Product Type: Sony mobile phones
Newest Review: ... had terrible reception. I've both phones right now in my hand: a Nokia 8210 and a Sony CMD-Z7. Sony has full reception but Nokia 812... more
Slightly dated but still going strong
Member Name: edka
Date: 25/12/02, updated on 06/04/05 (4169 review reads)
Advantages: Jog Dial & Big Screen, Email, Optional Wallpaper & Ringer software
Disadvantages: A bit thick, No longer supported by Sony, Weak vibrate
Very often advocates of this phone will focus on how pleasing the Sony Z7 is to the eye and how compact it is (the term 'credit card sized' is often quoted by shops). But I don't think this really applies anymore. Admittedly I still like the look of this phone, but with the release of a new generation of more high-tech and more compact phones (many of which have colour screens) the Sony Z7 is no longer at the cutting edge of mobile phone technology. While it's still small enough to fit snugly into a jeans pocket the phone's thickness compares unfavourably with many other similarly priced phones (it's even noticeably thicker than its predecessor, the Sony Z5 - the price that was paid for the absence of an external aerial on the Z7). Another thing that might put off potential buyers is it feels a bit 'plasticy' and is easily scratched in comparison to other phones (for example the Samsung range of phones which, despite being a nightmare to use, do make a satisfying 'thud' when you close the flip.) One other minor gripe is that it has a very weak vibrating function (the vibrate is actually powered by the phone's speaker). However in my opinion the drawbacks to the Z7 stop here.
Contrary to some other users I think the Sony Z7 is one of the easiest phones to navigate. Not only are the menus easy to navigate for those new to the phone they can also be navigated extremely quickly for people familiar with it. This is down to two main factors:
1) The large screen allows for extremely clear graphics making menus clear and user friendly.
2) The Jog dial:
This feature of the phone has been criticized by some other users but I think it is a fantastic characteristic of the Z7. It's fairly easy to use to for beginners, but as you get familiar with the dial you really can perform operations in a flash. The dial can be moved in 5 different ways: It can be scrolled up and down (to navigate menus), pushed in (t
o select), pulle
d towards you (to cancel), and pushed away from you (for other functions). This may sound strange at first but this range of movement means you can navigate you phone with one hand without taking your finger off the dial.
Most of the actual features of the phone are fairly standard. It has a WAP browser common to most phones now, but you can also use it to browse HTML pages on the web (admittedly you have to stick to simple text pages for obvious reasons). The phone book also has room for 500 contacts and you can input 5 bits of information of each contact (3 numbers and 2 bits of text - I use this for birthdays and email addresses) resulting in a capacity of 2500 bits of information! Another useful feature I have found invaluable is the phone?s capability of using an ISP to send and receive email (you need a POP3 email account like Yahoo). Once you have set up details of an ISP (there are many you don't even have to sign up for such as UK2) you can check email simply by clicking on 'Read email'. This is a great little feature and one I feel is slightly under-advertised considering its usefulness. You can also send email but this is more for emergencies (typing up to 700 characters on a phone keypad, even with T9, is not one of the greatest experiences). The phone has a number of other useful features which I won't go into detail about. These include a good calendar, voice memo and a calculator (one far easier to use than the Nokia equivalent).
A much hyped feature of the Sony Z7 is its ability record ringtones of your own from any sound source, but this is a novelty that soon wear's off due to disappointing quality. The polyphonic ringtones sound pretty good though, and don't grate on your ears as much as traditional ringtones.
Another feature of this phone often neglected is its pc connectivity. With the additional purchase of a data cable you can perform all sorts of tasks such as using it a
s a modem to connect
to the internet. There are a number of other things you can do with a data cable and pc. With Sony's QN-3DS software it is possible to create and download ringers and wallpapers directly to the Z7. The ringer software makes it possible for you to find ringers other people made (on the internet) and download them to your phone (or even convert midi files). The wallpaper software allows you to convert any image you have into a background (albeit in a slightly grainy greyscale format). However this software is hard to come by and very expensive (about £50 last time I checked). There is also a program called FoneSych which is useful for synchronising your phone's address book with programs such as Outlook, which is great when you have a lot of contacts to add and get frustrated with typing on the phones keypad.
There is one major drawback with the phone's pc connectivity - the Z7 is not officially compatible with Windows XP or ME. I've heard of people getting it working but I haven't had much luck myself. In addition to this there is no longer any support for this phone so this is not an issue that is likely to be corrected. As SonyEricsson support are quick to point out, the Z7 is not a SonyEricsson phone, it's a Sony phone and as a result you get little support from them if you need help. This is not a great disaster but is something you might want to take into account if the ability to download new ringtones is something important to you (as it is to so many people now).
So to conclude the Sony Z7 isn't really considered a flash phone anymore (which could be considered an advantage). It isn't Bluetooth compatible, it can't take photos, it doesn't have a colour screen, and it won't slide into the change compartment of your wallet. However quality of the features is does have are top-notch and the sheer ease of use of the Z7 makes it a phone I'd want to hang onto. It's just
a pity that there won't be a successor...