For a generation, TVs have been in the background – in more ways than one – of household entertainment.
Sony Ericsson W700i
- Value for money, Design, FM Radio with RDS
- Keypad, Memory Stick slot access, Camera lens cover
The W700i is an excellent Walkman phone with a number of good features. It is also great value for money.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
A cosmetic upgrade to the first W800i Walkman phone, Sony Ericsson's new W700i successfully combines a phone and MP3 player, but the improvements over its predecessor are minimal. The W700i is an above average music player and an excellent mobile phone with a solid list of features including a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus and a Memory Stick slot for extra storage space. At this asking price, it's also excellent value for money.
The W700i uses basically the same chassis as the W800i with the only difference being the colour scheme. The previous model was white and orange but the W700i has a more refreshing and refined titanium gold look. The rest of the unit is exactly the same so it's still a well designed and easy to use handset. Sony Ericsson has employed a simple but effective button layout with two selection keys on either side of the dedicated Walkman button, back and clear buttons as well as a five-way navigational joystick. The joystick is sometimes difficult to manoeuvre due to its stubby design and may pose a problem to those with large fingers. To support the on-board music player, the W700i includes a play/pause and a volume up/down button on each side of the phone. The latter can be used for both music and voice call volume.
One aspect of the controls that is quite frustrating is the keypad: this hasn't been improved from the W800i. The keys aren't raised enough and require a firm press to activate. Also, users of the T9 input system will not be pleased about using the joystick to change words either. This means you have to lift your fingers away from the keypad, slowing down input considerably.
The Walkman interface is once again excellent. A press of the orange 'W' button takes you straight into the music application and it is a very simple and effective design. The W700i includes menus for Now Playing, Artists, Tracks, Playlists and Videos. Much like Apple's iPod interface system, any tracks loaded onto the device are automatically sorted into these folders, which makes searching for a specific file simple and easy. You can create playlists from within the device by searching through your files and marking which tracks you want to add to that particular list. You can also send files to another phone or computer directly from the Walkman application via email, Bluetooth, infrared or as a Picture Message, which we found useful.
Unfortunately you once again can't rename music files from within the device - this has to be done using the PC Suite software (which does not provide support for Mac users). The W700i also includes an FM radio with 10 presets and features RDS (Radio Data System) which displays station broadcast information.
Sony Ericsson has not included a 3.5mm Headphone jack on the W700i, but they have boxed a Headphone adapter with the unit. This plugs into the bottom of the phone and allows you to connect any normal set of headphones, enabling you to use them with the portable hands free kit thanks to the adapter's inbuilt microphone. The sound quality of the W700i is impressive and the included noise reduction headphones were of a surprisingly high standard. Also offered is a five-channel equaliser that you can adjust manually, as well as four pre-sets including Mega Bass. The only gripe we have with the MP3 playback capabilities is the volume, which could be a little louder and doesn't really pack enough punch at its highest setting.
On the back of the phone is a 2.0 megapixel fixed focus camera with flash and a lens cover. The quality of photos it takes are fairly decent, but it is not good enough to replace a stand-alone digital camera. The W700i camera takes photos at Small (160x120), Medium (640x480) and Large (1632x1224) resolutions and can shoot in panorama, with frames or in burst mode. Our main concern with the camera is the lens cover. When sliding the phone out of your pocket, the cover can easily slide open, meaning the camera application starts - even when the phone has its keypad lock activated.
The camera has extensive settings including night mode, light, a self-timer, four effects (colour, sepia, etc.), white balance and time and date. Also included is a video camera, which can record until the memory stick is full. Sony Ericsson includes a 256MB memory stick in the sales package as well as the latest version of Disk2Phone software.
The W700i contains the standard call functions including missed, received and last dialled. A built-in hands-free speakerphone is also included. We found the quality of phone calls was fine, although as with the Walkman application, the volume could have been slightly louder. An annoying factor of the W700i is the Memory Stick slot, located on the left hand side of the phone. It is quite difficult to remove without long fingernails.
The W700i supports GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz networks, as well as GPRS, and Bluetooth and Infrared for short-range connectivity. We were a little disappointed that there is no 3G support.
Sony Ericsson rates the W700i's battery life at nine hours of talk time and up to 400 minutes on standby. We found these figures were pretty close to the mark and this is pretty impressive, especially considering the amount of features the W700i offers.
Overall, if you already own the W800i, there is no reason to upgrade, but on its own the W700i is an excellent Walkman phone with a number of good features. At the price, it is also pretty good value for money.
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