Sony Ericsson G700 Preview
At MWC 2008 in Barcelona, Sony Ericsson presented its G-class. In contrast to Mercedes’ this one targets the mass consumer. Although they use Symbian UIQ, the phones presented should not be viewed as smart ones. They are rather average, easy to operate devices, for which the touchscreen and the OS are extras broadening their potential on the market.
In this preview, we will explore the G700, intended as a mid-level phone.
The phone has the typical Sony Ericsson candybar look and dimensions of 4.2 x 1.9 x 0.5 inches (106 x 49 x 13 mm) and weighs 3.5 oz (99 g). In contrast to its older brother G900, the device has more of a fashion design. All edges are rounded and the back lid is ribbed, which adds a pleasant stability feeling while using it. We liked the colors used as well – the one seen here is in dark and light brown. We liked this one more than the official silk bronze and we wonder why it has not been announced.
The Touchscreen is 2.4” TFT and it has a 240 x 320 pixels resolution, supporting up to 262k colors. On its right side is a scroll symbol, but specific hardware for that function is missing (as in the Dash for example), so you have to use the touch-display instead. Besides the touch-input, it also has all necessary hardware navigation buttons (including soft keys), which allows it to be used just as a standard phone. The buttons and the D-pad are standard in design, except for the two small round shortcuts to notes and messaging. The same goes for the numeric keypad, which is divided in three columns far from each other.
Touchscreen TFT Display
D-pad and keyboard (left), Card slot and charger input (right)
The entire body is encircled by a light brown line, on which are located the camera and the volume buttons (on the right), power button and the stylus holder (on top). The keyboard/display lock button and the M2 Memory Card slot and charger input are on the left.
A 3.2-megapixel with fixed focus and a flash camera is located on the back. We think that because the phone is intended for the mid-level consumer, the camera quality is good enough.
Still, there is something similar between the G-classes of Sony Ericsson and Mercedes – they cannot be inspected in one aspect only. The automobiles of the German giant are luxurious means of transportation off-road and on the highway, and the phones are a hybrid between a quality candybar and touchscreen handset.
Home screen (left), Main menu (right)
G700 performed very well as a regular phone – easy access to all options via the keyboard and the D-pad. The menu interface is similar to the one used in the new SE models (K660, K850, W890 and others) and has large beautiful icons.
Contacts (left), Messaging (right)
Write message (left), Calendar (right)
However, the use of Symbian UIQ is notable not only because of the slight lag felt when opening the separate applications. The big innovation is the presence of the standby applications on the start screen. They are fully customizable and by default are: my shortcuts, favorite contacts, appointments, new messages and main menu, but you can easily add many more – alarm, bookmarks, music. There even are two presets for the icon appearance (default and business).
We are already familiar with the media menu from the latest SE models. In other words, in one place (with flash-based interface) we have the photo gallery (with tagging options, slideshow), the multifunctional music and video players.
The fact that you may never experience the need to use the touchscreen does not mean that it is not manufactured properly. On the contrary, everything related to it is fine-crafted, beautifully calibrated with the comfortable stylus, and for text input there is software keyboard (one version only) and handwriting recognition. Via the small icon next to the signal strength, you will have access to all frequently used functions, even with the standby applications turned off.
The camera interface is similar to the one seen in G900, with big and easy to press icons, but with reduced options. Since the model has a fixed focus, the respective menu and the scenes menus are missing. In their place, we have a white balance and a self-timer.
The model is tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) and single band UMTS, not supporting HSDPA and Wi-Fi, which is typical for the mid-level. It is notable that the browser is in the process of being developed and has trouble visualizing web pages, so we cannot give you our final opinion. We still think it is very promising because it has the new window, landscape and zoom in/out options.
The fact that Sony Ericsson has managed to fit so many different classes in one, is impressive. G700 could be what you want it to be, no matter if you like average, smart or touch phones. For us it was really convenient to use it as a standard candybar, but what type of phone it will be for you is your choice.