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Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Sony Ericsson Z770i

Live photos of Sony Ericsson Z770i

Table of contents:

  1. Positioning
  2. Design, size, controls
  3. Display
  4. Keypad
  5. Battery
  6. Memory, Memory Cards
  7. Connectivity
  8. Performance
  9. Camera
  10. Preinstalled applications, themes, games
  11. Music department
  12. Impressions

Sales package:

  • Handset
  • Charger
  • Wired stereo-headset
  • Software CD
  • User Guide

Positioning

Recently, one of the tasks occupying Sony Ericssons mind was not only inflation of the model line-up, but also making its range as diverse as possible. One of the intuitive ways of doing this is to differentiate handsets by their design and looks. Obviously, this method will ensure stellar sales for a couple of phones out of a dozen or so, whereas the rest will pass pretty much unnoticed. On the other hand, it makes addressing certain audiences with a good deal of precision so much easier. The Sony Ericsson Z770i is the epitome of this approach the maker has put the standard A200 platform into the mix along with an offbeat design to bring a unisex handset. Much like the Sony Ericsson T650i, the vendors latest offspring ranks among fashion-savvy solutions, whose positioning is driven primarily by design, rather than distinctive features.

As far as the design goes, the Z770is positioning is nothing out of the ordinary it comes in to replace the Motorola RAZR V3 and its siblings in your pocket. Motorola has forged a trend, sold a head-spinning number of phones and called up a wealth of look-alikes. So right at the moment when consumers start looking for a potent replacements, Sony Ericsson steps up and offers something similar, yet with a different design. Having maintained very svelte profile for a clamshell, the designers have deliberately put the Z770i up against other solutions out there. And since you are quite unlikely to find a look-alike to the Z770i, we have another phone with unique looks and this is its forte. Frankly speaking, the maker is really into this idea most of the phones they have cranked out of late are not eggs from one basket design- and looks-wise, which is a really good thing. For its fashion-conscious devices Sony Ericsson utilizes metallic accents that automatically boost them up through the ranks.

Obviously, nobody is that ambitious to set the goal of selling the Sony Ericsson Z770i to each person looking for a diminutive folding phone with some metal in it. Nevertheless, the Z770i has some serious and well-grounded claims for the chunk of the market for fashion-savvy solutions, specifically the intermediate class of consumers who wont just settle for a device that everyone around seems to have (the Nokia 8800 and the likes) and are willing to shell out for unique looks. More importantly, this group isnt small-numbered and makes a considerable part of the audience.

However for Sony Ericsson this kind of positioning isnt what they usually do these days. Just like with the T650i they are about to cause a major discord in their line-up the thing is, those who are currently employing Sony Ericssons solutions expect they wont have to pay a premium for a quirky design, while the price/quality ratio will always revolve at the optimal level. But thats how things used to be, back when the companys portfolio was still small; as it kept expanding, Sony Ericsson-branded fashion-savvy solutions were getting closer to what they really should be, since price is not the least important factor here. Surprisingly, people will readily empty their wallets just to make sure the toy they have just bought isnt widely adopted. Some even go for exotic brands exactly for the same purposes. And as regards to Sony Ericcson, the company is at the crossroads at the moment at the point where it is still not a trusted and reputable maker of fashion-centric devices, but has all the makings to become one in 1,5-2 years' time.

Whats so special about this stage? The fact is, all parameters, including price, indicate that these solutions are fashion-savvy. But are they perceived as prestigious and steep phones? Lets be honest here, they are not, people dont go crazy about them, and basically they havent accumulated the halo of fashion-conscious devices around them just yet. So it turns out that in many ways, buying the Z770i you address your own needs and cater for your own taste, rather than try to make a statement and show off a bit. In my opinion, this is the choice of more mature consumers (although still relatively young), who arent affected by the latest trends in fashion or mainstream and rather trust their own feelings.

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Design, size, controls

Design is what the Sony Ericsson Z770i is all about. In fact, it is very challenging to think of an alternative to it, a lot of phones start crossing your mind, but they still have little to nothing in common with the Z770i. While many enjoy metallic accents on the front face, the Z770is texture and shape are different. All in all, it is in a league of its own.

Frankly, this is one of those few phones, which arent fun to play with when they are closed the manufacturers designers have put quite a lot of effort into modeling its buttons, shaping the microphone grill (that looks more like a full-fledged speaker and may well trick you with its appearance).

The handset comes in a choice of three colors - Vogue Red, Graphite Black and Exquisite Golden. But dont get confused by that Vogue Red, in fact the only really red thing in this flavor is the speakers plate and the separators on the keypad. The rest of the casing is silvery and all metal on the outside. The black trim mixes up blue with black, whereas the gold edition shows off champagne colors, which are somewhat reminiscent of the Sony Ericsson W890i.

Actually, the Z770is color schemes are one of its fortes while its silvery version is somewhat long-in-the-tooth, for the same trim is employed in a wealth of other solutions, its gold and black flavors are much more compelling. The Z770is will burst into the scene in only two colors, whilst the gold trim is set to launch 2-3 months later.

The phones front fascia is outfitted with a textured metallic slab; also on top is the camera lens, slightly protruding from the casing. The back of the Z770i is decked out in plastic that is no different from other handsets, being prone to scratches and scuffs. Running along the perimeter is a strip of dark-grey plastic.

The Z770i enjoys a landscape oriented single-line outer display (plus the status bar), that is inactive most of the time, but springs into life whenever you push the side-mounted key or some event comes up.

Perched on the left-hand side is the Fast Port connector, while the opposite spine houses the volume rocker, which is pretty tiny, yet still relatively comfortable. Although, I know some people who still cant get a hang of this button. Also on the right is the M2 memory card slot covered by a rubber flap. The hinge has a lanyard eyelet in it.

The Z770i feels robust in the hand, being a sturdy built phone with no gaps between parts or loose-fitting details. It starts creaking a little when you grasp it, but it is okay. Its very easy to flick the Z770i open single handedly.

At 93x48x16 mm and 91 grams the phone readily slips into every pocket, even of your favorite tight-fit jeans.

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Display

The display shows up to 262 K colors at 240x320 pixel resolution (2.2-inch diagonal, TFT, 34x45mm), which allows accommodating up to 8 text and 3 service lines in most applications; and when browsing web-pages, or handling e-mails or text messages, you can cram more lines into the display by decreasing the font size. The Z770i handles direct sunlight in a convenient fashion its display remains readable.

While most Sony Ericsson devices come included with 2-inch displays, the Z770is 2.2-inch unit is a nice change, on top of that, as far as colors and brightness are concerned, it is among the markets finest offerings.

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Keypad

It has been a while since I enjoyed a phones keypad so much last time both in the sense of ergonomics and visual appeal. The Z770is keyboard is engraved on one plastic slab with all buttons separated by red ridges (which are color-keyed to the flavor you own). While the keys dont travel deep inside the casing, every press is tactile and makes the Z770is numberpad a breeze to handle. Over the month I spent with this device, the keys didnt pick up any scratches or cracks, thats why I was pretty happy with how it held up to abuse. All keys (including the rubber inserts) are lit in white. Combined, all this makes a compelling mix thats called the Z770is keypad.

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Battery

The handset utilizes a 950 mAh Li-Pol battery (BST-33) rated for up to 8.5 hours talk time and 340 hours standby.

In Moscow its battery life averaged two and a half days with moderate use (up to 1 hour of calls, about 30 minutes of games, 20 minutes of browsing and several hours of music). Within the European networks the device will last for at least twice as long in all modes thanks to better coverage. Continuous music playback drains the battery in 13.5 hours. Its takes the Z770i a tad under 2 hours to charge up.

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Memory, Memory Cards

The handset boasts around 32 Mb of user-manageable memory, unfortunately its sales package doesnt include a M2 memory card (although Z770i supports up to 4Gb, and even more capacious cards, also you can also swap these cards on the go).

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Connectivity

USB

On USB-connection you are forced to pick connection type specifically whether you will be accessing data stored on the memory card or 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 doesnt exceed 500 Kb/s. If you just want your Z770ii 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 enables you to turn on enhanced power saving mode. There is also A2DP support, which allows employing wireless headsets with the Z770ii. Its data transfer speed tops out at 100 Kb/s. The list of supported profiles:

  • A2DP
  • Basic Imaging Profile
  • Basic Printing Profile
  • Dial-Up Networking Profile
  • File Transfer Profile
  • Generic Access Profile
  • Generic Object Exchange Profile
  • Handsfree Profile
  • Headset Profile
  • HID
  • JSR-82 Java API
  • Object Push Profile
  • Personal Area Network Profile
  • Serial Port Profile
  • Service Discovery Application Profile
  • Synchronization Profile
  • SyncML OBEX binding

The handset also comes with HSDPA connectivity onboard.

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Performance

The Z770i puts up typical numbers for the companys current generation of devices, being ahead of most models available on the market. There are no limits on JAR-file size, while HEAP size can range from 512 Kb to 1.5 Mb.

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Camera

The device is equipped with a 2 MP camera with a CMOS matrix without auto-focus. The device supports three possible resolutions - 1632x1224, 640x480, 160x120(should this say 1600 x 1200?) pixels. Two types of data compression (Normal and Fine) are at your disposal. The majority of the sample photos are in the Fine quality. A photo in the Normal mode takes up about 300 KB while the Fine quality results in 500-600 KB.

The camera settings are:

  • Shutter sound. You can choose one of the three shutter sounds, but will not be able to turn the sound off.
  • White balance. A possibility to choose between an auto-mode, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight.
  • Effects. Several effects may be applied to the photos. These are Negative, Solarize, Sepia, Black & White.
  • Timer is activated for a certain time period for self shooting.
  • Night mode is for shooting in the dark. Noises raise on a photo, exposure time gets increased (you shouldn't move the device in order not to get a blurry photo).
  • Shooting mode. Normal mode that takes ordinary photos. Multishot-mode (Burst 4) allows taking four photos in a series. Landscape is a very interesting mode that allows taking rather fetching photos; the market hasnt seen anything similar to date yet. The last mode is taking photos with frames, photo resolution is decreased automatically.

The screen serves as a viewfinder while in the shooting mode. The picture moves very smoothly, details dont get dropped out. Numeric keys help in switching between various functions and shooting parameters quickly that significantly speeds up work.

(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG
(+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG (+) maximize, 1600x1200, JPEG

Video

Video may be recorded in the 320x240 pixel resolution (3GP). Clip duration may be limited (up to 10 seconds) or unlimited.

Video sample (mp4, 662 kb) >>>

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Preinstalled applications, themes, games

We wont review the Z770is 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 phones unique abilities and features.

Software features of Sony Ericsson A200

The phone comes preinstalled with 4 different themes, none of which changes the shape of the main menu, although you can upload more themes manually, including those employing flash-animation.

There are three games available in the Z770i - Brain Juice, Investigators and Tennis Multiplayer.

Also you will find Audible here (uploads MP3 audio books, accesses your library), AccuWeather (weather forecast) and Converter.

The Z770i also sports Google Maps 2.0 as a bundled application.

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Music department

The Z770i comes installed with the A200s standard feature set, including the multimedia menu, as well as the third-edition player with shrunk functionality (no motion control, some filters are missing, etc). In terms of sound quality, it is no different from Sony Ericssons Walkman series, so what it really differs in is software. The Z770is radio is also pretty straightforward.

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Impressions

The Z770is ring tones volume was never an issue its speaker fared well in most environments. The reception quality was nothing to complain about either. Our only gripe is with the phones vibro alert, which occasionally proves to be on the weak side.

The handset is set to debut this April around the 480-550 USD price point (300 Euro in Europe) for this money the user gets an interesting design, all standard features of A200 with a couple of minor fresh touches. It is not the most decent price/quality ratio we have seen its design certainly adds some weight to the price tag. I suppose the looks are the Sony Ericsson Z770is major trump, some will definitely like it.

As far its rivals go, the Z770i will find its main competition in the Nokia 6600 that sports exactly the same specs and will arrive in May (while its announcement is scheduled for April). It is also notable for its fashion-savvy design and exactly the same price tag (300 Euro).

Related links:

Software features of Sony Ericsson A200

Review of GSM-handset Sony Ericsson Z555i

Spillikins - First issue

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 17 April 2008

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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