The front is dominated by a 2.4-inch display, a QVGA (240x320 pixels), 262,144-colour TFT that's pretty much standard issue for mid-range Sony Ericssons. No touch control here, though it's bright and clear enough for imaging duties
An accelerometer is built in, so the screen will switch orientation automatically as the phone's tilted between portrait and landscape mode. This motion-sensing is integrated into most media functions, such as the photo gallery, music player, video player and web browser, but not with all the phone's features and applications.
The front panel controls, based around the navigation pad, are sensibly arranged and easy to handle.
Two sliver-thin softkeys under the display are adequately spaced from the Call and End buttons to make selection error free.
A standard Sony Ericsson Activity Menu buttons directs you into a series of lists of shortcuts for useful features and applications– Bluetooth, TrackID, Google Maps, recent web links, and suchlike
The navigation D-pad too is set-up conventionally for shortcuts (which can easily be user-defined in the menus), and feels comfortable and responsive to use in normal handling.
One small issue we came across in handling was the accidental touching of navigation pad shortcuts when opening and closing the slider. The balance of the handset favours sliding it by thumb-pushing towards the bottom of the screen.
Doing this, however, we regularly found our thumb brushing off the 'up' D-pad option, activating the calendar when opening or closing it. We found this more niggling than annoying, though.
More irritating was the phone's occasional tendency to unlock its keypad auto-lock in-pocket, with several inadvertent calls made to recent callers, or other shortcuts activated. It could be down to the ease with which the two-shortkey press unlock combination could be activated by accidental pocket pressure.
The C903's slider keypad slips out with a smooth, spring-loaded action. The numberpad comprises a single smooth panel; we normally prefer individual keys. But the rows of well-spaced numbers are gently contoured to differentiate them, and amply responsive to the touch, making for a generally reliable text-inputting experience.