Sony Ericsson S710a – Our Review
Sony Ericsson S710a
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what about the phone-cam pictures you took over the weekend, drunk, in a dark and crowded bar? Are those blurred streaks of light worth even one word? With most camera phones, capturing a worthwhile photo is as difficult as deciphering Keith Richards’ drug-induced mumblings. But not with the Sony Ericsson S710a. Not only does the S710a deliver uncommonly discernible images, it also has a beautiful screen to view them on.
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Some phones fall just short of duct-tape quality when integrating features, but the S710a combines its phone and camera capabilities excellently. The 2.3-inch screen is a beautiful viewfinder, the 8x digital zoom makes for more versatile shots, and the light lets you click away even at night. Also, the phone’s swivel lets you take pictures the way you’re accustomed to: from the back, with two hands, and with the shutter button on the top right. Add in a lens cover to protect the optics from pocket lint and keys, and you’ve got yourself a nearly bona fide camera.
The gorgeous screen also makes capturing video a pleasure, and cruising the web is easier on the eyes because of the screen’s size and clarity. Games have never looked so good, and they’re easy to play because the swivel action of the keypad makes for a comfortable, sturdy grip. The phone also plays MP3s, which are easily downloaded onto the phone’s 32MB Memory Stick Duo. (It’s not a ton of space, but it’s a start.) And Bluetooth allows for quick and easy file transfers between the phone and your PC.
As far as communicating with the S710a goes, the phone performed above average. Calls were clear and loud using Cingular service, and we squeezed an impressive four-plus hours of talk time out of the battery. Our biggest complaint is that the microphone, located behind the five-key navigation cluster, is overly sensitive and picks up every slight cheek brushing. But this is minor and can be avoided with a little practice and a lot of patience.
Most everything you need to make a call is easily accessible from the home screen. Menus are intuitive and user-friendly. Contacts and recent calls are reached without having to swivel the phone open. The four hotkeys around the five-way joystick are programmable, making your favorite menus one punch away. In fact, as long as you don’t have to type a number or text message, you can perform almost any task with the phone closed.
Despite cramming every feature imaginable into one handset, the phone weighs just 4.6 ounces. Unfortunately, it’s a tad fat. But overall, the Sony Ericsson is worthy of the attention it’s been receiving. It’s chock-full of features and is one of the first phones to hit the market that couples a higher-resolution camera with a screen that is worthy of flaunting. So go ahead, take a picture. It’ll last longer. –Jennifer Scully
Best Feature: Fat with features
Worst Feature: A bit fat all over
Sony Ericsson S710a
$450 with a two-year contract
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Size: 4.2 x 1.8 x 1 inches
Specs: 800/1800/1900MHz GSM; 32MB of flash memory; 240 x 320-pixel, 2.3-inch color TFT; Memory Stick Duo slot (32MB card included); 1.3-megapixel camera with video recorder and 8x digital zoom; Bluetooth