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Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Sony Ericsson T700
Live images of the Sony Ericsson T700
The T700 is positioned as a successor to the legendary Sony Ericsson T610, although the latter already saw a reincarnation in the form of the T650 last year. But to be perfectly honest, we find it difficult to agree with Sony Ericsson on that – at the end of the day, the T700 is anything but a worthy replacement for the T610, for it doesn’t come with any bells and whistles functionality-wise, nor does it have a significant element of fashion to it. Furthermore, it hasn’t gone far from the T650 either. We don’t want to say that the Sony Ericsson T700 is a bad phone per se – on the contrary, it’s an able offering, but only when you think of it in isolation, disregarding its glorious predecessor, which is going to be the running theme throughout this particular write-up.
The T700 is housed in candybar-type design and feels pretty palm-friendly at 104x48x10 mm and 78 grams; on top of that it isn’t all that different from the Sony Ericsson W880’s 103x46x9 mm and 71 grams, clearly, though, the latter is a tad lighter and thinner than the brand-new T700. Regardless, the Sony Ericsson T700 readily slips into just about any pocket or purse and doesn’t give any discomfort whatsoever. It feels pretty good in the hand, all thanks to the rounded side plates. On top of that, despite being on the smaller side, the T700 will fit even people with big hands – it won’t sink in a man’s palm or seem out of proportion in a women’s petite hands.
All things considered, the Sony Ericsson T700 is a unisex solution with a very low-key design, without any ostentatious forms or colors, yet a great deal of charisma. Another thing of note about the T700’s looks is that there is no way you’ll mistake its origin, as it feels so Sony Ericsson.
The materials utilized in the T700’s design are nothing out of the ordinary for this tier – the phone is decked out mostly in plastic with occasional metal accents (in the battery cover and display frame). On a side note, we liked the texture of these metal inserts that reminded us of old vinyl discs, and to a certain extent it’s part of the reason why it’s hard to notice these metal accents in the first place. The plastic part of the phone isn’t fingerprint-magnet by any means, although it’s glossy, and it doesn’t pick up too many scratches or scuffs either; unfortunately the keys found in the navigation cluster don’t follow suit, as their coating tends to peel off over time, revealing bare plastic underlayer. We bumped into this issue a week into use; nevertheless it’s certainly possible that this defect was characteristic only of our particular unit. As far as build quality goes, we didn’t experience any problems with the T700 – it felt reasonably sturdy, none of the details seemed loose or creaky.
One of the good things about the Sony Ericsson T700 is that it comes in seven different colors: Black on Silver, Black on Red, Shining Silver, Shining black, Gold on Red, Shining Gold and Shining Pink, with three of them being monotone (black, silver and pink), while the rest combine two colors (that virtually divide the phone’s casing into different zones). I, for one, found that the two-tone schemes seemed more appealing simply because it was very hard to mix in the crowd with a quaintly painted handset. But at the end of the day, it’s all up to you and your tastes, and luckily, the T700 offers a really generous selection of colors.
Housed on the left-hand side, more towards the top end, is one of the battery cover release switches. Also there is the Fast Port socket along with M2 memory card slot, covered by a rubber flap. Despite sitting so close to one another, these to ports don’t get in each other’s way, when you are trying to plug in a pair of earphones, or ejecting the memory card. The only thing that we didn’t like about this setup is that the rubber flap seemed somewhat off tune with the rest of the black casing (while doesn’t look so striking in other color schemes).
On the right there is the second release switch and a small volume rocker that feels a tad fiddly; further down is the dedicated camera button.
Around back is the 3.2 MP camera lens with a miniscule self-portrait mirror and LED flash (that can double as a flashlight). Furthermore, mounted on the T700’s underside is the loudspeaker, covered by a fine grill, and lanyard eyelet.
The battery cover feels very secure and sturdy all thanks to the two latches, located on either side of the phone, that keep it in place
Back to the front fascia, topping the display is the ambient light sensor; regrettably, there is no forward-facing camera for video conferencing.
The phone comes equipped with a 2-inch TFT display capable of QVGA resolution and 262 K colors. That said, it’s not much different from other Sony Ericsson-branded phones, being reasonably bright and vibrant, although unlike the T650, this time around there is no mineral glass sitting on top of the screen – instead, the T700 enjoys a plastic cover. While this display gets washed out under direct sunlight, it remains fairly readable.
The T700’s keypad is divided up into two sections – navigation cluster and numeric keypad. The former’s buttons are of average size and finished in silver, all in all, we found them a cinch to use. The navigation key along with the OK button sitting right in the center was fairly easy to use too, however we had a minor gripe with it – when pressing it down, on several occasions we touched the “3” key situated just beneath it.
Tapping the numeric buttons you’ll surely notice that they are hollow inside and thus have a totally different feel to them. On the bright side, however, they are just long and tall enough to make for pretty good usability, plus they are well spaced out, so you won’t experience any difficulties when texting, and misclicks were thin on the ground during our quality time with the T700. All keys are evenly lit in bright white.
The T700 makes use of a 950 mAh Li-Pol battery. As the manufacturer claims, it can keep the handset up and running up to 370 hours in standby and provide up to 9.5 hours of talk time. In Moscow the T700 lasted around 3 days with average use - up to 15-20 minutes of calls a day, around 1.5 hours of music and 20 minutes of camera, messaging etc. It takes the phone around 2 hours to charge from empty to full.
The T700 comes with around 25 Mb of user-manageable memory, the sales package also includes a 512 Mb memory card (M2), and you can always hot swap them. The top size of your memory card this phone can handle is 8 Gb.
On USB-connection you are forced to pick connection type - specifically whether you will be accessing data stored on the memory card to just keep managing the phone or activate Print mode. Also there is Media Transfer (MTP mode for accessing, say, Windows Media Player). For the first mode we mentioned above the handset goes 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, data transfer speed doesn't exceed 500 Kb/s. If you just want your T700 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.
The handset comes with EDR-enabled Bluetooth 2.0, the menu enables you to turn on enhanced power saving mode. There is also A2DP support, which allows employing wireless headsets with the T700. Its data transfer speed tops out at 100 Kb/s. The list of supported profiles:
The phone also supports HSDPA.
While the T700 puts up decent numbers in most tests, its major weak spot is 3D graphics. It’s very little different from other Sony Ericsson’s latest and greatest phones, but seems to be ahead of both the Nokia 6500 and Samsung U800 as far as overall performance goes.
The Sony Ericsson T700 comes armed with a no-frills 3.2 MP CMOS camera without autofocus, capable of taking images up to 2048x1536 pixels big. When shooting, the phone’s display doubles as the viewfinder in landscape mode, although it’s still possible to take portrait snaps. The camera menu is very intuitive and easy to move around, plus some buttons on the numberpad serve as shortcuts to the camera’s main features.
We weren’t particularly happy with the image quality offered by the T700 – the edges of most shots seemed blurry and whenever we found ourselves in poor light conditions, our images came out with a decent portion of noise in them.
The phone also can capture video at 320x240 pixel resolution and 15 FPS – while the quality of these clips isn’t marvelous, it’s hard to demand more from a non imaging-centric phone.
We won't review the T700's standard feature pack, for it comprises all the goodies of the A200, which were given an in-depth close-up in a dedicated article. So here we will be focusing on the phone's unique abilities and features.
While our phone came preinstalled only with two themes, the T700’s commercial units will ship with a bit wider selection of content.
There are three games available with the T700: Jewel Quest 2, Minigolf and Super Breakout.
On top of that, the phone features a handful of default applications, including AccuWeather (allows getting up-to-the-minute weather forecasts) and Comeks Strips (add comics-esque effects to your snaps). Also here are Converter and Voice Recorder.
Plus the T700 comes packaged with Google Maps application that allows the user to setup a connection with an external GPS receiver, since the phone itself doesn’t have one inside.
As far as multimedia feats are concerned, the T700 is a standard A200 fare - read more about it here.
Putting the icing on the cake are RDS-enabled FM-radio and TrackID.
The Sony Ericsson T700’s main rivals are the Nokia 6500 Classic and Samsung U800 Soul – retailing at pretty much the same price point, they sport very similar feature packs and materials.
All in all, it’s hard to tell which one of these phones is the winner – all three are good looking, offer decent feature packs and affordable price tags.
With the Sony Ericsson T700 our calls sounded loud and clear, plus the reception quality was no worse than that offered by most other contemporary GSM phones. All in all, its earpiece volume and microphone sensitivity make for audible calls in just about any environment. Thanks to its 64-tone polyphony, the T700’s preinstalled tunes sound okay, if only a bit muffled (and there is an easy way around this problem – you’ll just need to use MP3 tracks as ringtones). While Sony Ericsson claim that the T700 comes with two loudspeakers, we couldn’t find the second one – perhaps, they meant that the earpiece accompanies the speaker found on the back side, although this setup doesn’t bring any significant benefits in the way of sound quality. The silent alert was average strength-wise, but it never let us down.
On balance, the T700 is a likable phone that has the basics covered, plus a pocketable and neat looking casing. We are particularly pleased by the variety of color schemes available for it, and to tell the truth, if I happened to have it on my shortlist, it would’ve been hard to set my choice on one of them, since I do like all of them. However, the T700 falls flat in the music department, where it can’t compare with the W880 or G705. But this glitch aside, it goes for only 290 USD before subsidies, and since its price is very likely to dip down a bit more in the coming months, it has a good chance to become one of the most popular offerings in this class.
Published 3 January 2009
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