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Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Sony Ericsson K770i
Live photos of the Sony Ericsson K 770i
The expansion of its portfolio imposes new rules of play, so Sony Ericsson is trying to come up with models targeted at different market segments. It turns out that one and the same handset can have numerous appearances and ways of positioning. That is the case with the Sony Ericsson T650i and the Sony Ericsson K770i, which are twins in a certain way, judging by their codenames. However, when it comes to positioning, the Sony Ericsson T650i is a fashion-conscious solution, whereas the K770i comes in as an imaging-heavy product of the Cyber-Shot range. But honestly speaking, these two have no differences between one another, since their imaging departments are pretty much comparable – the Sony Ericsson K770i’s extended arsenal sports, well, a flash and a camera shutter, while the image quality you get is practically the same for either of the phones, being below the level of the Sony Ericsson K790i/K800i. So it turns out that the company’s flagship, which the Sony Ericsson K800i in fact is, offers more punch at a cheaper price point, and the recently debuted solution can boast nothing but its attractive design, which brings about the case when the company is banking on its looks and novelty alone.
Should we look at the model’s index, it will suggest that the K770i is a junior device relative to the flagship, however not too far aside. Functionality-wise the two are very resembling, being powered by the already-proven platform A100. Unlike the T650i, this handset has what it takes to become a bestseller as soon as its price goes on a downswing, for its price tag and sales are strongly connected. As for me, the K770i is here for those who love the Sony Ericsson K800i’s smarts, yet don’t really find its design appealing.
The model is offered in three color variants – Truffle Brown, Sandy Beige, and Ultra Violet. All three trims look winsome and eye-candy. It is quite a challenge to pick one of these – it is not an easy and clear-cut choice.
Unlike the Sony Ericsson T650i, the casing here is made of plastic, even though it still has metal parts, specifically the chassis, the lock on the underside of the back cover. The K770i’s surface is fingerprints-resistant, with the display’s cover being the only exception, since it is a mineral glass.
The volume rocker sits on the right-hand side, as well as the dedicated camera button. The lens of the 3,2 Mpix camera is hidden under the sliding shutter, the trait of the Cyber-Shot line up. By the shutter is the light indicator that glows in green when some event triggers off.
The loudspeaker for ringtones is also placed on the back. The bottom end features the holes for a carrying strap, while on the top you will find the power button, doubling as the profile switch.
The left spine plays host to the Fast Port connector, and since there is a deck stand tweaked in a way to get along with this socket type and placement, it turns out to be quite handy.
The face plate also sports the forwardfacing camera for video calls, also the ambient light sensor can be found here. The slender earpiece is hidden behind fine metal grill.
The handset measures 105x47x14.5 mm and weighs 95 g. The K770i will easily slip both into trousers or shirt pocket. The handset’s dimensions are average, in a good sense of this word. Compared with the T650i, the K770i has gained 2 mm in thickness, which is the price to pay for the lens shutter.
The display shows up to 262 K colors at the 240x320 pixel resolution (2 inches from corner to corner, TFT), which allows accommodating up to 8 text and 3 service lines for most applications; and when browsing web-pages, or handling e-mails or text messages, you can cram more lines into the display by shrinking the font size.
Much like other Sony Ericsson’s models, the K770i utilizes a mirror layer that improves its readability while in the sun and allows its picture to stay crisp and visible. Similar displays have already been spotted among the company’s latest offerings, like the Sony Ericsson S500i and the Sony Ericsson W580i. The only thing we can fault it for is the smallish diagonal, while other specifications are quite decent.
The keypad the model employs is pretty much conventional, being quite mediocre ergonomics-wise, they will appeal to everyone who has no love for some fancy and fashion-savvy solutions. Reasonably soft presses, good travel distance – these are this keypad’s trademark qualities. The keys are lit in white but that’s not all – there are various effects available as well, like fading, waves of light etc.
The back cover sits firmly in its slot, however it is still quite easy to pull open. Inside the battery compartment you will find a 930 mAh Li-Pol battery – the BST-38.As the maker claims the device is capable of staying up for 300 hours in standby and provides up to 7 hours of talk time. In the conditions of Moscow networks the K770i lasted about 3 days with average use (2 hours of calls, about 30 minutes of games and 20 minutes of web surfing). Should you try to get more out of it, get ready to recharge your handset daily or once in two days. At the same time, if you are on the phone not as much as we were, you will get up to 3-4 days of battery life with the K770i, but it is a very unlikely usage scenario. While in Europe, the phone will last at least twice as long in all modes, all thanks to the better coverage across the region. The K770i also can keep blasting music for 16 hours.
On USB-connection you are forced to select connection type – specifically whether you will be accessing the data stored on the memory card or just keep working with the phone or activate Print mode. For the first mode we mentioned above the handset switches off and you gain access to the contents of both the memory card and the phone internal memory. Despite the maker claiming it to be USB 2.0, the data transfer speed doesn’t exceed 500 Kb/s. If you just want your K770i to turn into a modem, then pick the second option, when you will have a chance to play around with various USB settings for going online.
Bluetooth. The handset comes with EDR-enabled Bluetooth 2.0, the menu allows you to turn on enhanced power saving mode. There is also A2DP support, which allows employing wireless headsets with the W580i. The list of supported profiles:
The handset comes with roughly 16 Mb of user-available memory, the package also includes a M2 memory card .The K770i also supports hot-swap, meaning that you can change memory cards (up to 2 Gb) on the go.
The performance is typical for company’s latest-gen device; it is ahead of the majority of models the market offers. There are no limits on JAR-file size, HEAP size – from 512 Kb to 1.5 Mb.
The K770i sports the 3.2 Mpix CMOS-matrix with autofocus feature which turns to be different from that implemented in the Sony Ericsson K790i/K800i, since the snaps quality is worse. The K770i also employs the CyberShot camera interface that you know so well from the previous devices.
Camera settings look as follows:
The screen doubles as a viewfinder while in the shooting mode. The picture moves very smoothly, details don’t get dropped out. The numeric keys help in switching between various functions and shooting parameters quickly that significantly fastens work.
Comparison with Sony Ericsson K800i:
The snaps taken by Sony Ericsson K770i:
Video is captured in 3GP format in two resolutions (176x144, 128x96). The clips duration can be set to limited (up to 10 seconds) or unlimited mode. The quality of the clips is below all criticism; so far this has been the weakest spot of all Sony Ericsson-branded devices.
The menu interface is well-known from other Sony Ericsson-branded devices; the main menu is displayed as the grid with 12 icons on it. Shortcut number navigation is on the K770i’s spec sheet as well – you can assign shortcuts to most menu items, that the handset comes pre-installed with, whereas own applications or files can’t be set up for one-touch access.
Usability has remained on the same level. Pressing “#”you bring up the list of languages, which you can toggle between while typing.
Apart from the conventional vertically arranged sub-menus, the maker has provided subject-based horizontal tabs. It means that while viewing a list of the dialed numbers, one can see not only the dialed numbers but in the same time (by leaning the joystick horizontally) switch between missed and received call tabs. In the phone menu this kind of navigation is provided anywhere it's possible and it makes for much better usage experience. The menu is quite ergonomically friendly in this phone. I also have to note that similar horizontal tabs appear across Phonebook, Settings and other menu items as well.
Activity Menu is standard Sony Ericsson fare, so there are four tabs available. The first three display various events, like missed calls, memos, messages – actually all this can be found in the first tab. One can disable Activity Menu for these events as well – in this case pop up windows, reminding of a certain event type will appear on the screen. The third tab features the shortcuts, which you should set up yourself. And the added fourth one contains links to the most frequently used applications and resources – and the top of this list is claimed by Google search.
The second tab is the most interesting, since it appears to be some kind of a task manager, featuring the list of all currently running applications. User is able to have up to eight Java-applications launched (in fact there are no definite caps) simultaneously and switch between them. This may come in handy, in case you use an ICQ-esque mobile client, which should be constantly online, and at the same time want to play a Java-game. Up to now counterparts of this solution by other manufacturers haven't been announced.
Themes, design components
The K770i is not positioned as an emotional offering. The handset comes pre-installed with 3 different themes, which are all flash-based and alter the main menu view, as well as its layout. These themes are very interesting, vibro-effects trigger when navigating through the menu, and some themes modify position of track information windows in standby. In a word, the K770i is decent in the sense of themes.
Another thing of note here is a couple of video-tones that come with the handset – in fact, these are quite simple tunes merged with straightforward graphics, which can be used as ring tones. So far none of the makers has offered any sort of this feature, although Nokia is coming this way as well, however it hasn’t rolled out pre-installed tones as yet.
Up to 1000 contacts with fully filled in fields can be stored in the phonebook, but number of phone numbers is limited to 2500. This means that despite the ability to assign up to 5 phone numbers to one contact, you cannot go over 2500 entries. This is enough even for the most active users, as only few have more than 500 entries in their phonebooks.
Several phone numbers can be submitted for one contact, as well as address, email, IM number, other contact information. In settings you can select the required fields, they will be available, meanwhile the useless ones will not be presented. Contacts can be sorted by fields, including name and surname, but only one input field. The sorting here is marked by its dynamics - handset automatically sorts the list after changes.
It is possible to assign custom ring tone and photo to each contact. On incoming call the image and ring tone will be used. Date of birth field can be synchronized with Organizer, at that you will have a chance to set how many days prior to the event the handset should warn you.
When typing in information, you can scroll between tabs, in the first one you enter phone numbers, categorize them by types. On the whole the organization of this process reminds of Outlook, and it means comfort in the first place. Voice tags can be added for required phone numbers, names, there can be up to 40 of them. Voice dialing remained the way it was many months ago, it starts looking archaic with all these voice independent recognition software being implemented by the competitors.
The company still follows its traditional beliefs that SIM-card is used only in case of emergency, that’s why the only way to see its contents is to go into special option in the menu. SIM contacts are not displayed in the general list.
You can create a back-up copy of all entries in phonebook, which will be stored on the memory card, so that you will have the ability to restore them afterwards.
Contact Groups serve only for mass SMS sending, since it is impossible to bind custom ringtone or photo for Group.
Any video clip may be used as Caller ID for a contact in your phonebook.
All tools used for managing messages are standard, there are some templates available and you can come up with some more of your own. Phone’s memory together with SIM-card is used for storing messages. Chat function is supported. On the whole everything is just like in any other phone from this company. Only emoticons icons have changed – now they look much more attractive.
The MMS implementation is as always great, you can literally create video clips, there are lots of settings and this is one of those things that give SE’s product a cutting edge over competitors.
E-Mail client can send and receive e-mails, all sorts of encodings are supported. The emails can be stored on memory card.
In email settings you can setup separate password for SMTP-accounts, this is very convenient. The settings are flexible, support for almost all encodings, and not only Unicode has been added. Attachments that are supported by the phone are presented as icons in an email’s body. The phone doesn’t recognize office files or PDF, but they can be stored in any directory. The limit for outgoing/incoming email size is set by operator. Emails with 6-7 Mb attachments can be sent without any hassles. The phone supports Push Mail standard. Naturally send & receive process is carried out in background mode.
The settings for this item are really simple - you just specify the title for feed and its address. The phone will connect and download it without your assistance. You can update only one item, or the whole feed at once. Capabilities of built-in browser are used for displaying the feeds. Feeds may be updated on schedule.
Up to 30 records can be stored in the general list, all with date and time. Icon that stands for call type (missed/received/dialed) is shown next to each entry. Besides this additional icon identifies if this phone number is present in the phone book or SIM-card. The list of missed calls can be viewed separately and stores up to 10 entries. In this menu you can also see the cost and length of all outgoing calls and last call. Navigating through the lists works with the help of tabs and this does save much time.
Photos, music files can be accessed from this menu. MusicDJ function is rather interesting, even though it is a niche solution and there is not much of a chance that this feature will be highly demanded. In the editor you can create ring tones and edit up to four bands.
Advanced version of MusicDJ is called VideoDJ, it allows editing not only music files, but also adding images and signs. The resulting file is recorded in .3GP file which can be sent by MMS or Email, or just transferred to another phone.
PhotoDJ has kept the name but had its inners completely revamped. The manufacturer has partly removed the shroud handing over the impending CyberShot projects, which will feature this editor by default. Now tell us, how often do you draw with your handset or create own pictures? The answer for most will be as clear as it only could be – never. At the same time getting rid of red-eyes effect, adjusting a shot’s brightness, contrast, sharpness, overlaying some effects, might well come in handy on certain occasions, but to do that you frequently have to wait the moment when you get photos uploaded to a PC. The new PhotoDJ looks to make performing these most basic actions as easy as it has never been before, enhance the handset with the ability to carry out these operations on the go. This is a really positive move.
Remote control – ability to control other devices via the phone’s Bluetooth connectivity. It is standard for all phones made by Sony Ericsson.
Sound recorder - the sound can be recorded by Sound Recorder - it allows making clips that can be later used as ring tones. Phone calls can be recorded too, this is done from context menu, no time limits are set for the Sound Recorder.
Games – the handset comes with one game, Lumines Block Challenge.
Organizer keeps a lot of functions underneath. Let’s get Calendar out of the way first. There are three view modes embedded in the K770i’s calendar: weekly, monthly and daily. The last option displays the list of all events and memos, in two others you will see highlighted time or day. You can switch to required day and year, or month. So everything is pretty simple, just as the schedule input is. You get the ability to name the event, define the place where it will take place, set length and setup the reminder (before or right at the start of the event). Recurrent events support is also onboard. Types of reoccurrence: daily, monthly, yearly. Reminders work even if the phone is turned off as well, unless you disable this function.
To do list in this phone is quite ascetic. There are only two types of events: phone call and reminder. On the other hand, this is really enough, simplicity has its own advantages.
The phone has full-fledged search, set up for calendar: you specify the search line (word or part of it) and after a while you will see all events that match this criteria. The function is quite speedy even if the organizer has more than 100 entries; fast switch to the event from the search window is supported.
Notes. The phone supports notes entry, though they are limited in length. The name of the note you see on the list will be first word entered. This is not always convenient since you will have to think of the first word that would tell you what the note is all about.
Alarm Clock. Now you have access to five alarm clocks, and each of them can be set up manually. They can work in definite week days. Besides the ring tone for alarm clock you can select small note and picture, they will be displayed when alarm clock goes on. Any music file can be assigned as the alarm tone.
Countdown timer. Here everything is quite standard, although the same can be said of the stopwatch that has intermediate times function. The phone has special application for storing secret codes, which was a huge success in previous models, well, standard calculator is onboard too.
Flashlight – self-explanatory feature for the camera’s flash module.
The browser owns a separate menu item, the version is 2.0, it supports secured connections which is quite important in case you are using electronic transactions. New wallpapers, themes and ring tones can be downloaded right away – all this is available at the original web-site.
Standard browser for Sony Ericsson phones is NetFront, which supports single-column web pages display and HTML. One of the best things about it, is the ability to create folders with files and bookmarks. The browser is considered to be one of the market’s best offerings, but limited phone resources do it no favors. On the whole those using Internet constantly should consider buying PDA or laptop, since full-fledged Internet access is not an ultimate must-have for this device type. At the same time RSS Feeds support is great, it allows using the phone for reading news, announcements and articles on the go in a convenient fashion.
HTML pages that contain advanced formatting or exceed 500kb in their size will not be displayed. On the whole standard browser is all fine, but usage of Opera Mini is preferable, since it has got way goodies more to offer.
This menu stores all the settings related to the phone’s operation. In the stand by mode clock can be displayed at the bottom (on or off), you an also alter the font size, in case you select big letters it will be easy to see what time it is, but the font itself becomes a tad transparent. There isn’t anything to add, all the rest is standard.
File Manager, Memory Volume
The user has 16-18 MB of available memory at his disposal, add empty M2 memory card to that too. Here all data (photos, videos, applications) can be stored. The remaining memory is occupied by preinstalled applications, which cannot be wiped. Part of memory is dedicated to phonebook, call lists, etc.
The phone has a basic file manager, with its help files can be sorted by various folders, custom directories can be created in phone’s memory, files can be moved there as well. With or without cable the phone can become a perfect storage, there are no problems with recording your own files, even if they cannot be opened by the phone.
Traditional file sorting includes the following options: date, type and size. The Image Gallery has new setting called Timeline, after you activate it you will see a bar on which months will be shown. And in lists you will see photos that were made during this or that month. You can make the list more detailed by pressing the same key twice, in that case you will see days instead of months. This is a good way to wander around in tons of images.
The manufacturer has singled out the player in an individual menu item for the purpose of emphasizing how different it is, compared to the music player, and other makers’ offerings, where video and music players share one section. On the plus side is ability to playback QVGA-clips at 30 frames per second, progressive fast-forward feature, landscape mode switcher, auto-scaling of high resolutions down to the display’s size. And the last, but of course not the least, highlight on the list is possibility to get snaps of frames of the played back video, which are saved as pictures and can be used in whatever way you like afterwards.
The K770i has memory capable of storing up to 20 FM radio stations and the auto-tuning ability, as well as RDS feature onboard. The Radio application used here is no different from that found on the K750i quality-wise, meaning that it is mostly fine.
Walkman Player 1.4
The handset locates all files and folders on the memory card, and then gets the necessary data from ID3-tags. Supported audio formats - MP3, AAC, AAC+, E-AAC+, WAV, WMA and m4a. There are no limitations on bit rates; you can also upload files with VBR. The company recommends using files with 192 Kbit/s bit rate.
Among the settings available there are adjustable equalizers with some presets (Bass, Voice, Tremble etc). In terms of what it can do, the player belongs to the first generation of Walkman with no bells and whistles, like Album Art support or other extra features.
The handset comes included with a single application – AccuWeather that allows checking out weather in different regions across the globe.
Despite its 72-chord polyphony, the K770i is no better than other Sony Ericsson branded phones in terms of audio performance. The loudspeaker is average volume-wise and has a great deal of bass in its sounding, so the call alert is easily heard even on a busy street. The silent alert is of moderate power or even slightly higher than that, but even this fact isn’t an excuse for the situations when it proves too weak to be felt. The reception part is in line with other products from the company, meaning that it is quite decent.
The handset is expected to be available for purchase in late October, in Europe it will retail for 290-320 Euro. Compared with its rivals, specifically the Sony Ericsson K800i, the handset has the only trump - its design, and nothing more going for it. If you pay more attention to image quality and deem it a crucial aspect of your future phone, this is the place where the flagship outruns the K770i hands down again. There is nothing strange in it, though - the flagship sales well and the company decided not to sabotage its potential on the market. Will the K770i get to the top of the charts? It’s a tricky question, but I think for a certain group of users the Sony Ericsson K770i could be an excellent purchase. The device has its own face, so it makes many heads turn to you. It is a pleasant solution that will never be known as the most technology-savvy solution or a handset jam-packed with features, moreover, it has never claimed these titles. Its sales will revolve chiefly around impulse-driven purchases, rather than thought-out decisions and assessments based on product reviews like this one.
Published 12 October 2007
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