Sony Ericsson W715 and C510 preview: First look
The Sony Ericsson W715 represents the latest and greatest in the realm of Sony Ericsson Walkmans. It looks just like the Sony Ericsson W705, but adds GPS to the equation. This way it gets identical to the Sony Ericsson G705, but being a Vodafone-only device, the two will probably evade direct competition.
The Walkman pedigree ensures that the Sony Ericsson W715 has the latest and greatest in Sony Ericsson spoiling music features such as Shake control and SenseMe, while GPS and Wi-Fi are the icing on of the cake.
Sony Ericsson W715 360-degree spin
Sony Ericsson W715 design and construction
The Sony Ericsson W715 is a compact device and has a relatively large 2.4-inch display. The frame around the display is made of brushed metal, while everything else is plastic. The materials used seem really nice and add to the W715 an air of luxury.
The 2.4-inch display is as far as Sony Ericsson feature phones go, so you will be getting the company's best with the W715. The Flash user interface graphics really looks nice on the display. But we hope to see even bigger displays from Sony Ericsson. Multimedia needs screen estate, there's no doubt about it.
The keys below the display have a well known design and positioning so there are no surprises here. Their usability is on a nice level, but the same goes for the ultra flat alpha-numeric keypad. Press feedback is great and the individual keys have enough elevation so that touch orientation is nice.
The W715 lacks any external music keys if you don't count the D-pad. There is a Walkman music player key on top of the device but it doesn't work if the phone is locked (slider closed) and when you slide open the slider it's really hard to get to due to the front panel covering it.
The back panel has the same locking mechanism as some previous Sony Ericsson models, and is identical to the one of the recent G705 and W705. The locking mechanism is a really nice idea, but the downer is that as the memory card slot is under the back cover and when you want to get to it, sliding the lock is another extra step that gets on your nerves with time.
The 3 megapixel camera lens is on the back the W715. Right next to is there is single LED flash, which proved really underpowered for low light shooting, unless you're doing macro shots perhaps. There is no self-portrait mirror.
Sony Ericsson W715 user interface
You won't be surprised by the Sony Ericsson user interface. It's still the best feature phone interface in its class and the only thing it currently lacks is an office document viewer.
The Flash Lite themes support is one of its greatest advantages and the Sony Ericsson W715 comes with several of them - of course you are free to download more.
Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, you can enjoy auto screen rotation in the multimedia menu as well as in the web browser.
Sony Ericsson have been integrating a really nice YouTube client in all of their mid- to high-end phones. The client is present here as well.
All the phones announced yesterday by Sony Ericsson also have one new feature - it's the conversation style SMS/MMS displaying or otherwise threaded SMS/MMS. The conversation style messages resemble instant messengers. Similar message layout has already been offered by Apple iPhone and Windows Mobile 6.1 devices. With the Sony Ericsson solution (as well as with WM 6.1), you can choose which layout should be the default one - the regular old type or the new conversation style.
Both the Sony Ericsson W715 and C510 have that feature (we suppose future phones too), and the Sony Ericsson C905 will be getting it too via that all-important software update we told you about yesterday.
The Sony Ericsson W715 is equipped with a 3 megapixel fixed focus camera. The interface of the camera is the usual Cyber-shot stuff, with only a few things missing here and there. Geotagging is among the available features - thanks to the built-ing GPS receiver.
If you are interested in sample camera images form the W715, you will fond those on the last page of this article.
As far as video recording is concerned, the W715 is a bit of a letdown. Its video recording of QVGA@15fps is only good for MMS purposes if you as us. The C510 has better video recording, but we'll say more about it on the next page.
As we already mentioned, there's GPS on board the W715. That's the reason why it gets the full Location services suite including Google Maps and in our case - the Wayfinder Navigator. We are not really sure whether the final version will have the Wayfinder Navigator too, as the official press release said that the Vodafone-only W715 will use their own navigation software called Vodafone Find&Go besides Google Maps.
The Sony Ericsson W715 comes with a few extra applications, the most interesting of which are AccuWeather Lite for providing weather info, CamPlus for taking automatically a succession of images and Walk Make, which is a step counting application with detailed reports on past activity. Unfortunately, it's only relatively accurate in counting your steps.