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Thread: My Sony Ericsson S710a review:

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    My Sony Ericsson S710a review:

    I have now been using a Rogers Retail Sony Ericsson S710a. The Sw on it is R2A016 with a Rogers* Customization and is the exact same phone customers will receive when they purchase the S710a from Rogers. The box contains the phone, charger, Stereo headset, 32 meg Memory stick, memory stick adaptor, SE lanyard, SE CD with utilities and programs.

    *In my comparisons I have found that in this case you'll definately want the Rogers customizations vs uncustomized since the customization seems to be where the AMR codec lies. Various friends of mine that had S710a's imported all lacked the AMR codec which I find make a substantial difference in the weak areas for the robustness of voice. While I can't confirm if it actually is the customizations I have found that any phone that was "uncustomized" lacked AMR completely.

    Reception
    Lets start this party off right.
    Truth be told this is probably the longest I've gone with a phone prior to posting a review because I've been busy. After using the S710a for more then 4 weeks (got on June 1) I really wanted to give this one a through evaluation since many of you know, and those thatt don't will learn, I completely love the SE way. the menu structure, the simple and powerfull way it does things, i'll cover that later.

    I'm happy to report that RF is excellent on the unit. In the 4 months of testing i have gone far and wide and have maintained the same excellent service as I would have on the 6230b/V3/V635. I've taken it to the Cantina and it worked fine, I've taken it across 19th/gamble road from woodbine to bathurst and maintained calls. I've taken it on bayview from stoufville rd to bloomington (the new bayview that was never there) and it worked fine, started breaking up a bit when talking to analogtrail, but otherwise was excellent considering that road never existed years ago.

    I had the pleasure of going away to a cottage in MacTier (parrysound area) as well with the S710a and as I was pleasently surprised in the S710a's performance on the drive up. I was wapping on Hofo the whole way and had EDGE the entire time. Even at the cottage itself which is far off the beaten path it worked fine. I had the 6230b, Z500 and V300 (all friends cept for 6230b) to back to back with and it held it's own.

    There was even one part on the drive up where the S710a was still in service (wapping on hofo) and I had pull3ed out the 6230b from my shirt pocket and it was NSPS, or no service. Granted the in pocket probably affected that but none the less I was impressed with the S710a's RF abilities

    One more thing I've noticed is because of the S710a's form factor you really can't hold it by the antenna, which tends to maximize the RF.
    Case and point, the antenna is down by the camera ring/shutter.
    when the phone is closed, it's at the top of the phone. To me, I find it uncomfortable to hold the top of the phone in the closed position so my hands slide down the unit exposing the antenna


    with the unit open, the thumb rest is now re-oriented and I find it comfortable to hold that or slightly above the unit. Again you can see that the antenna is pretty much free and clear (bottom left of pic)


    Sound Quality
    The phone sounds good, it's not to trebbly, and it's not all bass. Truth be told I like the sound quality on the S710a. the outgoing quality is good, nothing to complain about although the motorola's seem to handle it a little bit better since the MIC is closer to the mouth.

    One pet peeve I have with the S710a is the actual MIC positioning. it's on the front of the unit itself making it hard to do the old phone in shoulder holding way. AS well, if you're one to touch the phone to your face the mic will pick up the sounds of your cheek rubbing the unit which i also dont' like. I personally think the MIC should be moved to the bevelled edge under the centre pad, that way it won't come into contact with your face. SE isa company that listens and it appears that the upcoming W600 has placed the MIC on the bevelled edge to avoid the whole rubbing on cheek sounds.

    Camera
    So how does SE's Camera phone fare?
    well considering it's an actual Camera with a CCD lens I should hope it fares well. No worries, the Camera is qood. Daytime shots are good, nightime shots are ok, a little to much noise for my liking and the nightmode requires an absolute still hand to make the shots effective.

    The S710a being a "real camera" also has a host of features so let me run through them:

    Shoot mode
    allows normal, burst 4 and framed pics.
    the Normal is just that, a normal shot dependant on other settings of the phone. the Burst 4 will pop off 4 quick shots and the Frame adds a frame, of course.









    there are 4 pic sizes
    1280 * 960
    640 * 480
    320 * 240
    160 * 120

    night mode
    there's a night mode as well, but it's fairly hard to use as it requires you to be completely still.

    self timer
    self descrpitive, it allows you to set up a timer and get into the shot

    effects
    negative/solarize/sepia/black and White
    these are all filters that can nbe applied to a picture for added effect.

    white balance
    auto/incandescent/flourescent/daylight/cloudy.
    various modes of course for various conditions, I leave the phone on auto since it seems to know what to use when.

    spot photometry
    This is a neat little feature. It allows you to point and aim the camera on a "spot" or the crosshairs and will adjust light settings according to that spot.

    auto camera off
    allows you to set the length of time that the camera will stay on when the shutter is open. it comes in 30/1min/2min/3min flavours

    Here are a few camera shots in various lighting conditions as well so you can see the cam in 640x480 and 1.3mpix modes.
    Click the image once the page loads to get the real size of the images















    Video
    The phone also does Video, which is your standard 176 * 144 or 128 * 96 sizings. The cool thing about the S710a Video is you can use the Flash/light while recording it for some low light situations

    External memory
    The S710a supports Memory stick Duo to which is maxed at 128mb.
    Now, what confuses me firstly is the naming. Duo, Pro duo etc etc etc. Secondly SE uses Sony memory which is already proprietary, but then they go and do this where you can only use Memory stick DUO instead of the DUo PRO which are available in much larger sizes (the K750i uses Dup pro for example) Why would a company already using propriertary memory limit it's proprietary tech to that of 128megs on a device that has 1.3mpix and stereo headset?.. beats me as to why that is. The only thing I can think of is that the S700 was out much earlier then the Pro DUO memory, but since the pin's are the same isn't it just a SW thing?... I can't say.

    Also worth noting, the S710a can use anything from any where.
    So, if you save themes/ringtones/images on the SE stick, you can use them as themes ringtones/images. no worries like on the V635 where audio saved to the TF card cant' be used as a ringtone requiring you to save it on the phone memory itself

    The SE S710a's memory can alsu be used in any sony product as well that supports sony memory, a nice feature to transport media to and from products although you may need an adaptor called the Sony MicroVault


    Aesthetics
    Love it or leave it, the S710a is a rotator design. I will admit when I first saw the S700 and S710 I immediately thought to myself that I'd hate the design. Truth be told that was also a huge part of why i resisted trying one for so long but I now regret it. The ROtator of the S710a has some advantages, namely you get a phone with a huge georgeous screen in about the size of the V635. once you factor in the V635's antenna the S710a is actually pretty similar in thickness and height. The overall look of the S710a is that of SE's "dual fronts" design... one phone, 2 "fronts" a phone on one front and camera on the other. the S710a also looks and plays like a real camera when you flip er over.

    Screen
    Huge and Georgeous
    it easily is one of the best phone screens out there, has excellent resolution, and is reflective in the sun ala V635/6682/6230b
    One thing I find odd is like the Z500, the S710a completely lacks any contrast settings. it's not even in the secret SE service menu... hmmmm..

    Menu setup
    to echo my Z500 review, WOW
    the S710a's menu is zimply my favorite. it's graphic like moto while being numeric like nokia coupled with the georgeous 240x320 screen. the resolution of the screen is so fine that when you're in the menu you can actually see shading on the keys of the "fun & tunes" icon... WOW

    SMS (borrowed from Z500 review)
    SE, quite simply is The king of T9 sms
    SE T9 rules the roost for ease of use. It allows custom words, it allows custom alphanumberic words, IE, Z500, 6230b GSM850. It has a list of words as you're typing which can be turned off if you don't like it. It guesses the word even if you're not done writing it, IE, I type Snowe and SonyEricsson pops up because I've saved it in the dictionary. It has the ability for you to go into your custom dictionary and see the words you've entered and delete some that you no longer want or need which is amazing for when you slip while entering a custom word and enter it wrong, like Fidm instead of Fido... whoops!!

    the SE SMS system is the smartest, easiest, most powerfull SMS system that I have EVER used. Ever.

    however, with good comes bad.
    the SE lacks a delete all in one shot feature so you'll have to go into the inbox, delete all, then go to the sent items, delete all. Unless I'm missing something, which I will append the review later if I am. The S710a also has this lack of a "clean all" feature and requires manual deletion of every folder, you dn't have to delete SMS one by one but you have to go into inbod/outbox etc etc and delete all

    Phonebook & scroling speed
    is fast. I have a 300+#'s in my S710a, most with multiple entries like work/home/cell and when you press down and hold it it'll sroll the first 3-4 entries at a normal rate but if you hold down the Down key it kicks it into hyper mode and burns up the phone book. it will scroll the whole book in 25 (up from z500 as I made more friends ) seconds if I keep it held down... AND, if I let go it stops instantly, not like the T616 where it would lag and pass a few entries. Bravo SE on that feat

    you can also use the SIM card now as a phonebook.
    for those of you who hated the fact that the SE products forced you to use the phone memory and not the sim you'll be happy to know that you can now run your sim phonbook. You can't do both though. It's either SIM or PHONE.
    the S710a has also added street addresses into it's fields for those of you that sync with outlook

    speed dialing
    As well, SE has finally made it's speed dial setup normal. you simply select the position and the person. No more SIM card position lists for speeddials like the T616 and T637 of before
    there is also SIM controll now in the phonebook so you can save #'s to the sim (if your using the phone as your main book)

    SE phones also allow you to save images/ringtones to specific callers so that when that person calls you you can have a specific ringtone and image come up.. the Image also shows up on the screen as well, and if that image is an animated GIF, that GIF will be animated on the display as well when that person calls. Really neat thing there.

    also worth noting.
    the phonebook is smart. If you have a person with multiple #s saved (phone only, not sim) you set a default # to call that person. Now if you want to use alternate #'s you scroll to that person, then go Right or left on the Dpad and you'll get their other #'s. What's even better is that if you have a Email address saved in that contact the email address will come up and "call" changes to "send to" which will provide you with 2 more options. you can send a MMS, or send an Email (using pop3 email client)
    the Email client also takes FULL advantage of the Class 10 EDGE.
    when it comes to EDGE SE does it right making everything class 10. I scored a 192kb/s speed test using S710aq as a modem in my speed test thread in my signature. It's great and quick.

    Profiles
    The SE phones have profiles as many know.
    what many of you may not know or not pay attention to are the little things in these profiles that set SE product apart from the rest.

    1> the profile can have a # to which to automatically forward.
    For example, my HOME profile has my home # under the forward option. SO, when i select the HOME profile the phone automatically will forward all my calls to my house, or any predetermined #. these #'s are independant of each other so you can have different forwarding #'s in the different profiles.. Work will forward to work etc..
    I have a "Do not disurb" profile in which i forward my calls to VM that way I can still get SMS if it's really an emergency, i use that profile when i just want people to leave me alone for a bit so I can clean my head and enjoy a fresh cup of my favorite huartz coffee

    2> accepted callers list.
    I can set a list of accepted callers, dependant on the profile (8 profiles, 8 lists) what happens here is that based on the profile I can select who will get to call me, and who the phone will bounce to my VM. I have a profile in which only the most important people in my life can get me.. Close friends, family etc.. their #'s i've placed on that list so if they call my phone will ring. If anyone not on that list calls they will be bounced to VM. The great thing about this is that even thouth the phone bounces them you can still see tha tthey called as the phone keeps track of who called in the call list. Speaking of call list>

    I would also have liked to see a "not accepted" callers list where you can single out a few people that are annoying you and you don't want to talk to them. Or instantly bounce blocked call ID's since i never answer those. Maybe is SE is reading this they can implement that into future firwmare of this phone or future products

    call listings
    Gone is that mess of a call list where everything is thrown into one window. It's still there, but now across the top there are different fields you can see:
    All/answered/Dialed/Missed.
    Of course is that hodgepode of a screen where everything is there for those of you who liked that. the other 3 are seperate entries and do what their name says. that way you can only see answered calls, dialed calls and missed calls. Great feature and great addition. It's things like this that make me enjoy SE products.. Keep the old way, and add in a new way as well.

    Java
    I've downloaded quite a few java games for the Z710a. With a 240x320 TFT 265k screen you better believe it's a great phone for those of you out there that like the odd java game. I downloaded and played Midnight pool, NY nights sucess in the city, Prince of Persia, the SE stock Tennis game a few freebies from SE's wap portal. They'are all great games and with the S710a's 3D graphics engine they play well.

    what else impressed me is that the phone prompts you where you want to save the game. So, Pacman goes into games, and World Time goes into applications. This is key becuase I want games under fun, and utilities under the file manager/applications where they should go.

    The java engine is also very fast now

    Keypad
    a bit of a mixed bag. I like the layout and how you can now assing what you want to the 4way Dpad , but the keys are sunk in and stiff at first, I have loosened them up, but I don't know if customers hammer the keys the way I do so this may be an issue for some. The keypad lacks feel so I suggest you leave the keypad tones on so you know if you hit the key or not. I'm not really a fan of the Keypad. The reason I don't like it is because it's flush ot the surface, and the positioning of the internet and power buttons are not to my liking. I'm used to them now, but at first I found i was always hitting the internet/power buttons for * and # respectively. The W600 corrects this as they've moved the internet/power buttons to the top of the rotator only leaving numeric keypad underneath. Further Proof that SE listens to it's customer base and makes revisions as they go along.

    File manager
    the S710a uses the same file manager as the Z500 and it's really convenient. I have set up different folders in my ringtones for example. One for MIDI the other for MP3. the file system is also very intuitive allowying you to mark several files to be moved or deleted, and of course you can always pick a file, select more and be prompted with a bevy of options with what you can do with that file. You can send it via MMS/email you can use it as a ringtone/picture/wallpaper/callerid etc etc etc. very smart and very usefull

    Themes
    the SE S710a supports the classic SE themes. I feel SE has it the best with regards to the themes because in one click you can change the whole appearance of your phone within seconds, and there are tones of theme creators out there so you can make your own, or download one you like that somebody else made. Furthermore the S710a supports the SE animated themes at a 240x320 resolution. I'm also very happy to report that the Themes go up quickly now, no waiting around like you used to do in the T616/T637/Z600. it's usualy up and done within 5 seconds and the phone is useable right after. No more lag waiting for the phone to come to once a new theme is applied. As well, with such a large screen, themes really click on the S710a.

    Ofice tools
    The S710a comes with a set of office tools that you most likely will use. Personally, I use the recurring alarm and the calendar. In this menu you can use:

    calendar> it's a calendar to set reminders and such
    tasks> allows you to set a task like do this, or remind you to make a phone call
    notes> like a scratch pad where you can jot ideas
    alarms> you can set a one time alarm, or a daily recurring alarm and pick the days of the week
    Timer> Egg timer, you can time things
    stopwatch> clock how fast it takes you to run from Huartz to your local Rogers dealer
    calculator> How much tip should I leave???
    Code memo allows you to save passwords and such on the S710a behind a protected area requireing a password

    Connectivity
    Typical SE, excellent.
    there is no shortage of connection options on the S710a.
    You have IR, BT, cable, Emali client that handles attachments, MMS.
    it's a well connected phone, and with class 10 EDGE at it's disposal if you do choose to use the Email client/MMS it'll make short work of it.

    Speakerphone
    the Speakerphone works well, but for some reason it's just not that loud. the Ringtunes are ridiculously loud, but the speakerphone isn't. strange.

    Edge
    SE and EDGE work well. SE's with always seem to have class 10 EDGE, no class4, classs 6 or class 8 but a full class 10

    Sync
    The S710a includes SW in the box to allow you to sync with outlook. It's rediculously confusing and works poorly. Instead, just use the OBEX IRMC bluetooth Sync that is in the Paired functions of your bluetooth phone on the PC. it works great and is very simple. I poped the S710a out of the box, charged it up, paired with PC and double clicked the IRMC sync icon in the paired BT options.. bish bosh bash all my contacts were sent to the emtpy S710a in a matter of minutes.

    Bluetooth
    SE's bluetooth is simply excellent.
    You can pair devices, you can send images/files/ringtones/themes and virtually any content via bluetooth to another device. You can receive any media via BT, when paired with a PC you get amazing OBEX tools. You can download Float's Mobile Agent (FMA) and controll all the popular aspects of your PC with the S710a. You can use the S710a as a mouse on a PC for presentations bia BT.. it just has everything you could possibly want.
    if you send a PIC to your buddy, and you want to send something else the S710a already has your buddies phone in the list, no need to search again like on the NOKIA S40's with BT.
    when you select to send media via BT your paired devices instantly populate the list, and by waiting it scans the area finding new ones that may not be paired with you.
    if your BT is off you can still send media, the phone is smart and turns on BT for you automatically and shuts it after transfer.

    and the SE "quickshare" is great.
    Quickshare is an actual protocol between SE phones so they can understand each other. Case and point, the T637/T616 not a 1.3 mpix camera, however, when you send via BT a 1.3 mpix S710a picture to a T637 for example the quickshare will realize the T637 doesnt' support pics that large and dynamically scale the image down to a 640x480 image which the T637 understands. Meanwhile, sendint the image to a Motorola, for example, will net a red X as the image is to large to open.

    just pairing the S710a with a PC gives you these features in the OBEX profiles:
    dial up networking
    Mouse and Keyboard
    OBEX IRMC sync
    Serial port
    HS Voice gateway
    OBEX file transfer
    OBEX PUSH

    Ya, that's a lot of options.

    Headset use
    Sony has long been know to be Kings of BT and using a BT headset with a S710a is a rewarding experience.
    with a headset connected you can anser on the headset OR the phone. If you answer on the phone, logically, the phone is active. If you anser on the headset, the headset is active. If you anser on the Phone, and want to go to the headset simply press the headset button and it's transferred there. Alternatively if you're using the headset and want to talk on the phone you simpley press menu/transfer sound/Phone. POOF, you're on the phone now.
    If you start a call on the handset the phone promtps you "continue call on headset" if you want to use the phone, you say yes, if you want to use the BT headset you just ignore it and it'll go away when the call connects. Brilliant.

    MP3 Player
    WIth 32 megs of internal phone memory and 128meg Duo support I don't know how many of you will be using this phone as an MP3 player, but if you decide to the S710a includes stereo headset that doubles as a handsfree headset. Sound quality from the headset is good as expected but won't take out any real quality stereo headphones. The Mp3 player on the S710a is engrained into the phone with a "media player" option that can be accesses via shortcut or the Media player through the menu.

    Battery
    Battery life on the S710a is far from stellar I get a day with medium to light usage and if I go heavy on the S710a I'll need to top off the charge to maintain through the evening. If your main concern is battery life, the S710a definately isn't king in that regard. Then again, name me a phone with 240x320 265k screen, class 10 EDGE and full connectivity options that has good battery life. AS screen sizes increase, battery capacities have to increase as well. Considering the S710a uses the same battery as the Z600 you can see why it's not exactly a battery king.

    Ratings:
    Performance...........9
    Build quality...........10
    Battery life.............6
    Features for $.........10
    Software................10
    Camera..................10
    Keypad...................6
    BT.........................10

    Overall.....................9.5


    PROS:
    *Strong RF
    *Excellent build quality with nice click when swivel opened/closed
    *Amazing feature set
    *SE sw is top notch
    *Ridiculously georgeous screen
    *Camera. 1.3 mix, takes a great shot
    *class 10 EDGE
    *Great sound/clarity
    *Amazing phonebook organization
    *Can use SIM/PHONE
    *Customizable 4 way joystick for shortcuts
    *Amazing connectivity options
    *smart, simple yet powerfull menu system
    *Form factor, keeps antenna free and clear

    CONS:
    *Price. $399, while a good price is still high for some
    *Battery life, huge screen, medium battery... do the math
    *sometimes lags in menu
    *form factor, some won't like, mic position is strange
    *128mb max memory stick duo on a 1.3 mpix cam
    *camera takes medium night shot
    *night mode require ultimate still hands
    Last edited by Treatz; 07-08-2005 at 04:54 PM.

  2. #2
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    So Pro. Very solid phone!

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    i've been waiting for this review for so long
    i just sold my s710 yesterday..i'm going to miss that phone

    thanks for the review treatz

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    always look forward to your reviews!!

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    Nice review.

    I was considering one, still might after price drop, but right now, the price was a little too much.

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    Thx for the wonderful review.
    I just personally hoped what if the phone was a slide-up type instead of swivel type. Might have been more popular :rolleyes2

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    Too bad it maxes out at 128mb. Is this a firmware limitation that will be removed in the future? If it weren't for the memory limitation I'd pick one up while waiting for the late Q4 releases as old Callstanza is getting a little played. Great, detailed review. Thanks again treatz.

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    a very nice review.
    do you like to talk on it open or closed?


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    Quote Originally Posted by JwY
    a very nice review.
    do you like to talk on it open or closed?
    I prefer open, truth be told.

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    I also used it for a month. I totally agree with your review. One thing I really like is the equalizer. I use custom and set the base and treble to max and hte sounds are simply amazing! Too bad max memory is 128MB because I used it as a MP3 player as well.

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    Good job again Treatz... so when should I get this phone in the mail... my b-day is coming

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    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows CE; PPC; 240x320))

    nice review! i'll be considering this SE to be my next phone

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    Quote Originally Posted by didouche
    Good job again Treatz... so when should I get this phone in the mail... my b-day is coming
    Didn't you just get a sexy new 6670b? Hopefully we'll see both yours and a few of the s710as at the next 514 meet.

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    Nice review as always treatz. The memory stick duo thing is definetly a turn off though, no matter how you look at it. I'm hoping that SE releases an 850 version of the K750i, then I'll consider getting another SE, but for now, series 60 is just too much fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plunger
    Didn't you just get a sexy new 6670b? Hopefully we'll see both yours and a few of the s710as at the next 514 meet.
    Hopefully by the next time the MSF makes it out your way, we'll all be showing off our w600's!

    Anyhow, great review Treatz!

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