The Sony Ericsson T707 flip opening mechanism is quite smooth however we'd prefer it to be more springy. But then again that might be an issue only with our pre-production unit as a Sony Ericsson W508 we saw had a quite more assisting punch to it.
At 14.1 mm thick, the Sony Ericsson T707 is not more than a millimeter thicker than most other clamshells, and the 95 grams render it pleasantly solid. The overall weight is nicely balanced too, so it quite comfortable to hold as well.
The T707 display is by no means big, 2.2" screens are better suited for bar phones. The plenty of unused frame around it makes it look even smaller. It has QVGA resolution and supports displaying up to 256K colors.
In general the T707 primary display performs nicely and remains altogether legible under direct sunlight.
The keypad is totally flat and the spacing between keys is excessive, which makes touch orientation very difficult. Key stroke is quite shallow, which hinders typing feedback. That being said, it's interesting to note, that the entire lower deck styling is a near complete rip-off of a year-old Sony Ericsson low-ender - the R306 Radio. We didn't like its keypad either. But het, it may be subject to mechanical improvements, our T707 unit still a pre-production one.
Even if not the best in terms of usability, one thing we like about the keypad is the texture of super fine grooves that is quite pleasant to the touch and provides a very firm grip.
The T707 keypad illuminates gradually, lighting up in three steps - D-pad first, navigation keys next, and finally the bunch of alphanumeric keys. Of course, at this stage key backlighting is not perfect, but it will probably be improved.
The left side of the T707 only houses an exposed FastPort. Sony Ericsson still refuse to cover that aperture, which is a real nuisance to design uniformity as far as our taste goes.
On the T707 right-hand side are the volume rocker and a misleadingly looking slit with M2 etched next to it. We said misleadingly, because the card slot is not accessible from the side. Instead, it's under the battery cover and the slit is just to help you pull the back cover open.
The back of the device is made of matte plastic, which feels nice and rubbery although it's not completely immune to fingerprints. It features the Sony Ericsson logo and the loudspeaker. Again, much like some other Sony Ericsson phones, the logo is slightly raised, making the handset wobbly on an even surface.
Now it's time to finally close the flip
The external cover of T707 is where rainbows are made - the exterior is no less that eye-catching. The front panel houses both a secondary display plus some hidden light effects.
The exterior surface looks quite elegant even though it doesn't quite stand closer inspection - the panel looks like the dark color was actually printed on it.
The secondary display is hidden in the large semi-circle and when it's off, it blends in with the shiney black surface, which is also advertized as scratch resistant, so it shouldn't loose its gloss. That black plastic however is exactly what makes the outer display totally illegible under direct sunlight.
The external display itself is not very big and is just monochrome but manages to squeeze in information about the time, battery status, signal strength and missed events.
The large semi-circle is part of the light-effects that the T707 offers - it actually consists of two concentric circles that pulse with white light when the phone is ringing. Further on the little concave circle in the lower right corner of the front panel also lights up in color.
Both these circular elements can be backlit in a choice of five different colors - amber, amethyst, beryl, diamond and sapphire - and these colors are in fact assignable to individual contacts.
The light effects also work as an indicator for missed calls, but they blink in too large intervals and don't use the color specified for the contact.
And unfortunately, the light effects seem too dim and it's really hard to tell the difference between colors unless you're in a dark room.
The T707 front panel also houses the lens of an unambitious 3.15 megapixel camera with fixed focus and Cell-ID geotagging.
Under the T707 back cover there's nothing surprising - a BST-39 Li-Ion battery of 930 mAh capacity plus the SIM and memory card slot. The memory card slot is just a regular M2 card slot, unlike what the Sony Ericsson specs report. At the time of writing this, Sony Ericsson state on their website that T707 has additional support for microSD cards, but that's highly unlikely to be true and is most probably a mistake.
The Sony Ericsson T707 feels solid and compact in the hand, built of materials, which are pleasant to touch. The hinge could have been just a little stronger but other than that the T707 is quite enjoyable to work with. The flat keyboard however throws any chance of touch-typing out the window. Pity, the clamshell has plenty of room for big and comfortable keys.