Sony Ericsson T700 review
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The Sony Ericsson T700 evolved from W890i, resulting in its non-musical version with an altered Design and choice of materials, plus a few items missing from the sales package. While W980i is entirely crafted from metal, T700 only uses small bits of this expensive material to help reduce the price. The size and functionality were left intact, so if you are looking for a miniature-scale, slim-built handset you might find T700 a fair alternative to W890i coming at a less bourgeois price. A shift in the materials towards a cheaper build still makes an excellent bargain.
T700 is a slim candy bar with only a bit of metal used in the construction. The surface of the casing exhibits varying textures at different spots, the choice of colors is ideal; the model looks really exquisite – you wouldn’t say it was mid-end, ex facte. The feels like a monolith body, the quality of plastic and assembly are as high as one might expect in a hi-end product. The ergonomics is also very impressive. The handset is only one centimeter thick and not too big in general. It doesn’t cause any discomfort when stored in a pocket and gives the hand a light, homely feel. Comparing its size with that of the competitive solutions, it becomes apparent that the SE handset is a bit shorter and displays a fair parity in the other two dimensions.
Unlike the full metal Samsung U800 Soul or SE W980i, this model has a casing crafted mainly from plastic, the only two metal pieces are the battery bay cover and the framing around the screen. The metal possesses an elaborate texture that looks great exposed to direct light at different angles. The two alternate color variants available are black’n’silver and black’n’red, the same two color schematics that the best-selling SE T610i used.
The keyboard is notable for its high ergonomics stemming from the large, well-separated buttons. The block of navigation controls isn’t as good as the main keyboard, but you get used to it in a couple of days. Its keys are crowded, at times resulting in stray keystrokes. The keyboard backlight is of a white color, not too bright but very even, clearly visible from a distance even in darker environments. The navigation keys are covered by a paint coating of dubious nature – the substance peeled off at the edges of the keys after a few days’ use. The same trouble haunted Sony Ericsson T650i. Thanks goodness at least the numerical buttons aren’t as bad, - in fact those are able stand tear and wear quite well.
The side-positioned elements come in a standard bunch. The shoot button is a simple single-position trigger due to the lack of an auto-focusing feature. The interface connector is put on the side once again, Sony Ericsson’s really bad habit striking back. The M2 slot (not unfriendly to hot swapping) is another thing that is seated on the casing’s edge, complemented with a 512 Mb flash card coming in the sales package. But if you have something plugged into the Fast-port slot, you are sure to have some trouble swapping the cards because of the vanishingly short distance between it and the memory expansion slot. The battery bay cover is fixed with two improvised locks, exploiting the same scheme with W890i. This eliminates any possible play between the parts, enhancing the monolith feel.
T700 is equipped with a QVGA TFT screen sporting a resolution of 320x240, but the diagonal is disappointingly short – you get no more than a mere two inches. The color palette is nothing to brag about either, being an archaic 262k colors (while Nokia has long switched to 16M color screens). The picture quality is decent – contrast, saturation and brightness are quite good. Not ideal but very remote from being annoying either. The view angles are excellent. The mirror backing makes T700 sun-resistant to a good extent. The size and quality put this screen in the same category with the screens of Samsung U800 Soul and Nokia 6500 Classic.
The Camera of T700 is a plain 3.2 Mp unit without auto-focusing. The same kind of camera is used in W760i and G705 – the solution isn’t positioned as a photographic one. A LED flash is available, alternatively acting as a flashlight or a backlight during video shooting sessions. The quality of video, - surprisingly! – is on a level with the rest of recently released models including C905 – QVGA@30fps. A camera launch / shoot button is located on the right edge of the casing, the volume controls alternatively serving to scale the zoom factor while in the shooting mode. It takes only a few instants to save a photo into the memory.
The main interface uses a landscape orientation and exhibits no difference from G805. Even the settings are all the same. Three small icons are shown on the right, used to switch between the photo, video and gallery modes. The viewfinder window features a variety of status icons indicating standard parameters like the current resolution, the remaining number of shots and so on. Geo-tagging is supported.
Pressing the left navigation button brings up a brand Cyber-shot-styled menu. Unlike with the more powerful cameraphones, multiple settings are missing: you can’t change scene presets, tweak ISO level, in fact you get only the most basic options:
• Shoot modes: Normal, Panorama, Frames, Burst
• Picture size: 3 MP (2048x1536), 2 MP (1632x1224), 1 MP (1280x960), VGA (640x480)
• Self-timer: 3, 5, 10
• Effects: Off, Black & white, Negative, Sepia
• White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent
• Picture quality: Normal, Fine
• Shutter sounds: On, Off
• Turn on time and date: adds a geo tag to the image
• Shoot modes: Normal, Panorama, Frames, Burst
• Video size: QVGA (320x240), QCIF (176x144)
• Night mode: Yes
• Turn on/off microphone: Off, Auto
• Reset file number: same with photo mode
• Effects: Off, Black & white, Negative, Sepia
The photo quality is average, suffering from the lack of auto-focusing. You have to be shooting in a properly lit environment in order to get a good shot; a lack of lighting results in a drastic drop in picture quality. Obviously, the camera isn’t a key feature in this model. In principle, a mid-end handset with no emphasis on the camera this sort of solution is perfectly excusable, the competitive Samsung U800 Soul, Nokia 6500 classic are deprived of any auto-focusing capability, too. Here come a few photo samples:
Sony Ericsson T700 supports four GSM frequency bands (850/900/1800/1900) as well as HSDPA 2100 networks. There’ s no frontal cam for video calls available, the element quickly phasing out from use in the latter days. A luminance sensor is seated above the screen, automatically tweaking the screen brightness level. Wireless Connectivity is limited to Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR only. It works just as fine as expected, bringing about no trouble with wireless stereo headset. The following profiles are available:
• Basic Imaging
• Dial-up Networking
• File Transfer
• Generic Access
• Generic Object Exchange
• JSR-82 Java API
• Object Push
• Personal Area Networking
• Serial Port
• SyncML OBEX binding
• Audio/Video Remote Control
• Phonebook Access
The Flight Mode is only available with an active SIM card; you still can turn on the phone that has no SIM card inserted, but feature like player and camera become inaccessible until you put the SIM card back into the slot. That’s a huge downside of the series as compared to the host of models by other brands that never suffered from such a silly limitation.
The cable communication is done through a firmware connector. The USB 2.0 standard is officially supported, but in real life the data transfer speed stays below the alleged 800 Kb/s. Modem, Mass Storage and PictBridge connection types are supported. The wanted connection mode can be selected in the corresponding menu. Our tests revealed no problems with the Mass Storage mode, both disks were successfully detected (the onboard memory unit and the flash card). Phone-to-PC synchronization is possible with the help of bundled Sony Ericsson PC Suite Software coming on a disk that you’ll find in the box.
The model utilizes a standard type of battery, a BST-33 950 mAh unit. The manufacturing company claims a battery life of 9.5 hours of talk time or 370 hours of standby. A standard duty cycle (an hour of talking, about two hours of listening to the music and an hour of menu interaction) the phone stays online for 2.5-3 days – a result that’s hardly going to disappoint anyone. It’s a general rule that regardless of the hardware power and product class, Sony Ericsson products maintain the same good battery life in all instances. We can’t say this result is breathtaking but it isn’t discomfort able or frustrating either.
The software Performance is the same with W890i, T700 being only a variation of a previous concept. You won’t find any JP-8.4 support here. Synthetic 2D graphics rendering tests reveal a high performance level, but 3D applications seem to be a harder trial for this model than for its senior counterpart.
There’s a number of different themes available, each making the interface look in a different way. There are two traditional view modes available for the main menu: the traditional grid, a merry-go-round or one large icon per screen. The menu uses rich animation effects. Sony Ericsson handsets sport some of the best looking menu graphics among all existing mobile devices. Nokia phones come in the second place, S40v6 platform offering some really nice graphics… but at the price of a laggy performance.
Multimedia features come in a standardized package for all Sony Ericsson handsets based of the A200 platform. The Media application is the traditional content viewer with an interface tailored after the brand looks of Sony PSP, making extensive use of the accelerometer that switches the screen orientation as you rotate the handset in space… or at least it would be so if T700 had one, but in facts the accelerometer is missing, resulting in a rarely encountered unavailability of a standard feature. Still, you can switch the screen orientation manually in the settings menu. The interface enjoys some really nice graphics and all sorts of animated transition effects as you move from one menu item to another. The interface looks the same for all recent SE handsets regardless of product class and positioning, even UIQ smartphones using the same scheme and looks.
The player interface is of the brand Sony Ericsson type common for all latest models. The settings include looped and random playback, sorting by artist and genre, enhanced stereo and progressive track rewinding. The player can change skins, switching between completely different appearances, which is something you won’t get with a Nokia. The playlists are easily sorted and modified. It’s possible to add and remove tracks one by one or in a bunch simply by checking the checkboxes. The number of tracks per playlist is unlimited. There are five equalizers available plus the brand Mega Bass feature.
The grave difference separating this model from all the latest Walkman phones is a lack of Clear Audio Experience support, a pack of features helping to improve the sounding to a perceptible extent. Sony Ericsson W980i and W902 are known to have a substantially better sound as compared to the bulk of the recent models, the settings are very flexible and give a fine opportunity to find a sounding that fits your liking the best, combined with a set of equalizers. The non-musical SE phones lack features like Shake Control and Sense Me. The color gamma of the player application is also different, but the rest of the features stay the same. So, generally speaking, T700 offers a player on par with the rest of solutions found among non-Walkman SE phones.
The TrackID service enjoys a full support. Using it you can capture a fragment from a song currently playing on the radio or in the music player; then the phone automatically submits the fragment to a web server that tries to identify the track through reference to its vast database. If the song is successfully identified, you are replied with an short message telling the name of the song and artiest; furthermore, you’re offered to purchase the song online. The service must prove a very interesting offer to all sorts of music fans, the audience mainly consisting of young people. Combined with the onboard FM tuner, this feature is at times great fun.
After wading great lengths through the stall water, Sony Ericsson at last presents us with something fresh and attention-worthy. This one isn’t a blockbuster like T610i or K750i, but a really very appealing little toy. G705 fell very much t our liking, but T700 is something we were most happy to meet. It’s a mid-end fashion-wannabe candy bar that carries some real quality and feel along with its ambitions. Besides looking exquisite, it maintains a neutral and diplomatic feel. The specifications are far from the edge of the technology, but you can’t expect more from a miniature-sized and slim candy bar. Some time ago, SE handsets used to be overpriced, C905 being a typical instance. Now things take a quantum leap, quality meeting the price on the most beneficial terms. G705 is tagged 300 euros while T700 sells off for a mere 180. According to the official statements, the company will go on revising their price policy, pulling down the average item price. Unfortunately, not as fast as some desire.
In fact, Sony Ericsson T700 is a smart downgrade of W980i for those who don’t care for music and the Walkman brand. Camera power for sacrificed in favor of a lower price as well, so auto-focus went missing, on the other hand allowing the handset to shrink a bit smaller. The T series of Sony Ericsson products is known to put much emphasis on style and design, and T700 scores an epic win in these aspects. But tastes are known to differ from person to person... The closest competitive products are Samsung U800 Soul and Nokia 6500 Classic. These two are equally good alternatives with fully comparable functionality, so it’s up to the buyer’s personal preferences to pick the one that suits him best.