it for me i needed the mass media capibilitys of the w800i it interfaces with my psp seamsley so i8 cam watch my vids and listen to music on both devices with out problems… the nokia was nice just not what i needed

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