Sony Ericsson T707 review: Off it glows
User interface: like a deja vu
The T707 interface is the regular Sony Ericsson feature phone UI that is used in most of their top handsets.
The standby screen is arranged in the usual manner with information on top indicating signal strength, currently used data carrier and battery status. At the bottom of the display, just above the context keys are their labels.
The options for the menu layout are the standard foursome - theme-dependent, 3 x 4 grid of icons, rotating view and single icon view. There nothing that we haven't seen. But if you're new to Sony Ericsson's latest devices, check out our in-depth review of Sony Ericsson C903 that we wrote recently.
The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to a user-defined list of favorite features, web, recent events and, of course, the Running Apps tab that takes care of multitasking.
Flight mode can only work with a SIM card in the device and requires a restart.
The interface is visually appealing and snappy. Since the handset lacks an accelerometer, auto rotation isn't enabled in the Media Center in contrast to its Walkman-labeled twin brother, the W508.
Sony Ericsson T707 supports Flash Lite themes, which change the color scheme and wallpaper. Our handset has four themes preinstalled: Clarity, Dandelion, Forest tale, and Pink lilac.
The nice thing about Flash themes is that they can be made dynamic. We've seen various implementations with Sony Ericsson phones - for example the themes on T707 change their hue according to the time of day. We've also seen Sony Ericsson Flash themes that display new artwork on selected days such as international public holidays and such.
As before, you can also use an application as a background instead of an actual image.
Phonebook is traditional
The phonebook has space for 1000 contacts and 7000 numbers. You can choose to view contacts in the phone memory or on SIM, but not both. Either way you can set up the phone to autosave to SIM all contacts that are being saved to the phone memory. You can also back up your contacts list on the memory card and restore it from there.
The name of the contact is written in only one field, but you still have the option to sort contacts by first or last name. The phone guesses which is which and it does it very well. Naturally, you can search by gradual typing.
Before we see how that little fella handles calls we'll take a closer look at one of the intriguing features it packs - the gesture control. While you may have seen it before (in the preview of Sony Ericsson W380, for instance) but it still remains a unique feature to Sony Ericsson handsets and it deserves its due attention.
So here's how gesture control works. Once you get a call or your alarm goes off, the Sony Ericsson T707 activates the front-panel camera and uses it for motion detection - something even cheap webcams can do nowadays. Then you just wave your hand in front of the lens and the call or alarm gets silenced.
Sony Ericsson T707 offers videocall functionality, but since there is no front-facing videocall camera, it's more like videocall sharing - meaning that you can see the other party on your display but you can only share what your primary camera "sees".
Other than that handling of regular voice calls is excellent with T707 and we didn't experience any voice quality or reception problems. Call clarity is great in both the earpiece and speakerphone.
Smart dialing or Smart Search as Sony Ericsson are calling it is a great boost to usability. It looks up contacts whose numbers contain the digits you have typed or whose names begin with the corresponding letters.
Here is how the Sony Ericsson T707 stacks up against some of the other handsets we've measured in our speakerphone loudness test. More info on our test, and all results so far, are stocked here.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|Nokia 6600 fold||66.7||62.1||64.6|
|Sony Ericsson W995||65.5||66.5||73.5|
|Sony Ericsson W302||71.6||68.6||76.7||Good|
|Samsung G400 Soul||69.7||73.5||84.7||Very Good|
|Sony Ericsson T707||74.8||81.6||75.7|
Green light for threaded messaging
Sony Ericsson T707 handles all common types of messages, all of which - save for emails - share a common inbox. The phone also supports push email but can't handle any documents that are attached to emails (such as .xls, .doc, or .pdf files for example) due to the lack of a document reader.
Much like all the recent Sony Ericsson phones, the Sony Ericsson T707 has enhanced message sorting - the so-called Conversations mode or otherwise known as Threaded messaging.
Conversations mode is the alternative conversation-style layout, which displays message in threads - the SMS communication with a certain contact is organized as blobs much like in an instant messenger.
Along with what other standard messaging functionality is there, Sony Ericsson T707 offers the proprietary Manage Messages feature, plenty of settings for accounts, and the option to assign categories to messages. The Manage Messages application. Messages can be moved to memory card or phone memory, arranged by categories, date, size, and contact.