Sony Ericsson S700 review: Welcome to Japan

Marek Lutonskż, 26 October 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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We've always wanted to have mobiles like those they have in Japan, but nobody ever gave us something similar. The new Sony Ericsson S700 is close for it can do almost everything you may wish from a mobile phone. It features a top class display, megapixel camera and a very untraditional swivel-opening construction. Read further.

Sony Ericsson has chosen an interesting strategy for its top model. It is well-known that from the technology point of view Japan is years ahead of Europe. So why not to take a piece of Japanese know-how and use it in Europe? As a consequence we may say that the new Sony Ericsson S700 resembles mobiles being sold in Japan more than any other European phone.

Sony Ericsson S700 represents the new conception of "two front sides". It appears as a mobile from one side and from the other it looks like a digital camera. Moving the lock opens the sliding doors, than the phone activates the camera interface on the display and you can start shooting. In order shooting to be as natural as possible, the user holds the phone in a horizontal position as a regular camera. The finger fits exactly on the release; exposure compensation is controlled by the rock switch button, up and down arrows control the zoom. S700 is the first Sony Ericsson camera mobile with megapixel resolution.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700
This is how the Sony Ericsson mobiles being sold in Japan really look like

Sony Ericsson S700 is on the market since the mid October for about $650-$750 (USD). We are describing a testing unit, but it's perfectly reliable.

Hi tech at first sight

Sony Ericsson S700 is a phone from the category that we call "for technoids". It targets those users who would like to have the latest technologies in hand. The design of this mobile is therefore very technical. As I am comparing it to my ideas about the future from ten-fifteen years ago, I can say it looks almost the same; at least similar designs were usually to be seen in sci-fi movies.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700

Perhaps we can't say that Sony Ericsson S700 is a beautiful phone. Common thoughts about beauty are usually inclined to Samsung or other phones, which are attractive at first sight. That may not be the case of S700, but it's a mobile with its own style and it will surely make an impression to its target group.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700

Quite a fatty

The excessive miniaturization is not fashionable in Japan. Their phones are very big and massive from the Europeans point of view. That's the case of Sony Ericsson S700 as well. It's a pretty chuffy block sized 108 x 49 x 25 mm and it scales 137g. Comparing it to other phones we can see that it's quite big and heavy. However the edges of the phone are cut and rounded and despite its size the phone fits well in the palm.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700
Comparing the size with a card • imagine the Titanic

Sony Ericsson S700 has no replaceable shells and it's perfectly solid. You can press it as you wish and you won't hear a single creak. Shells are made of plastic but they seem to be of a very good quality. Also the usually problematic back cover is attached tightly and has no looseness at all. It's attached perhaps too tightly which I discovered when I was unsuccessfully trying to remove the cover.

Let's describe the swivel-opening construction, because it's different than with other European phones; we can find something similar only with Motorola V80. Sony Ericsson S700 is neither a clamshell nor a mobile phone with a sliding construction. That's because the display is swiveling towards the bottom part. The swiveling axis is situated approximately in the middle of the 4-way button. Unlike Motorola V80, the cover doesn't sling, you have to turn it manually. It goes in both directions, always by 180 degrees and the same way backwards.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700

Because the display part is not placed entirely straight, after complete opening you won't get a flat phone. The display is raised a bit above the surface of the bottom part. After opening the phone its size gets a bit striking, it's 164 mm long.

In contrast to Motorola V80, Sony Ericsson can't turn the image on the display. So if you are working with the phone in closed position, when it's possible to go through the menu and use some of the functions, you should turn the phone for complete opening. As to the placement of the control keys, which need to stay on their place, there's no other way. Two fixed catches are holding the display in both side positions - in fully opened and fully closed position. The phone is absolutely solid also during its opening and Sony Ericsson has secured it; both catches are working as wedges, which prevent looseness.

Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700 Click to zoom. Sony Ericsson S700

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