The first thing we noticed with the S700i is the way that the back of the phone looks like Sony's line of Cyber-shot cameras. The next thing we noticed is the huge screen along with its amazing clarity. However, probably the most striking feature is its swivelling screen that opens to reveal the keypad. Unlike some phones which can swivel all the way round, once you turn the handset 180 degrees one way you have to go back in the direction you swivelled it in to close it. The microphone is on the upper part of the phone, and you don't have to swivel it to answer a call, although it does look good.
The S700i measures 107.5mm x 49mm x 24.5mm which puts it in the slightly large category. However, it is a reasonable size compared to the P910i and a lot more chic than the brick-like Nokia 9500 Communicator.
On the right hand side of the phone (when closed) you will find the memory stick slot for any Sony memory Stick Duo. Sony Ericsson supplies a standard 32MB card in the box. The right hand side also houses the camera shortcut key and the volume controls. On the left you'll find the IR port and the lock slider (you slide it across to lock/unlock the phone). The locking slider is a handy little button and makes us wonder why more phones don't have one. When in camera mode you slide it across to switch the flash on or off.
The S700i is a great multimedia phone. The generous-sized screen offers a massive 240x320 pixel resolution. It is very bright, colourful and looks amazing. It's one of the finest screens we have ever played with. The menu system looks crystal clear on it and any pictures taken are quite simply stunning.
To take pictures all you have to do is switch the lens cap on the camera and it's ready to make you snap happy. The 1.3-megapixel camera has a great focus and images are always of a high quality. There is still the problem of people moving too quickly and the image blurring slightly but it takes quicker pics that most phones. It's easy to switch between camera and video mode and comes with night mode and flash for dark environments. Using the camera frequently drains the batteries so be prepared to be charging occasionally as you will want to take a lot of pictures with this handset.
Sound on the phone is of a good quality, including MP3 files and the built-in FM radio. A larger memory stick wouldn't go astray to store more music for when you're on the move. The forty-voice polyphonic system gives you a nice choice of ring tones.
The menu system is pretty straight forward and easy to access. The animations slow down occasionally and we noticed the CPU occasionally misses key presses. The contacts system is very good and nearly any detail you can imagine can be entered into it. There are seven profiles available, including one for a headset. Bluetooth connectivity worked flawlessly with the different headsets and laptops that we tested with the device.
There is a selection of games on the phone although none will really keep you entertained a great deal.
Messaging on the phone is simple and is the first icon on the menu which allows for speedy access. The T9 dictionary on the phone predicts words as you type, so you only have to key in a few letters and it will list all of the words available making texting quicker and easier.
The MMS editor has been updated from previous models and is now more user-friendly and allows you to add in background colours, along with the text, pics, etc. Thanks to the large screen, reading e-mail is a lot easier and data comes down at reasonable GPRS rates.
One complaint we have with the S700i is the recessed numerical buttons. They have some kind of sparkly coating around them and in direct sunlight, which let's be honest, we get a lot of that here in Australia, means that it can be difficult to see the buttons. Additionally, their closeness can cause confusion but it's only a minor gripe in an otherwise flawless phone.
The S700i is a classy mobile which you can use anywhere. The reception is excellent and the camera takes the best pictures we have seen on any mobile in Australia to date. It may be expensive but it is certainly worth it to be cutting edge.
Sony Ericsson S700i
Company: Sony Ericsson S700i
Phone: 1300 650 050