Sony Ericsson K700 review: A winner
New user environment
Graphical interface changes are not essential and if you don't know the older Sony Ericsson models well you would hardly recognize them. The most visible change is maybe the presence of some new icons in the main menu. These are drawn very nice - spatial, with shades, and animated - chosen icons blows up by moving through the matrix (which is possible only vertically or horizontally, not diagonally).
Sony Ericsson K700 uses also graphic themes. There are some of them available in the basic set and more of them are to be downloaded. An interesting new feature is wallpaper animation. It looks spectacularly; for example, illuminated blocks in black or twinkling lights in a green theme. Changing graphics takes only five seconds and is quite fast. Unfortunately, themes from previous models are not compatible with Sony Ericsson K700.
Integrated graphic themes
Installation of bookmarks to next menu levels is also an important change. You can witness this change in settings menu and in the phone book. In order to avoid one long list of items, these are divided into horizontal bookmarks, so you can browse them by using the right/left arrow. This saves space, which can be used for other information.
Bookmarks in the settings • bookmarks in the phone book (notice a very small font) • setting of an alarm can be seen right after highlighting the row
As mentioned above, it's possible to assign functions to all four basic directions of the joystick. Now have a look how it works:
Assigning functions to the joystick • during the setting a menu appears, where you confirm the function you are willing to assign
Changes concern also the phone book representation, which I am describing in the Telephony part of this review. A setting wizard appears the first time you run the phone: it helps you to set time, date and tells you about the correction and cancel key functions.
The phone doesn't allow you font size changes. You can select bigger or smaller font size only when writing text messages, but that's typical feature for messages, not for editor font setting. Standard font size is well readable, except perhaps with SMS and WAP browser, where it is very thin.
Control of phone is logical; keys have the same functions everywhere. Sony Ericsson K700 is quite fast mobile, except perhabs viewing the photo gallery, where long time is needed to generate a view. However K700 is not reaching the speed of Nokia 6230, I recognize a small reactions delay here.
Context menu is available from the main display
Telephony: very small phonebook
It might seem that I am praising Sony Ericsson K700 up to here. However, now we are approaching telephony functions, the most significant reason to select a mobile phone, and we are about to discover features, which deserve strong critics.
Mainly, it's the phone book capacity. We have forty megabytes of memory available, and the phone book could contain only 510 items. Items, not names, so if you have five phone numbers under one name, it takes five items in the directory. I don't understand why Sony Ericsson hasn't developed the phone book. This problem drags on for years and pages have been written about it. Synchronization with phone works only partially, because five hundred items can't contain much information. It's a shame and the reason why I wouldn't buy Sony Ericsson K700. Otherwise it's an excellent handset. The phone has perfect sound: as in the receiver, as by using a loud handsfree. It's plangent, rich, bass, loud enough… It's a pleasure to hear it.
Typing a phone number • dialing a number
You reach the phone book by moving the joystick downwards. Neither the phone book capacity, nor the way of search has changed - you can search only by first character.
Update 27 Dec, 2004: With the new firmware version you can search the phonebook by multiple characters.
One innovation is related to the phone book. If you pick up any name in the list, a new row with a phone number beside the name is shown. By moving the joystick to the left and to the right you can go through all numbers and e-mail addresses assigned to a name. By pressing the joystick you start a call or to write a new email or MMS.
Phone number appears directly with a name in the phone book. If there are more than one, you can select by moving the joystick.
Because every contact detail is split into bookmarks, the representation is really good. It's possible to assign up to five phone numbers to each name: mobile, home, work, fax and other. You can't insert e.g. two mobile numbers. There's a space for e-mail and web address, title, company, street, city, district, ZIP code and country. You can also insert a text comment.
You can add a picture or a photo to a name, which will appear on the display with incoming and outgoing calls. It's also possible to distinguish persons by individual ringing tones and assign tags for voice dialing to individual numbers. Sony Ericsson supports caller groups as well, but it's not possible to filter calls by caller group - it's intended only for multiple SMS sending.
Adding a picture to a name • outgoing call • incoming call (here without a picture)
Still, the phone offers some way of filtering: there is a function, which could be set not to allow numbers that are not in your phone book to reach you.
You can create caller groups • ringing profiles
It's possible to record a call in progress; it's the second item in the context menu, available by pressing the joystick.