Sony Ericsson S700 review: Welcome to Japan
Graphics in the menu
Graphical interface of the Sony Ericsson S700 is very similar, or maybe the same, as with the K700 model. K700 has redesigned the environment, which Sony Ericsson phones were using for the last couple of years.
The menu features the classic matrix. You can find twelve items there. The icons are just lovely; you can see the display quality here. Selected icon gets enlarged and animated. Next menu levels are in most cases divided into well-arranged folders. The layout is very easy and intuitive. The menu browsing works fast enough, except the main menu where the phone slows down sometimes.
The graphical interface look can be adapted with graphic schemes, setting main display wallpaper and menu background at the same time. Original wallpapers are animated and they look pretty good on the quality display. There are four of them available in the phone and it's possible to download more of them straight from the producer's web pages.
On the main display you will see a picture of the selected wallpaper. In the top row you will find status icons and the operator's name below them. Two bottom rows accommodate information about date and time and a hint for the actual function of the two keys below the display. After quite a short time a preset display saver appears. Animated savers made by Sony Ericsson are again very attractive.
The main menu is formed in icon matrix: three columns and four rows. You can select an item fast by using an appropriate number key. Number selections are possible also in other menu levels but numbers are not indicated by single items, so you should count the numerical order.
You can assign fast selection of functions to the four directions of the main navigation key. In the car you'll certainly appreciate the possibility of voice control. Sony Ericsson S700 is now without a key on the right side for starting the WAP service as with previous models. Similarly dedicated key is now hidden safer in the block of numeric keys.
At first place in the menu there is an insidious icon for PlayNow service, which also starts connecting the WAP browser. By entering the main menu however a Messaging icon is highlighted and you shouldn't get to the first picture in the row by mistake.
Maybe you'll ask what the PlayNow function is about. Don't expect something world-shaking. It's a possibility to download MP3 files straight to the mobile where you can play them. That sounds good so far but the main problem is that these music files are just 30 second demos and can be used only for ringing tones. In every country where the service is supported, a top chart is available and you should view the chart on your mobile. If you'll find a song you like, you can download it. All new Sony Ericsson phones will be equipped with this multimedia function.
Camera with mobile phone functions
The integrated camera can make pictures of very good quality in 1280 x 960 pixels resolution. With its setting possibilities it's comparable with a regular digital camera. Other photomobiles can only envy to Sony Ericsson S700 for its excellent picture quality and large display with outstanding color imaging and high resolution.
I've already mentioned the handy placement of the exposure compensation on the left forefinger key. You can do more tricks with the camera. It features a possibility of spot metering or setting the white balance in pre-defined modes. You won't be deprived - of course - of a self timer or a night mode functions. In lack of light you can use the intensively luminous diode to bring more light to the scene. Possibility to clear the counter of pictures you've made is just a handy complement.
Pictures are saved in JPEG format and you can select whether they will be saved on the memory card or in the phone. If a megapixel resolution is too much for you (for example for a picture assigned in the address book), you can set it to 640 x 480, 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 resolution. You can shoot either in a classic way or in a form of four pictures series. A megapixel picture has an average size of 190 KB.
You can decorate pictures with frames or modify them in the phone. The quality is excellent; you can find out from the pictures below. Just take into consideration that due to the high resolution the pictures are more size demanding. Pictures are positively the best quality I've seen from a camera phone and they are almost as good as pictures taken with digital cameras.
You can switch over to video recording mode just by pressing the right navigation key. Of course it's not possible to record a video in full resolution and its quality is fully comparable to other photomobiles. Look at the demo.
For managing the internal 32 MB memory and the memory card there is File manager available. Pictures, sounds, video files, graphic schemes, games, applications and other types of files are stored in various thematic folders. You will see pictures preview in default and if you press the joystick it switches over to a full-display mode. You can also select from the context menu and display a picture in horizontal position in order to utilize all the display's space.