Sony Ericsson K700 review: A winner

Marek Lutonský, 10 July 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Excellent display

The display underwent the most visible change. It was very good by the last Sony Ericsson T630, now it's even better. It displays 65k colors, is active again, but with much higher resolution. More pixels are displayed on display's width than it was on display's height by the previous model. Look at the table below, where similar phones are compared:

Phone Display size Display resolution Density
Sony Ericsson K700 29 × 36 mm 176 × 220 3 709 pixels/cm2
Sony Ericsson T630 28 × 35 mm 128 × 160 2 090 pixels/cm2
Nokia 6230 27 × 27 mm 128 × 128 2 247 pixels/cm2
Siemens S65 31 × 42 mm 132 × 176 1 784 pixels/cm2
Motorola V600 30 × 38 mm 176 × 220 3 396 pixels/cm2

Sony Ericsson's K700 doesn't have the largest display but features the finest image. There is no visible parting grid on the high quality display. I would compare the K700 display only with those of Motorola in the same class. Other brands feature either low resolution or their displays are small in size.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
Display is large, with a high resolution

Unfortunately, I haven't got Sony Ericsson T630 available to compare both displays. The new one seems a bit brighter to me. It's not really useful on direct sunlight, but the image is sufficient if you turn the display in the right angle.

It's not possible to adjust settings of the display brightness or contrast. The only feature you could choose is a type of illumination: Off, On, Automatic (preset saver appears after some time) or Eco mode (display turns off after a while). The phone doesn't respond to joystick commands when the saver is active or the display is Off. To return settings you should press some other key. In the first phase the saver shows a set picture, could be also animated, and after a while a digital clock appears.

Japanese keypad

Numerical keys are rectangle of shape and organized in a strict matrix. They're made of hard plastic and the feeling by pressing them is solid and sure. My only grape is a slight move of the keys in vertical direction. The whole block is moved downwards quite a bit - the only way to squeeze a large display and a keypad in small mobile phones.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
Hard and precise keys of the numerical keypad

The main control of the phone occurs trough the joystick: it's moving in four directions and is pressed for choice confirmation. Before testing it, I have worked with the a bit tighter four-directional button of Nokia 7610 and Siemens M65, so I found Sony Ericsson's joystick almost unusable. Finally, I've got used to it, but I can't keep from typing errors on and off. The joystick is not raising much over the phone surface, but its sensitivity makes it up. It's truly steady and precise and didn't skip once. According to the service menu test, the joystick can differentiate also diagonal directions, hence it's nine-directional. But I was not able to find a function allowing this feature.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
The joystick is not raising much over the surface but it's sensitive enough

Fortunately, the joystick isn't set for default to WAP browser. You could assign by yourself, which functions will start by moving the joystick to different directions. When assigning, you can select the desired function direct from the usual menu. Sometimes the phone doesn't allow you to pick up a function; I would better appreciate a common list of functions, not to wait for the phone's offer. Hopefully, the phones sold by mobile operators will keep this possibility for function assignment to the individual directions of the joystick.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
Strong white keypad illumination • notice the ring, consisting of the wallpaper on the display, function keys shape and lines under the part of the numeric keypad

While the numeric keys are transparent, the four function keys around the display are made of milk-white plastic. As in the past, no designated keys for call functions are available. Two function keys, correction key and "one level back" key do the entire job. You need to get used to this way of control.

Typing on Sony Ericsson K700 is comfortable. Keys are large enough, even for bigger fingers; they're also very well distinguishable by shape. The only small problem should be with the last row of keys, which is quite low-lying. Typing could be heard even if the sound is switched off; the keys simply click.

Keypad is locked either manually, by pressing star key and right function key, or by selecting the automatic lock function in the menu. Automatic lock gets active after 20 seconds, which is a pretty short time.

Around the phone

The only components on the front side of the phone are keypad and display, except a speaker slot, hidden in the upper edge and a QuickShare label in the bottom part of the phone. Instead of a plastic bubble I would rather expect something like a sign etched on a metal label. As I understand it, operator's logos should go there, so the label must be removable.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
Edge with the speaker • QuickShare plastic label

There is a rock switch on the left side of the phone. It controls the volume, in photo mode it's used for exposure compensation setting, you can use it also by incoming call to silence the ringing and reject the call - set busy tone. If you press this button when the phone is in standby mode, phone informations are displayed. Sony Ericsson abandoned information about battery life; you will find only a date, ringing profile and free memory space (in kilobytes). Holding the round button on the left side activates the digital camera, after which the button works as a release.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson K700
Rock switch and camera control button on the left side

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