Sony Ericsson T700 review: Cup of T, anyone?

GSMArena team, 14 November 2008.
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Unboxing the T700

Sony Ericsson T700 ships in a neat and simple box and the package contents are just average. You get a charger, data cable, a two-piece detachable headset and - of course - 80 pages worth of a user guide. A 512MB M2 card is a nice little bonus.

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T700 unboxed

Sony Ericsson T700 360-degree spin

Not only notably thinner, Sony Ericsson T700 is a good 20 g lighter than the T650 it upgrades. The 78 g of weight is exactly what you get in… Anybody? That's right … Sony Ericsson W890. At 104 x 48 x 10 mm, the handset is a neat and compact piece of gear. The casing blends aluminum and plastic and the contrasting black-silver styling projects solid elegance. The black aluminum surface is nicely brushed and quite friendly to the touch. The whole casing is surprisingly finger-print proof.

Design and construction

Sony Ericsson T700 is clearly an offshoot of the thin Walkman W890. This time around the sloping edges are curved and corners are right-angled, while the round D-pad and controls have turned square. The minimalist design has crammed a bit the keypad all the way down the front but the tiny alphanumeric buttons are more comfortable than they look.

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Sony Ericsson T700

The 256K-color QVGA TFT display measures 2 inches in diagonal. Even though the comparison table above suggests 2" is the standard in thin bars, we would've welcomed a bigger screen. On a different note, the T700 display scores high in both brightness and contrast and only the K850 and C905 displays have less reflection issues. It has a wide viewing angle and sunlight legibility is adequate.

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Sony Ericsson T700 has a nice but smallish screen

Above the screen are the neat little punctures of the earpiece and the ambient light sensor. There's no front facing video-call camera this time, quite unlike either T650 or W890. The ambient light sensor does a great job of automatically adjusting both the display and the keypad backlighting according to the surrounding light. It leaves the user no option though to control backlighting in any other way. So if you for some reason need backlighting in bright daylight long you won't be able to set it manually.

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Earpiece and ambient light sensor above the display

Below the display are the navigation keys, which are grouped in three square patterns, D-pad in the middle. On the left you get a rocker-styled layout featuring a soft key at the top and Activity menu key at the bottom, with a Call key squeezed in. Symmetrically on the right, the rocker knob hosts the respective soft key and the Clear key, and encloses the End key.

Both the Call and End key are slick square knobs, tangibly elevated from their surroundings to improve accessibility and minimize wrong presses. The minimalist D-pad with small confirming center is surprisingly comfortable and mispresses are out of the question. The whole control and navigation deck is an ergonomic feast, all the keys stunningly soft and responsive, with superb tactility.

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The navigation keys are grouped in three square patterns

The keyboard of T700 consists of 12 equally sized small but well defined oblong knobs. The keypad is an almost exact match of the one in W890. The keys are even more comfortable and responsive.

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The keypad is great never mind the small-size keys

The left side of the T700 hosts the regular Fast port for connecting the charger, headset and the data cable. It does spoil the clean-cut lines and we would have liked it better if it had a cap on.

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The left side features the Fast port

A tiny knob with a padlock pictogram almost at the very top on the left is another element borrowed from W890. This layout is symmetrically doubled on the opposite side, and both knobs are used for releasing/locking the battery cover.

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The tiny battery cover knob

The right side features the camera key and the volume rocker, which doubles as a zoom lever.

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Right-hand side: volume rocker and shutter key

The top and bottom side are completely bare. There is only a tiny dint at the top to put your finger and lift the battery cover up.

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T700 top and bottom

The finely brushed back panel is made of black painted aluminum. Topside at the rear is the 3.2 megapixel camera lens. Right next to it is a small etch housing the loudspeaker grill and the photo LED.

The bottom part of the T700 back panel features the lanyard eyelet. An oblong patch of different color with the model name is another element at the back. The soft rubber cap of the memory card slot is right next to it, bordering on the rounded edge of the handset.

The card slot is actually right underneath the Fast port and makes it a whole lot worse to look at. The utterly exposed connectivity port does ruin the looks of the otherwise very stylish handset.

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Camera lens, lanyard eyelet, loudspeaker and M2 card slot rearside

Removing the battery cover unveils the standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Poly battery with a capacity of 950 mAh. The same unit is widely used across quite a range of Sony Ericsson handsets.

The manufacturer claims the battery should provide up to 370 hours of standby and up to 9.5 hours of talk time in a GSM-only network.

In reality, the phone stuck out full five days on a single battery charge with an average of 30 minutes of calls and 30 minutes of using other features per day.

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T700 powered by a standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Po battery

We have no grudge with keyboard backlighting, it's strong and solid to make the handset a pleasure to use in the dark.

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The phone in the dark • focus on the keyboard

Sony Ericsson T700 is a stunningly compact and solid piece, which offers exceptional handling. And it's so lightweight you almost get to think you'll know the difference in having the SIM card in and out. The friendly keypad is quite a surprise if you misjudged it by size and even the teeny tiny volume rocker and shutter key are quite all right to use. And the control and navigation keys are one of the best we've tried.

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Sony Ericsson T700 in hand

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