It all started with the T68, Ericsson made a
remarkable comeback as a mobile phone powerhouse with the release
of their first color phone. Not long after, Ericsson formed a partnership
with Sony and released an upgraded T68 called the T68i. The T68i
then paved the way for Sony Ericsson to release the highly successful
T610/T616 which in turn evolved into the T630 and Z600. With a
solid line up of phones under their belt, Sony Ericsson has recently
released what could be their best candy bar phone to date, the
The K700i sports a lot of improvements,
most notably more internal memory: gone are the days of having
to struggle with 2 MB. The K700i is loaded with 41MB, so you
can take pictures and record videos to your heart's content.
The screen is also a big improvement, unlike previous models,
the screen is now brighter and is viewable even under direct
sunlight. The overall performance of the phone has been improved
as well. The button press lag that plagued the T series is now
almost completely gone and the K700i doesn't feel sluggish.
The svelte K700i has a
silver casing, accented by the color black on the sides, which
gives it a classy, professional look. The front of the unit has
similarities to its predecessors, the T610 and T630, with the
main difference being that the screen and keypads are much larger
on the K700i while the position of the joystick and menu/side
buttons remains unchanged. The K700i is slightly thicker than
the T630, but length and width remains the same. The back of
the unit looks more like a camera than a phone. In fact, it bears
a resemblance to Sony's Cybershot U series consumer digital cameras.
Themes/Wallpapers: Another first for Sony Ericsson
that's available on the K700i is the introduction of themes with
animated wallpapers. The phone comes pre-installed with 4 themes
that are cool animated wallpapers featuring the home page of
In addition to the old midi ring tones, the K700i is capable of
using any MP3 files as ring tones, simply transfer any MP3 file
to the phone via IrDA or Bluetooth, then access the K700i's
settings applet in menu to assign the MP3 as your ring tone.
As with any other GSM phones nowadays, the K700i is capable of
sending SMS, MMS and POP3 emails. The K700i is also capable of
using "presence". "Presence" is a instant
messaging protocol that was developed by Nokia and Ericsson,
just think of "presence" as MSN Messenger for cell
phones that utilizes GPRS and EDGE connections.
Connectivity: Triband (900, 1800 and 1900mhz),
GPRS, IrDA and Bluetooth, the Sony Ericsson K700i has them all.
The only thing lacking is EDGE capability which is quite a shame
as more and more GSM countries are upgrading to this faster data
connection protocol. Push to Talk technology is not available
on the K700i either, if you live in a country that has EDGE and
Push to Talk services available, you might want to look at a different
The SE K700i has a VGA 640 x 480 resolution camera
that is capable of taking still photos and videos with sound. To
date, this is the first Sony Ericsson camera phone that comes with
a built-in flash. I found that the camera's flash is quite handy
when you're taking close up shots in dimly-lit areas. The flash
is so bright that it can double as a handy dandy flashlight,
quite useful for navigation in movie theaters. For still pictures,
the camera is capable of taking pictures in 4 sizes 160x120,
320x240, 640x480 and an extended (interpolated) 1280x960. Take
note that the camera's advertised 4x digital zoom is only available
when you're taking pictures using the smallest size, a maximum
of 2x digital zoom is available for pictures sized at 320x240
and no zoom for VGA size and above. For videos, there are 2
sizes available, 128x96 and 176x144, and 2x digital zoom is
available for the latter while 4x digital zoom is available
for the former.
Thanks to its crisp and bright LCD screen, viewing
still photos is a joy. The K700i's camera isn't hugely better than
the T610 and T630, but the bright screen does make it look that
way. Videos,on the other hand, are a mixed bag. Videos are jerky
and pixelated while the phone's demo video is amazingly smooth.
I guess it's just a matter of knowing the proper video size and
bitrate when you're converting movies to be viewed on the K700i.
Like most Nokia phones, the SE K700i sports
an integrated FM radio which can only be activated once the
bundled earphones are attached (the cord of the earphone will act
as the antenna for the FM receiver). While in radio mode, tapping
the joystick left and right will browse thru the various FM frequencies,
holding down the joystick left or right will initiate an automatic
search for any live frequency. The radio player is capable of storing
up to 5 of your favorite FM stations of which you can select by
tapping the joystick up or down. When a call comes in while you're
listening to the radio, the music will automatically turn off and
you can use the earphones as a handfree headset to take the call.
The music resumes automatically once the call is over.
Sample photo taken with camera. Click on the image to see the full
size, unedited photo.
The SE K700i is a feature phone. I wouldn't actually
characterize it as a smartphone as its PIM capabilities is nowhere
as extensive as the P900 or any other Symbian Series 60 phones,
but some people might find it adequate. Here's a lowdown of the
Contacts: Most phones nowadays support multiple
phone number assignments on a single contact and the K700i is no
exception. The K700i is capable of storing 5 different phone numbers
per person. In addition to that, you can also store other information
like the person's address, email, website and picture. One major
downside of the SE K700i is that it has a limit of 510 contacts,
even though the phone itself has 41MB of memory, Sony Ericsson
opted not to let the K700i take advantage of dynamic memory.
Calendar: The Calendar program of the K700i is very basic: it's
something that you would expect from a phone calendar application,
but as I found out, that's totally not a bad thing. The calendar
application has 3 views, a day view, week view and a month view.
You can add appointments on the fly and set reminder tones for
appointments. It's a step back as far as PIMs are concerned if
you're the kind of person who uses a PDA for PIM data, but I imagine
ordinary joes and non heavy users would find the calendar application
Tasks: As with the calendar program, the K700i'sTask application
is basically a very toned down of the to-do/task program found
in Outlook or any other PDA.
Notes: Typical Notes program where you can type anything you want.
Code Memo: Similar to the Notes program with
one major difference, notes made in Code Memo can be password protected.
This makes Code memo an ideal program to store sensitive and private
info like Credit Card numbers, bank details and other personal
stuff that should be kept hidden from public eyes.
Media Player: No, this is NOT the same Media Player typically
found on Windows PC, but there are some similarities. The K700i's
Media Player handles MP3 files you have stored on the phone. Of
course, with only 41MB of RAM and no expansion card slot, you'll
be lucky if you can cram 8 songs on the K700i. Darn you Sony Ericsson
for not including an expansion slot on this phone!
Music DJ: A program that lets you create personalized ring tones.
It's very easy to use, but don't expect a full featured MIDI editor.
It's more like a very basic MIDI editor for musically challenged
individuals like me.
Others: The Sony Ericsson K700i also has basic
programs like an Alarm clock, Calculator and Timer. Since the K700i
is capable of using JAVA programs, you can simply download more
games and applications as the need arises.
Unfortunately, battery life isn't a strong point
of the K700i. You'll likely need to charge it daily, and may need
a mid-day refresher if you spend a great deal of time talking on
the phone each day. Sony Ericsson claims 8 hours of talk time and
300 hours standby, and we didn't quite get that.
Mac users will sure love the K700i as it
is now supported by iSync, just pair your phone and Mac via Bluetooth
and start syncing away. This tight integration of PIM syncing
and SMS with the Mac has always been a strength of Sony Ericsson
phones. However, syncing the K700i with a Windows PC is not a
painless process. The K700i comes with its own Phone synchronization
agent that you can install on the PC. The problem is, neither
the synchronization agent nor the phone itself handles
Outlook data well. I found out the hard way that SE's synchronization
tool created duplicates of my contacts on the phone and refused
to sync a few Calendar and Tasks entries that I created on the
phone to Outlook. I also got a "no more memory" error
when I tried to sync my Outlook Notes to the phone: it seems
that all of the K700i's PIM programs have a memory limit cap.
So I just synced all of my Outlook contacts to the phone and
didn't sync again afterwards. I was also forced to remove some
of my contacts on the phone because the K700i's 510 contact limit
wasn't enough for my Outlook contact list. Phone memory limitations
aside, the PC to phone synchronization process could have been
much less painful if Sony Ericsson had taken a cue from Motorola
and simply bundled BVRP's (www.bvrp.com) Mobile Phone Agent program
with every SE phone.
It's quite obvious that Sony Ericsson has been
doing their homework, building upon the strengths of the T610 and
T630. The K700i represents the epitome of style and function that
made the T series a big hit. Its direct competitor, the Nokia 6230
has nothing on the K700i as far as aesthetics are concerned. This
is bar none, one of the sweetest looking candy bar type mobile
phone in the market. Add to its beauty a bevy of features like
a VGA camera with flash, FM radio, ring tone creator, IrDA and
Bluetooth wireless connectivity and you have the makings of
another great phone that targets a wide range of demographics
from the average users to demanding techies. But make
no mistake; the phone is far from perfect. The most irritating
aspect of the phone that comes to mind is the memory limitation
of the PIM applications. This greatly cripples the overall
functionality of the phone as many professionals will have
more than 510 contacts. The clumsy PC sync conduit also makes
the K700i a lousy PIM handler, so this definitely won't be
replacing my PDA. It would have also been nice if the K700i
had an memory expansion slot so it can double as a serious
MP3 player as well, but that's not the case.
Other than these quirks, I am quite satisfied with the K700i.
It's one of those phones that's beautifully constructed and has
enough features that you'll be willing to put up with some of its
limitations. I like this phone enough that it's now my main mobile
The K700i is available from carriers in many countries. In the
US, it's sold by importers such as Expansys for
approximately $500. Also check out our Siemens
SX1 review. The
Siemens competes with the K700i.
resolution 65,536 color 1.8" LCD.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
of Internal memory. Processor not disclosed.
x 46.5 x 19.5 mm. Weight: 93 grams. This is about
the same as the Sony Ericsson T610/T616 (small and light!).
Audio and Multimedia:Built
in speaker, mic and stereo headset
jack. Sound Recorder and MP3 player included. Can
play MPEG4 video and has 40 tone polyphonic audio.
Uses MP3 ringtones. Has speakerphone and supports
Camera:VGA color camera. Can send photos as MMS.
Bluetooth, IR and GSM/GPRS.
apps (contacts, calendar, tasks,notes), media
player (MP3 and MPEG4), Java support, alarm clock,
calculator, code memos (passworded memos). Sync ML
for PC syncing and works with iSync on the Mac.
Mobile Phone Network:GSM
triband: 900/1800/1900MHz. Works anywhere in the world
GSM service is available, including the US. It will
not support AT&T and Cingular Wireless' new 850MHz
towers, but will work on their large existing network
of 1900MHz towers. GPRS for data. Does not have EDGE
high speed data.