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The S700i was released by Sony Ericcson back in 2004 and in my opinion was the start of a very long line of great mobiles from Sony Ericcson. It came available in just one colour - silver - which suited everyone. In my opinion this was probably the first amazing phone Sony Ericcson released.
The Sony Ericcson S700i was the first "decent, modern" mobile phone that I have ever owned after taking out my first contract. One of my friends actually had this phone before me and I was utterly bedazzled by it. I was attracted to the phone for a number of reasons main ones being design and number of great features.
The phone itself is a curved rectangular shape at first glance. As previously mentioned the phone comes only in silver and comes with a 2.3" 262K color TFT LCD display which takes up most of the front of the phone with the exception of a couple of buttons to work the easy to use navigation menu that you see on all Sony Ericcsons. The main design feature to sell the phone to me is the fact that the top half of the phone does a "swival" meconism to reveal the number keypad under. I think this looks really attractive but a great thing this could stop is accidental dialling whilst the phone is in your pocket - older phones like this normally didn't have any sort of keypad protection. The keypad buttons under are of a good size and quite firm and easy to put. The under part and buttons here are also silver like the top.
The phone to me was a bit thick and on the bulky side due to the swival feature / two layers the phone has. So be aware of this. For those interested in the exact spec it weighs 137g and the dimensions are : 108 x 49 x 25 mm .
Ease of use
The reason why I love the iPhone so much now is all down to Sony Ericcson and their similar menu style and easy to use navigation. Rather than having to scroll through different options on the phone you have little icons there in front of you and you just click to the facility in the phone you need. In my opinion, like the iPhone, Sony Ericcsons are by far the easiest phones you can use.
This phone literally did everything that every other phone back in 2004 could not do. The best bits for me were:
* The 1.3 MP camera located on the back (which also had a manual closing lens cover for protection) - The picture quality when transfering to a PC was also pretty decent and the pictures came out a good size!
* Using it as an MP3 player (which could easily be done from your computer using an included USB cable)
* Capable of playing ACTUAL videos and downloading new ones (as well as a video recorder)
* You could use your own MP3's as ringtones / message tones (unheard of on phones back then)
* Java games - which were a step up from the very old "snake" style games everyone had back then!
* New picture messaging (MMS) option as well as your normal text and now had email
* Bluetooth to transfer files between phones
* Radio (which could be listened to when earphones were connected)
* Internet (although back then this was not very good, as was using WAP / no 3G back then... to be honest this didn't really bother me as the internet then was nothing like it is today!)
The Worst bits
Honestly... I don't think there was anything I could really say negative about this phone. Apart from the fact it lasted me about 4 months due to me dropping it in a full cup of coke from McDonalds made me realise this phone actually doesn't like Coke very much... I dried the battery out and even went to lengths to replace the battery to no avail. Sadly I also wasn't insured which was a bit of waste of money as previously mentioned it was on contract.
However I cannot fault the phone too much as in general it was great, for its time had really decent speakers (which you tend to get on all Sony Ericcsons), easy to use, not slow / laggish, durable, (in the sense that it used to get dropped and thrown everywhere and only eventually died when dropped in a large cup of coke). It was released 8 years ago - can't believe it was that long ago! And has now discontinued due to the larger range of phones out with much better spec and features. At present there is a used S700i on Amazon for just £24.99 but I'm sure if you find someone with this lying round as a spare phone in their house you can get it much cheaper.
This phone has to be one of my favourates i have owned. It has many features and very good sound quality when playing music (though both the earphones and the speakers). The size of the screen is also brilliant for displaying photos and playing videos; games aswell are also very good to play on this phone because of this.
Texting i found to be very easy on this phone with the way in which all the buttons were very spaced out, making it easy for people with very big hands and small hands.
My signal was also always very strong, being much more reliable than newer phones i have owned.
The only problems i have with this phone (and very big problems they are) is its size and weight. I would often relate to it as 'my brick' as it is very large and heavy, always knowing when it was in my pocket. However, texting was made easier because of its size, filling the hand much better, and also taking photos was much easier because of the size (as it felt more like a conventional camera).
Overal, i feel If you are not bothered about the size of this phone, I would not hesitate to buy it, as you are unlikely to find many other options which are smaller, a similar price, and have very similar features.
The Phone looks good, the build quality is superb, the features on the phone cannot be faulted but is all this worth it when phone is as reliable as a "Builder on a Friday".
The gadgets incorporated into the phone are superb. Bluetooth, MP3 player, Camera with 1.3 megapixel's and video facility's amongst a few.
The problem I have found with this particular phone is the reliability in sending and receiving text messages.
On many an occasion I have been sent a text from a friend or the other half and not received it until the next day, I have even received text's a week later.
I work as a courier in the Gtr London area, and spend a fair bit of time back and forward into London. I obviously pay the congestion charge.
I was paying by text message using the phone, but I was never receiving the confirmation of payment text's from CCL, until the next morning so I was never exactly sure the payments had been processed O.K. A bit of a gamble I know, at £50 a time if you have'nt paid.
One day I paid the charge via text, but unfortunately for me I had insufficient funds in the old bank account. I was unaware of this and thought I had a few quid in the account. I never received the confirmation text, but thought nothing of it. 2 days later I'm back up London, paying the charge again by text. Once again no confirmation text and still no confirmation from the other day, but hay nothing new there, with this phone.
Once again the following day I'm back up London paying or presuming I'm paying the congestion charge by text.
The next day the first of the penaltie charges start coming through the door, there goes £50 of my hard earned. The next day the same, there goes another £50. Then the third day here comes the next penaltie charge, another £50.
So In one week that was £150 this phones unreliability cost me.
I had it out with the NSP. I even changed my NSP, but still have the problem so it must be the phone.
DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE IF YOU WANT A RELIABLE PHONE YOU CAN TRUST!!!!!
The world of mobile phones is an ever-changing one - just think, a couple of years ago the Nokia 3510i was a top of the range handset (I should know - I took a contract out to get one), nowadays though if a new handset is released without a Video Camera, a decent Internet connection and an F.M. radio then theres a strong possibility that it wont sell well at all, thankfully the Sony-Ericsson S700i has all that, and then some.
** Phone Features **
Rather than just do a mini-blurb on the features, Im going to give you a list of the features and then afterwards a piece on each one as theres just too many to write a single paragraph on, so here goes:
1.3 Mega pixel Camera
- 1.3 Mega pixel Camera
Before I got my S700i Id never really bothered with the Camera on my previous phones, but this camera is a bit special, as it states - its a 1.3 megapixel camera so its not as if youre going to end up with a small grainy picture on your screen - every picture you take is going to be clear and crisp. Also you have a huge screen to play with so everything comes out as clear as you could expect, more on the Screen later.
You can also use a variety of different effects on your pictures, including Sepia, Negative and many others - but theyre just for a bit of fun with pictures and nothing to shout home about.
- Video Camera
A little bit of a smaller picture than that of the photo-camera, but you can take up to 30 minutes worth of video footage with the camera. Picture quality-wise it is a little bit grainy and the sound is sometimes a bit hard to hear but then it is only a phone youre recording off and if you wanted to take a proper video - then there's got to be a lot of better tools than a mobile phone camera.
** Extra Part **
One feature that sits very nicely with me about both cameras is the lens - instead of it being sat there exposed for the world to dust up and/or scratch there's a tiny switch on the side of the lens that control a small shutter, which covers the lens up, and even better youre not allowed to use the camera when the covers shut.
- MP3 Player
The first disappointment with the MP3 Player is the fact that you dont get any tools for uploading MP3s when you buy the phone - you need to go out and buy either an MP3 cable (usually around £10-20) or a dongle (usually around £40-50). Now Ive got the dongle myself (a small box-type thing that you can plug into your PCs USB Port and copy MP3s to then plug into your phone and upload them that way), and it works pretty easily on a plug and play style basis, just plug it into your computer and drag things across to the external drive it creates, then when you plug it into your phone it asks you straight away if you want to upload the songs.
(Note here the dongle/cable arent just for MP3 transfer - you can use it for pictures and videos as well - but I wouldnt bother with Videos, as theyll still have quite a small screen and its just embarrassing to have a videos audio from the S700i play through your computers speakers).
The Player itself is done via a Media Player style program that has all the standards - i.e. shuffle of songs, play in a certain order, play one/some songs only, and repeat, the audio is exceptionally clear and its rare that youll ever encounter errors with it at all.
- WAP 2.0
I remember when I had the Samsung A300 and got excited because it had monochrome internet screens, as with computer games Im embarrassed that I was impressed with such old technology compared to what you can get now, especially the S700is internet.
With Nokia phones Ive noticed that the screen actually shrinks when you go online, with the S700i your whole screen is filled with a small browser that is usually quick and responsive, to visit a site simply go via the options menu and type in the address the same way youd type a text and youre away, and if there's ever any problems then itll tell you exactly what it is and who if anyone you need to contact.
- Blue tooth
You know when your friends got a picture or ringtone on their phone that you really want? Well if theyve got Blue tooth as well then theres no need for expensive Multi-Media messaging to get one for yourself, all you need to be is within 10-20 feet of their phone and you can blue tooth it to each other.
What exactly is Blue tooth I hear you ask? Well its a small technology that if 2 phones have it turned on you can send files back and forth without having to send them in a message. Also you can use your phones blue tooth to use equipment like wireless headsets and even small remote control cars (I kid ye not), so it is a BIG advancement in handsets at the moment.
- Memory Stick
Ill keep this short and sweet, your phone comes complete with a 32 Megabyte Memory Card (if you want you can upgrade it to a 64 Megabyte card) which can store items such as MP3s, Games and Ringtones. Now this is handy because if you ever have to have your phone replaced under a warranty or repaired you dont lose any important downloads that you want to keep.
The reason Ive called it a Memory Stick is because you get a small applicator, which makes the Memory Card a bit bigger but more importantly means you can use it in the photo machines in places like Boots. What all that means is that you can take a picture with the camera, save it to your Memory Stick, put the stick in one of the machines and then for a small fee you can get a print-out of that picture - handy eh?
- Real Tones
Remember when Ring tones were just a series of beeps that somehow imitated the latest chart smash, then we got polyphonic which was a bit better but really a series of more complicated beeps - well Real Tones means the death of this, quite literally the Ring Tone youll get is a clip from the actual song, and sounds thousands of times better than the old polyphonic beepings. However as with always some companies have chosen to exploit this and you can now get annoying ringtones such as to name a few: Crazy Frog, Quotes from Little Britain, and your phone calling you fat - I suppose with great technology comes a price eh?
- Downloadable Games
The S700i as with many phones before it uses Java to control their games - my own personal handset came with Fivestones and a Platform game called Dragon Island, and you can download more if you want, games such as Worms, Giani Sisters, A multitude of Poker style games and many many more - and to be honest to have a game you enjoy playing on your phone is perfect if youve got a journey ahead of you.
- Other Stuff
As with any other phone you get many other features as well, all of which are just standard hence my not giving them a proper write up, they include the following: Calculator, Alarm Clock, Calendar, Timer, Minute Countdown and a Notebook, all handy but nothing really to shout home about.
** Storage **
I love the way the S700i stores files, especially Pictures and Videos, you can set up different folders for different types of Pictures/Videos, and then view them either singularly or as a slide-show which is a nifty little feature if youre wanting to embarrass friends with a timeline of pictures from a night out going from sober to drunk (like I so often do).
Then theres the phone book, you can store up to 5 phone numbers, a picture, a specific ringtone, an e- mail address, a home address, a voice dial (Ill explain that later) and a note against any name so you can have a world of information about anyone in your phone-book. As always youll also find that you can store people alphabetically or in order of when you added their number to your phone, and you can add them to your sim-card, your phones memory or both. Finally theres the standard feature of speed-dials for up to 10 different numbers.
** Design of the phone **
Ill warn you, unlike a lot of phones being released recently, this one isnt small - in fact its quite big and bulky, which to be honest I prefer as at least youll always know youve got it in your pocket where-as when I had a Motorola T720i I was always checking my pocket to make sure it hadnt been stolen as it was so small and light,
The actual look of the phone when you first see it is that of a personal assistant - there's a huge screen and a couple of buttons underneath it, from these buttons you can access the internet and your phone book only, but what aficionado's will note is that theres no numbers - reason being that its a swivel-phone, turn it 180 degrees around and youve got a full keypad to tap away with the numbers - which in my eyes is very handy.
Then theres the keylock - it took a while to get used to but instead of having to press Menu * # or something similar, its a small switch on the side of the phone, not dissimilar to that of a Personal CD players Hold control - and once you get used to it youll wonder how you ever put up with the key pressing of other phones.
- Usability on basics
Basics such as calls and texts, any way its really simple - to get to your text-messaging screen is just 2 button-presses away, and you can either use predictive text or the traditional way of spelling everything, plus there's a handy selection of pre-written text openings.
Calls-wise, again its easy, either type in the number you want to call and hit one of the option buttons or again a quick key-press gets you into your phone-book, and even better, your phone doesn't need to be open for you to make/recieve a call!!! However when you make/recieve a call on the closed phone it is kinda hard for the other person to hear you.
** Battery Time **
A Big reason for people to buy phones is what sort of battery time youll get, well this is what the blurb states:
Stand-by: Up to 300 hours (which works out at 12 and a half days)
Talk-time: Up to 7 hours
Well as with most times thats completely wrong, in my experience its actually:
Stand-by: Up to 4 or 5 days
Talk-time: About 3-4 hours.
Now I can imagine that if youre someone whos on the road a lot and needs their phone for a point of contact that this isnt going to be great, however for the casual user like myself its perfectly acceptable, however one thing I have noted is that playing a game on your phone will drain the battery EXTREMELY quickly, but to be fair to charge the battery up to full again is only about 23 hours long, and if you insist on taking it on the road with you, you can always buy an in-car charger or second battery, without a problem.
** Last bits **
By now if youre still interested youre probably wanting to know how much the phone is going to cost you - well it depends on how youre wanting the phone. Ive seen it in O2 Stores on offer as Sim-Free (able to accept any networks sim-card) for £300, and in both O2 and Vodafone stores on Pay as you go for £250, but if you take it out on a contract you can expect it for anything from £70 to absolutely free depending on what contract you take. Personally I got mine as a free upgrade after Id bartered with a Vodafone Call Centre Agent, and now Im tied into an 18 month contract for £22 a month but what Id say is shop around before committing to anything but be warned: The handset is only available on O2 or Vodafone - no-one else.
Finally do I recommend it? Hell yes I do, its head and shoulders above any other handset Ive ever used and even with all the advances that are still happening (2 Megapixel cameras and Video calling to be but 2) I cant see myself changing my handset for a long, long time.
The s700i was originally designed as a camera then they integrated all the other functions. The phone is very easy to use and become accustomed to by setting up your shortcuts. I find that i can use the phone alone without even any need for a computer. The internet services are good as it can take you straight to google as well as the other internet point to take you to your homepage. I find the games on a phone quite important and the games on this i find very enjoyable with the larger screen. A problem that i do however have with the phone is that the videos can not be viewed full screen and can be hard to make out but the still pictures however can be viewed full screen and are very high quality and can be modified and different filters etc. used. all in all i would definately recommend this phone.
When the S700i was first demonstrated to me, I was totally sold by the quality of the screen. It's a 262k colour, 240x320 pixel screen, about as high a resolution you could reasonably expect for a screen on device as small as a mobile phone. Previously, I owned a SonyEricsson Z600, and this model shares the Z600's fine ergonomics. The SonyEricsson proprietary UI is as easy to use as ever, and is superior to most other manufacturer's UIs at the moment IMHO. Whereas Sharp's Cameraphones seem to be ahead in the megapixel race, The SE phones seem to be easier to use, and as I have the O2 one, it has prettier icons than Voda branded ones. The camera is a CCD as opposed to a CMOS sensor, and is generally regarded as the best 1.3 megapixel cameraphone sensor around. SE abandoned Mophun in favour of the Mascot capsule Java 3D engine, and the phone has a range of 3D games available. The swivel is a bit of a gimmick, as a slide probably would have made the unit easier to open one-handed, like the Samsung D500. Also unlike the D500, teh S700i has a memory stick duo slot and also comes with a full-size memory stick adaptor. Unfortunately, it does not support Duo Pro cards, so tops out at 128MB. However, combined with its onboard 32MB, and the 32MB card supplied, you get 64MB out of the box, and 160MB maximum, which is plenty for digital snaps and mp3s. The phone comes with a stereo handsfree, which also doubles as a radio antennae for the FM radio. The Media player plays MPEG4 video and audio as well, meaning it will play iTunes encoded m4a files, but not purchased m4p files. The video playback is merely adequate, however, as it doesn't utilise the screen to its full potential, possibly due to slightly weedy processor. The UI is also quite slow because of this, but firmware upgrades when available should fix this. Also, there have been more software bugs with this unit than I am used to with mobile phones. The phone is also on the thick side, but it is very well built and looks and feels very sturdy. It's not quite a smartphone, but with its excellent bluetooth, music, excellent camera and easy to use phonebook (try using the RAZR's and you'll see what I mean) this phone really excels. WAP is finally a joy to use as the screen is so large. The imaging features are excellent, it has slideshows and really feels like a digicam. Somehow the S700i pulls off the trick of being a jack of all trades.