Sony Ericsson G700 preview: Smartphone in disguise

GSMArena team, 20 February 2008.
Pages: 123

The Sony Ericsson G700 measures 106 x 49 x 13 mm and weighs only 99 g, which is not bad for a smartphone. It's relatively compact and when you first set your eyes on it, you probably won't notice that it's one of the latest Sony Ericsson power gadgets. Under the everyday disguise however hides a full-fledged smartphone with touchscreen functionality.

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Sony Ericsson G700 all over

Sony Ericsson G700 360-degree spin

Design and construction

The Sony Ericsson G700 is powered by a 208 MHz processor and has 128MB of RAM - Sony Ericsson used the same powerplant in their Sony Ericsson W950, W960 and P1 smartphones. The user interface clicks quite fast and turning off the available transition effects makes it even faster.

Along the bottom and the right side of the display there are markings, which remind of the touch-enabled keys of the Sony Ericsson K850. This is not the case here though - they simply serve as reference points. The display however is touch-sensitive, so there's no need for touch-sensitive keys anyways. Above the display there is a video-call camera.

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The touchscreen display is not that large but is really good under sunlight

Sony Ericsson G700 surprised us with its transreflective display. As a result, the legibility under direct sunlight is great, way above any other previous smartphone by Sony Ericsson. It still has poorer colors and contrast than most high-end Sony Ericsson feature phones, but when it comes to sunlight legibility it comes really close to the all-time champions Nokia and Apple iPhone.

The keypad of the G700 is really nice. The alphanumeric keys are quite large, with distinct press feedback and prove great for typing. The navigation D-pad and the soft keys around it offer great ergonomics too.

Speaking of soft keys, with the G700 you will find something that we don't see in other UIQ smartphones. It's the two context keys just below the display. Their presence allows truly comfortable operation of the user interface without the need of a stylus. This is a real bonus point for the UIQ interface - so far with previous smartphones, we've hardly managed without pulling the stylus out.

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The keypad deserves a thumbs-up so does the addition of context keys

At the sides of the Sony Ericsson G700 there are further changes to the UIQ smartphone style used so far. There is no scroll wheel for example - a beloved feature by all UIQ fans. But with the added context keys on the front and the wonderful D-pad, it is hardly needed anymore.

There is also a dedicated lock/unlock key for the keypad - the old-fashioned way of using a key combo is still present though, so the hardware key is just an option.

"...The Sony Ericsson G700 measures 106 x 49 x 13 mm and weighs only 99 g, which is not bad for a smartphone. It's relatively compact and when you first set your eyes on it, you probably won't notice that it's one of the latest Sony Ericsson power gadgets. Under the everyday disguise however hides a full-fledged smartphone with touchscreen functionality..."

The M2 memory card slot is tucked just under the charger port. It has a nice rubbery cap that is easily removed and put back on (one for the connectivity port would have been welcome too). Removing or inserting a memory card without the help of a sharp pointer such as the stylus proves impossible - the card is sunk really deep.

Next to the charger slot there is a status LED - it blinks to indicate missed calls and unread messages, and lights constantly when the battery is low or while the handset is charging.

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There is no scroll wheel on the sides, however there is a dedicated keypad lock/unlock key the memory card cannot be removed with a bare finger

Speaking of the stylus - it's tucked in at the upper left corner of the handset. It's made of some classy materials, but unfortunately it's not telescopic and proves a little short.

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The stylus is nice but is rather short

The back of the phone may look a bit cheap to some, but it's really nice to touch. The highlight is the 3 megapixel camera with its dual-led setup. Removing the back cover proved somewhat hard. It's the same pry-it-open type that we saw in our recent Sony Ericsson lower mid-range roundup.

The G700 has a standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Po battery with a capacity of 960 mAh. It's rated at up to 380 h of standby time and up to 12 h of talk time. Those figures seem rather optimistic for a battery of such modest capacity, but we couldn't confirm the real-life performance.

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The back panel is really nice to touch but really hard to open

The Sony Ericsson G700 offers great ergonomics and user-friendliness at the expense of design. In general, it's really comfortable to work with.

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The Sony Ericsson G700 held in hand

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