Sony Ericsson Z770i review
Click the stars to rate
535,955 Rated by :
AP Price: N/A
By Michell Bak, 23rd of May 2008
Sony Ericssonís sales strategy of manufacturing similar products with only physical and minor Software changes seems to be a safe strategy. Personally, Iím not a fan safe strategies, but after having used the slim Z770 for some days, I do see why Sony Ericsson continuously announces phones that are very similar to already announced phones. Itís all about style and Design - and thatís whatís important on the global market at the moment.
The Z770 is basically a clamshell version of the K660, which I reviewed not too long ago. In order for us to not repeat ourselves over and over again, weíll exclude any parts of the review that has already been discussed in the K660 review. Please refer to that review, if you feel youíre missing something.
Official product pictures of the Sony Ericsson Z770
- Very slick design and beautiful finish on the front
- Outer display is useful, and looks classy
- Impressive tactile feedback on keypad
- Tri-band GSM, EDGE and 3.6 Mbps HSDPA
- Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
- Crisp and bright 2.2-inch inner display
- FM radio with RDS support
- Positioning services with Google Maps pre-loaded
- NetFront 3.4 with enhanced functionality
- Only monochrome outer display
- Camera lacks sharpness
- Plain backside design
- Loose battery cover
- No memory card nor USB cable comes bundled
- No Flash themes
The Z770 is quite unique. Itís a new kind of product by Sony Ericsson, and the design is something weíve never quite seen before in any previous Sony Ericsson products. This new way of thinking is something weíll see in a few upcoming Sony Ericsson phones, although I have a feeling it wonít be particularly popular, as itís not all positive. Because of this untraditional design on the Z770, you have a very bad sense of where the keys on the keypad are located if youíre not directly looking at it. The W980 is another one of these untraditionally designed phones by Sony Ericsson, and here most people will have a problem with the placement of the camera.
The Z770 sales box is quite small, and you get the most basic accessories and a bit extra bundled with the Z770. The Z770 comes bundled with a Bluetooth headset (HBH-PV703), which Iím going to do a write-up about later on, a standard HPM-62 stereo headset, a charger (CST-60 in my case) and manuals. Thereís no USB cable, software CD or a memory card with the Z770 - I find this somewhat weird, but Iím guessing it was done to cut down the expenses.
Slick is the keyword
Z770 is a clamshell phone for the stylish-minded among us. It measures 93 x 48 x 16 millimetres closed, and weighs in at a mere 91 grams. Its slim size and relatively low weight makes it very attractive, and thereís no chance of it not fitting in your pocket. Itís available in Exquisite Golden, Graphite Black & Vogue Red colour trimmings. My choice of colour would be the Graphite Black, although I actually do like the Vogue Red variant, this review is based on.
When closed, the beautifully textured brushed metal front immediately becomes the centre of attention. Placed in the very middle of this front is a rounded glass area that houses a backlit display, showing the most common status information when activated. It simply looks spectacular. Just above the outer display is the 2-mega pixel camera located, and just below the is a powerful loud-speaker.
Opening up the Z770, reveals a very bright, well-saturated 2.2-inch colour display, capable of showing up to 262.144 colours. I promise you - you wonít feel let-down by this extremely saturated and bright display! I find the size of the display very reasonable, and it fits this phone perfectly.
That was the upper part of the Z770 opened, but how about that cramped-looking keypad? Well, itís a lot better than I had expected. It offers brilliant tactile feedback, and the keys feel very nice to use. The upper area of the keypad might be a bit hard to use for people with large hands, although it wasnít a problem for me. I did experience one problem with the keypad, though. Itís just about impossible to know what key youíre pressing if youíre not looking directly at it! Itís simply impossible to have any sense of what key youíre pressing, as theyíre not really separated from each other by any physical marks or so.
The backside of Z770 has to be one of the dullest Iíve seen in a long time. Itís plain, it feels cheap and it looks like the designer spent all his/her time on the front design. Apart from that, the battery cover is extremely creaky, and itís almost impossible to use the Z770 without it creaking.
The left side of the Z770 houses the Fast Port connector, while the right side is home of the volume keys and a Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot. I personally would have preferred swapping the location of the volume keys with the Memory Stick Micro slot, but this is not possible due to a - in my eyes - major design flaw.
Thereís nothing in either the top or bottom of the phone.
Behind the battery cover is located a standard BST-38, lasting up to 340 hours of standby, or 8 Ĺ hours of talk on GSM networks. I could generally squeeze out a good four days of normal use of the battery. This sounds quite reasonable.
Camera - why, oh why!
The 2 mega pixel fixed focus CMOS camera on the Z770 wonít make people ďwowĒ. Thatís a fact, and thereís no reason to avoid facing it immediately. Other than that it lacks some sort of flash to light up in low-light situations. Another camera limit is the camera software. It wonít let you zoom in when in 2 mega pixel resolution-setting (not that it matters, though), and because thereís no physical camera button on the side of Z770, youíre stuck with the portrait mode camera user interface, which is lagging the horizontal one in terms of usability and a few features.
Instead of having a set of horizontally placed icons you can press to active pop-up menus, youíre forced to use the slow and plain-looking left soft key menu style. This soft key is called ďoptionsĒ.
The options menu will give you the ability to set the following;
- View all pictures
- Shoot mode - Normal, Panorama, Frames & Burst
- Picture size - 2 MP (1600 x 1200 pixels), 1 MP (1280 x 960 pixels) & VGA (640 x 480 pixels)
- Night mode - Off & On
- Self-timer - Off & On
- White balance - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent & Incandescent
- Effects - Off, Black & white, Negative & Sepia
- Picture Quality - Fine & Normal
- Review - On & Off
- Save to - Mem. card & Phone mem.
- Shutter sound - Sound 1, Sound 2, Sound 3, Sound 4 & Off
- Reset counter
Are you curious to see how it performs? Check out the samples below.
As you can see, the Z770 delivers top-notch colour saturation in most cases, which is really nice. The photos arenít always sharp because it lacks auto focus. When youíre in a range of one metre of the target, most photos will come out quite OK, though. During the test period I experienced slight white balance problems, but absolutely nothing to worry about.
Z770 does video recordings as well. Theyíre encoded in MP4 format in a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The frame rate is 30 frames per seconds, which is really nice. The video bit rate is about 370 Kbps, which is OK. The video quality is expectable - nothing ground-breaking, but it isnít bad either. You can check out a video sample below, or download it here. QuickTime is required to watch the video below.
When youíre done shooting, you might want to check out your most recent shots. I find the photo viewer very good, and itís loaded with brilliant features, like X-Pict Story - a cool slide show application with mood settings, effects, transitions and sounds. Another nice feature is photo tagging - by tagging your photos, youíll always know where they are, and itíll be faster getting to them. The Z770 also automatically sorts your photos by month, if you prefer that way of sorting.
IQ training can be fun!
The Z770 comes with three games pre-installed. These are Brain Juice, Investigators and Tennis Multiplay. Iím a huge sucker of the Brain Juice game, and I find it very interesting.
Brain Juice is an intelligence game, and the object of the game is simply to make you - the player - more intelligent by playing the daily ďmissionsĒ. The game will hopefully make you sweat in both maths assignments and more logical-oriented assignments. Youíll be timed when playing, and the game also counts your correct and incorrect answers. Your total daily score is output in the so-called brain-watts.
Investigators is also an intelligence game, but not like Brain Juice. In this game, the goal is to solve various mysteries, and itís really quite hard! I personally didnít play it that much, but nonetheless itís an interesting game for people who like this genre.
Tennis Multiplay is probably the best tennis game out there for mobile phones and itís really a fun game! You can play tournaments and singles in order to upgrade your playerís skills. Duels can be played via Bluetooth, if you want to challenge your friends. If you want to improve your gaming skills you can also do a few training sessions. The graphics looks quite good and itís easy to play the game.
Speedy Bluetooth transfers
The Z770 is a tri-band GSM phone with EDGE, UMTS and 3.6 Mbps HSDPA support (both 2100 MHz). Generally, the Z770 had a great network reception during the test period.
Z770 supports Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, meaning youíll get very speedy file transfers. This is especially useful when streaming your music wirelessly to an A2DP stereo Bluetooth headset or speaker. Z770 does not feature either infra-red or WLAN.
If youíre looking for a cabled connection, youíll be thrilled to hear that Z770 fully supports USB 2.0 data transfers, and thatís itís quite snappy when it comes to file transfers in mass storage mode.
like the K660, Z770 is marketed as a web phone for the youth. The built-in web browser is Access NetFront 3.4, although itís slightly enhanced compared to i.e. the one in the current K850 firmware build. One of the few added features is the mouse cursor, which makes it a lot easier to navigate large websites. Another feature making it easier to navigate larger sites is the enhanced zoom features with a zoom map.
There is no support for Flash, but some light Java scripts are supported.
Calls & calls management
Honestly, Iím not too thrilled about the sound quality during phone calls. In my opinion itís a bit distorted, and the fact that itís as loud as it is, makes it even harder to hear whatís being said. Having said that, itís far from impossible to understand what the other person says, itís just not as good as it could have been. Thereís really no background noise, though, so thatís a plus. You can put in on speaker as well, which actually works quite well, although youíll have to close the Z770 to get the best sound, meaning the microphone will be blocked.
As said earlier on, the Z770 comes with a Bluetooth headset. The battery life on this one is quite good, and it didnít run out of battery at all in 12 days of constantly being turned on and connected to the Z770. Thatís the way itís supposed to be! While that isnít bad, the sound quality isnít exactly great. It feels like itís echoing when talking in it. The microphone is quite good, although I would have prefered dual microphones. The fit wasnít very good on my ear - the headset ring was simply too small, and my ears arenít exactly the largest in the world, so thatís actually quite bad. The size of the ring canít be altered. You can however use it on both your left and right ear.
You can manage your calls on the phone and set the various call settings like speed dialling. The call list holds the last 30 calls. However, if youíve called a contact more than once, only the most recent call details will be displayed.
Various screen shots
Z770 is designed to visually impress, but itís not bad either from a technical point of view.
The design is definitely impressive, and I absolutely love the very nicely designed front and the materials used. Apart from this, the A2 software platform is stable, and it only froze one time during a game, where I had to take out the battery in order for it to function properly again.
Z770 costs a bit more than the K660 does, and considering the feature set is just about identical, itís not worth paying an extra £50 for a slightly larger display, and a better design, which is really a matter of personal taste, when it comes down to it. In Denmark it retails at £200 unlocked and without contract. I hope this price will drop quickly, as itís a bit too high at the moment.
The battery in Z770 performs very well. I managed to squeeze a good 5 days of use out of it. Nothing to complain about here.
[Review based on firmware revision R1EA030]