Sony Ericsson S700 review: Welcome to Japan

Marek Lutonskύ, 26 October 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Telephony

Sound during calls is excellent; Sony Ericsson has been true to the tradition. It's loud enough and also the build-in handsfree makes a clear sound. I was surprised that it's not possible to accept calls just by opening the phone; it's necessary to press a key. In this case you don't need to open the phone; you can call whether it's open or closed. Similarly you can't terminate a call simply by closing the phone; again you have to use the appropriate key.

  
Entering a number • dialing 

It's possible to record calls in progress; the recorder activation item is at the second place in the context menu. With some other phones it's necessary to go through the entire menu and it decreases the usefulness of the recorder a lot.

  
Call register

The major weakness of Sony Ericsson phones is always the address book and unfortunately it's the same with the S700 model. Get ready for searching by first character only and for a capacity of 510 numbers (I repeat, 510 numbers, not names). This solution takes Sony Ericsson out of the game for people with more structured address book. I don't think they will reduce their address book just for a phone limitation. As with the K700 model it's not possible to save a shortcut Find name, which was the solution for this problem with previous models.

Update: Sony Ericsson released a new firmware, which allows phones to search by more characters.

   
Address book • context menu at a name • contact detail • assigned picture  

Otherwise the address book is very well arranged. Display can accommodate six rows; the active one shows the default number. By browsing left and right you'll get to the other numbers and pressing the joystick starts dialing.

 
Speed dialing settings • groups settings 

Up to five numbers can be assigned to every name; types of numbers can't be repeated. That means that for one person you can have just one mobile, work, office, fax and other number. But the memory can keep more information, which fortunately doesn't suffer limited capacity: an e-mail address, web page, picture (appears during an incoming call), individual ringing tone and voice label for every number. Also a title (degree), company, postal address and a text note (max. 50 characters). Sorting the contacts in groups is useful only for multiple SMS sending. Groups have no influence on filtering the ringing profiles.

The profiles are traditionally well developed. There are eight of them and they all can be edited. It's possible to set a ringing tone, ringing volume, vibrations, message tone, keys and alarm tones, illumination (automatic or turned off), call divert (can be different for every profile) and allowed calls (all, none, from the address book only).

Except the selection of sound for incoming message, where it's still possible to select among seven options and a silent mode only, the ringing personalization is rich enough. Besides 40 channels MID files it's possible to use also MP3 files. The phone plays really well and loud. Quite loud is also the vibration motor, but that is not a welcome feature.

Messages

Sony Ericsson S700 handles all types of mobile messages that we know: SMS, multimedia messages, email browser and My friends client for instant messaging.

Text messages editor is not wasting space as before. We have seven rows available for writing. Due to the embedded keypad typing is not very comfortable; we know better mobiles in this regard. There is no delay in writing.

  
Messages menu • writing an SMS • context menu during a message writing

T9 dictionary helps during writing. Finally it features a great possibility to edit and delete words which you have inserted into the dictionary. Twenty characters before the end of every part of the message the phone starts to countdown, so you can notice that you are getting closer to another part. So far we don't know the messages memory capacity. The phone can certainly store a lot of them but we don't know the exact number yet.

Working with multimedia messages is very comfortable. In the editor you can see the picture right where you inserted it; Sony Ericsson supports also multi-page messages, but one MMS can not contain more than 100 KB of data. Besides pictures and text it's also possible to attach sound files and video records.

 MMS editor

The email browser features the same parameters as e.g. Sony Ericsson K700. It can do practically everything what we expect from a mobile email browser. The important thing is that it accepts attachments, so pictures can be sent from a mobile to a mobile cheaper than via MMS. For the regular supply of emails you can use regular download from remote box content in preset intervals.

 Email client menu

Now remains the My friends function. Actually it's a type of a mobile ICQ but for now this function is utilizable more for testing purposes than for a practical use.

Calendar

Contemporary phones are so similar, that I feel like I'm writing the same text again and again. Sony Ericsson S700, as any other high-class phone, features a calendar showing the events in a month, week and day view. Thanks to the outstanding resolution the display accommodates a lot of information; this can be seen well especially in the week view.

 
Month, week and day view in the calendar

It's not possible to select different types of events in the calendar; there is only one type available. Just enter start date and time, duration (either from the menu or select the end date and time), event subject, place and reminder type. Besides silent event, when nothing sounds, Sony Ericsson offers several possibilities of warning in advance; you can set also an exact day and hour. Again we meet a traditional problem: it's not possible to enter recurrent events right in the phone.


Entering a new event

The To-do list allows you to choose between two options for entering new items: a task and a call. In the first case you should enter reminder subject and date; for a call the phone requires a phone number (can be selected from the address book). Completed tasks can be marked as accomplished; which is a way to recognize the to-do list.

   
Organizer main menu • working with tasks • a text note

In the alarm clock the alarms can be either standard or recurrent. There you can choose days to be alarmed at. Also you can choose sound, which can be an MP3 file. From the timing functions point of view there are a countdown timer and a stopwatch available. The Organizer section contains also a simple calculator and a secret codes memory. Usually we rate also the voice recorder in this section. The phone is not displaying what the maximum record length may be.

   
Alarm settings • countdown timer • stopwatch • calculator

Organizer functions of Sony Ericsson S700 are the same as with the K700 model and except the different graphical interface it's not different from the previous Sony Ericsson mobile phones.


Voice recorder

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