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22 April 2024

Product review

Sony Ericsson G700 (SUPPLIED)

By Nic Ridley

"Wow", you may be thinking as you look closely at the picture above, "Another phone that looks like a candy bar. Such revolutionary thinking from our Japanese-Swedish friends…"

Yes, at first sight it does sadly look like an indenti-phone – like much else on the market – but this is part of the company's line in web-enabled phones recently announced and as such should have much to offer.

Design-wise, it is not going to excite. But what is cool is how everything, from the keypad to the 2.4inch LCD touchscreen, to the front-facing video-call camera, is tightly integrated to maximize the front surface of the handset. It is also remarkable how the company still manages to fit nice, stubby buttons on the keypad, which is a joy to use.

Equally impressive are the onboard speakers – very loud – a three-meg camera (but no autofocus) and a pair of LED photolights.

The G700 is a full-fledged smartphone. It runs on the Symbian UIQ platform with 128MB of RAM, which puts it on par with the W960i Walkman and the P1i, so it offers up something for everyone, from the average Joe to the business user who wants something that doesn't look too serious.

Back to the touchscreen, and the stylus-led user interface is set as an option. Sony Ericsson has kept the left/right softkeys, which is a great move. This will help capture users previously reluctant about touch interfaces, preferring the tactility of conventional buttons.

Other features include tri-band GSM with 3G connectivity, Bluetooth stereo A2DP and FM radio with RDS. It's a shame there is no Wi-Fi, which would have made the G700 an all-rounded smart phone. The media interface is similar to many of the current Sony Ericsson models.

The G700 obviously isn't Sony Ericsson's first attempt at the UIQ interface and it has done much to improve this over the years. The upgraded Note application is a result of this. It comes with its own dedicated hard button on the phone's control bar. We could scribble, type or draw on the note, change the background colour, file them according to different categories, and send them directly to a blog or to another person via Bluetooth or MMS.

This is fun, although far removed from a killer feature that would make anyone rush out and buy the G700 just for this.

It's another regret that the camera module doesn't come with autofocus capability, so we don't recommend going too close to your subject when shooting. Otherwise, we like the punchy colours of the pictures taken with this camera and the onboard lights lit up evenly during our tests. In addition, the phone's display holds up well under sunlight, typical of Sony Ericsson.

There's a lot to like about the G700 (Dh999). Most importantly, its touchscreen appeal coupled with a hard-button approach should make the G700 a popular choice. Unfortunately, the phone's sluggish performance is a letdown. It probably wouldn't matter as much to the mass market, but smartphone users would likely be bothered by this.