The Bod: Oh Yah!
Some people think that the K700 is a step back from uninterrupted clean lines of the T610/T630 series. The bottom is
now gently curved instead of square. Normally we have a thing against phones with curved bottoms, because if you put
them in your front pocket instead of your change pocket, they fall over and make an ugly bulge. The K700 is so small
it easily slips into a Levi's change pocket, so we didn't find the curved bottom annoying. We also did not find the
bulge on the containing the camera lens loudspeaker a problem because the phone is still plenty small despite it.
Both factors make the K700 more comfortable than its predecessors, so we can't hold the shape against it.
The keyboard is equally well designed. The large keys on the face, as well as the keys on the sides are all easy to
press and distinguish from each other. The only thing i didn't love about the physical part of the phone was the
joystick. it was so small that it took a little while until i could get the pressure right for it. Until then I'd
wind up just brushing over it or pressing in on it or just generally not getting it to go where I wanted it to go
half the time. Still I haven't used a phone I would complain about less than this one (and that's a big
Battery Life: Yup
The battery life hasn't improved much on these new Sony Ericssons. The K700 still gets about 4 days of use per charge
(3 if you get online all the time). You could probably take the phone with you for a long weekend and leave the
charger at home, but I would pack it if you're going to be gone longer than 3 days just in case. As with previous
Sony Ericsson models, the battery meter is awfully deceptive. The first half takes forever to drain and the last half
goes in like 36 hours.
Sound and Signal: Oh Yah!
The K700 locks on to a signal and doesn't let go. It's got a pitbull for an antenna — and it's totally internal —
nothing to poke you while it's in your pocket. I got good reception everywhere I took this phone, it even did well
deeper into dead zones than most other phones I've tried.
The speaker is crisp, clean and loud. As a testament to just how awesome the speaker and microphone on the K700, I
took this phone to the kart track (What you think we sit inside and stare at the computer all day long?) and was able
to hold a normal conversation over the din of 2-stroke engines screaming along at 8000 rpm or wherever it is that we
try to keep those things (there's no tachs in our karts).
Menus: Oh Yah!
This is the first phone that literally kisses your ass. Pretty much every time you click on something, the phone
tries will ask if you want to jump two steps ahead because it thinks you want to, and you know what? It's right
almost every time. The SMS addressing screen keeps a list of recently used phone numbers handy. The contacts list
lets you dial without clicking into a contact's entry. The web jump screen has a Google search box. I honestly have
never used a more user friendly phone. And if you ever manage to get stuck despite the thoughtful interface, the left
softkey is "Help" in most places. sony Ericsson should get an award for this. Seriously. It's the first UI to beat
Nokia's Series 40 for ease of use.
We can't keep giving the K700 an "Oh Yah!" rating if it doesn't do anything exceptional. As for calling, this phone
doesn't do any better than most other GSM phones. Everything — voice mail, redial, Call, End, Hold — it's all exactly
where you'd expect it to be. That's good, just not out of this world.
There are at least 2 ways to set the K700 from the home screen, both of them are obvious if you look at the screen of
the keys at all. It has profiles (which you can assign voice commands to). Silencing an incoming call is also
obvious. The only thing keeping this phone from getting an "Oh Yah!" in politeness is the fact that the volume keys
do not control the ringer volume (they never have on Sony Ericssons). They only control the volume during a
Contacts: Oh Yah!
The K700 can hold a multitude of phone numbers for each contact, plus an email address. Despite that we still wish it
could store a postal address, especially since it can accept vCards and sync to Outlook or the Mac Address Book. When
you first use the phone, a wizard will ask if you want to copy the numbers from your SIM into the phone (See? We told
you this phone is constantly kissing your butt.) so they are easier to get to from the Contacts menu. The Contacts
menu itself is well thought out and it's equally easy to add numbers from the Contacts or from the Call list or
Messages: Oh Yah!
Composing an SMS or MMS on the T610 was one of the things I hated most. It was circuitous and involved way too many
extra key presses. The K700 has not only brought this task in line with how easy it is on all other phones, it has
surpassed the rest. There are two simple reasons why it's so easy. First when you push left on the joystick, the K700
brings up a simple selector : new text message or new picture message. Only Nokia Series 60 has been this friendly
until now. After composing your message, the K700 really shines. On the screen that contains the usual dialog asking
where you'd like to select a destination from, the phone actually populates the screen with a list of recently
messaged and recently called contacts. so nine times out of 10 the person you want to send a message to is already on
that screen. It's genius. Setting up an email account is the same as on the previous models - you can tell the
phone how many days' mail to poll for and compose replies to messages pretty easily.
Calendar: Oh Yah!
Although it's confusing, Sony Ericsson uses 4 different classifications for their appointments in the Calendar
application; each one offers slightly different options. However once you get to know them all, the Calendar is very
powerful and has an excellent alarm manager. It syncs events from Outlook or iCal including their alarms equally
well. The alarm clock is easy to set once you find it, and it will wake you (albeit with a dangerous "snooze" option
on screen, even if the phone is powered off.
The K700 has a button on the right side of the handset that quickly jumps to the browser. The home screen includes a
few handy links, including a quick link to Google's WAP page. These are nice touches, but it's just not much fun to
browse on the small screen I mean the screen's not really small — it's the smartphone standard 176 x 220, but for
some reason it just feels small. Pages also seem to load a little slower than they do on other handsets. We're not
sure if this is due to the browser itself or to some GPRS issues. Either way it's perfectly acceptable, but it's not
After what seems like a very long press on the camera button that lives above the volume controls, the camera
application launches. It takes you right to the viewfinder (good so far) and it's easy to use the camera from there.
Despite the fact that Sony Ericsson beefed the camera up from previous models (it's finally VGA), the pictures are
still mediocre. They are washed out during the day and the night mode is still really noisy. However I will say that
I always have caught amazing sunsets in all their glory with Sony Ericsson phones and the K700 is no different. This
phone rules at dusk and dawn.
Personalization: Oh Yah!
The K700 can play ringtones in just about any format, including MP3. You can download, or even make your own themes,
including animated home screens and screen savers. You can also customize short cuts using the joystick as well as
voice commands. But you're stuck with the silver body — no faceplates or covers for this phone. Ha!
The games on the phone are ok, but you can download better ones. There is an IM / presence program, but it uses the
global village protocol, so it can't really connect you to any IMs you care about. It's got IR and Bluetooth. The
Bluetooth must have something weird going because it doesn't particularly like Macs.
In order to connect the phone to the new version of iSync, you must first initiate a Bluetooth pairing from the
phone. Once that is complete, initiate a new pairing to the phone from your Mac. On the second pairing, the Mac will
prompt you to add the phone to your iSync devices. This is the only way users (including us) have been able to get
iSync to work with the K700i.