Sony ericsson spiro

Well, it's probably fair to say we weren't expecting great things from the Sony Ericsson Spiro's 2-megapixel camera.

Unusually for a mobile phone cameras, you don't have to rotate the handset to get the landscape orientation you want most of the time. Hold the phone up straight and you get the proper size appearing on-screen, with the wasted space on the portrait screen taken up by controls.

Not that there's much in the way of controls, but there are a few. There's a 2x digital zoom (provided you aren't using the large image size setting). There's also an exposure setting, with the volume buttons adding up to two stops either way.

Delve into the options and you can turn on a few other treats. Night mode is available, along with a self-time and some effects, such as Negative and Sepia.

White balance can be adjusted and there's a choice between Normal and Fine picture quality – or there would have been, if we could have managed to get the camera to take a picture with the Fine setting on. It would appear to be taking the photo, but none would appear in the gallery.

In fact, after we got back to TechRadar's secret volcano lair, we pulled all the photos out onto a computer to find that the two image files were there, but were totally unreadable.

The actual taking of a photo is pretty slow. After your press the shutter, a couple of seconds will go by before there's any result. To be fair, our images didn't show any signs of slow shutter speed, so we assume it's just the software compression that takes the time.

Sony ericsson spiro

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FOCUS PLEASE: No part of this shot really seems to be in focus, and there isn't much crispness to any part of it. The colours don't look particularly natural, particularly the pink tint in the sky. There's also a heavy helping of digital noise in the shot

Sony ericsson spiro

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COLOUR COMMENTARY: This shot fares rather better when it comes to colour reproduction. The flowers are vibrant and actually quite accurate. However, the camera seems to struggle with contrasting exposures, with some shaded parts of the shot losing a lot of detail, while the sky is badly blown-out

Sony ericsson spiro

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SWAN DIVE: Though the ripples at the top of this picture actually look rather smooth and detailed, the rest doesn't. Just to be clear: that's a real swan made out of hundreds of textured feathers, not out of a solid polystyrene lump, which is what it looks more like here. The rocks at the bottom of the photo are suffering from a serious case of compression artefacting