Review: Sony Ericsson Z710i (mobile phone)

   Posted December 18, 2006 by Jimmy Selix in Technology reviews

What can i say, i’m a cell phone junkie and a sony fanboy in that. I’ve had candybar styled phones for the last 2 of 3 phones and decided i’d like to try out a flip phone. also i didn’t want to spend an arm and leg like i did for my K800i, thus my Sony Z710i fliphone purchase.


Introduction:

The Z710i phone is a Quad-Band GSM phone w/EDGE. Meaning, it will work anywhere that uses GSM including the deep rural areas (ie my parents farm).

Sony introduced two nearly identical flip-phones to two different markets; business (Z710i) and sports/younger (W710i). The phones are basically identical in every respect except that the W710i contains a pedometer for its fitness programs and also the firmware each runs is dedicated to their target market/use (business vs workingout/music phone) and housing (w710i = sport housing, z710i = business-ish look). Finally, a $100 price difference sets them apart w/the W710i being the higher end version.

Hmmm. Does this sound a bit familar? Can we say K750/W800? More on that later.

Specs:
Screen
262.144 color TFT
176×220 pixel

External screen
4 greyscale STN
128×128 pixels

Memory
Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™) support
Phone memory 10MB*
*Actual free memory may vary due to phone pre-configuration.

Networks
EDGE
GSM 850
GSM 900
GSM 1800
GSM 1900

Available colours
Twilight Black
Metallic Sand

Possible limited market availability.

Sizes
88 x 48 x 24.5 mm
3.4 x 1.9 x 1 inches

Weight
101 gr
3.6 oz

Packaging/Feel:

The Z710i is definitely not as sturdy as the higher end SE phones but still feels solid. The outside display is an STN lcd (greyscale) w/basic text info (no graphics/photos). It also has some very nice music player buttons and a lockswitch to lock the keys.

The package included:
-Phone
-Battery
-CD w/Sony PC Suite software
-Lanyard
-64mb M2 card
-ac adater

Using/UI/Features

The main lcd is bright and clear. the themes are nice and fitting and also very customizable w/the Theme Creator program at sony’s dev site. Again, the UI is typical SE setup and smooth.

You get the usual PIM applications (email,rss,email,calender,tasks,notes) and can syncronize w/your Outlook/PC via BT, USB). Also, the phone can be used as modem for your laptop via bt. again, i applaud se for those two abilities, a ton of phones still lack these basic (imo) features.

The phone features a 2mp camera (NO AUTOFOCUS!) which takes better than vga phone pics but nothing great since it lacks an autofocus feature (must be an exclusive for se’s cybershot line now). It also supports EDGE data connections and has a built in web browser w/RSS feed abilities.

It plays the usual java games/apps (google included). It also has a music player (not the walkman one, w710i features that one) which is ok for playing musics or using phone like a ‘shuffle’ but lacks some basic features like being able to scroll through list of music when in the now playing screen. the outside buttons are great for using it as a mp3 player though.

Reception is where this phone excelled most times. once in a while i get some weird dropouts but that may be due to the fact that i am running W710i firmware on my Z710i (more later). i was able to pickup a very solid EDGE signal and GSM voice even at my parents farm (a total rural farm area in a valley, however i was limited to only a small area but this is the first phone i’ve been able to get reception ever without going on a hill).

Conclusion:

a great mid-range flipphone for those who may or may not be in a different country or even rural area. filled w/pretty basic features, this phone is no eye catcher or high end model but does what it does well.

seamonkey says… 8/10

we have another X factor, normally this phone would only get a 7 maybe even a 6.5 but… this phone can be flashed w/W710i firmware and thus you get $100 of software features for $10 or so (credit at wotanserver).
see recipe here:
http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/1803/flashing_a_sony_ericsson_z710i_to_a_w710i

with that firmware you will gain:
-flash lite menus (very purty, video at the end)
-walkman player
-track id
-fitness apps (but they do nothing since the z710i lacks the physical pedometer)

one downfall, maybe a very slight drop in call reception (however this seems to very sporatic and rare, a phone reboot (power off/on) fixes prob).

(w710i flash menus! on my z710i)

Recommended Accessories:
-if you use it as a mp3 player you must get the HPM-90 headphone/mic adapter; lets you use any headphones with it, much better sound quality
-car charger (under $10 on ebay)

 

About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

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