Aimed at outdoor types, the Sony Ericsson C702 is described as dust- and splash-proof and packs a 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS. Is this sturdy phone more than just tough looks? It's currently available from several networks for free on a monthly contract or for about £200 on pay as you go.
Before we go on to describe our experience with the overall design of the C702, we have to point out how difficult it was to initially remove the battery cover. We don't normally have any problems opening battery covers, but the C702's cover presented a real challenge. First, you have to unlock the cover and then pry it open to the point that you think you're going to snap it in half. Aside from keeping the battery very secure, we're not sure why Sony Ericsson opted for this type of cover and hope not to see it again.
Fortunately, the rest of the C702's design isn't as trying as the battery cover. It's not a chunky phone and it fit in our pockets very easily, but it's large enough that it feels solid and robust. A relatively large screen is good for reading text messages and looking at apps such as Google Maps.
The keypad isn't the nicest we've ever used. The keys could be more well defined, but it's functional and adequate for tapping out messages. It might also have been a consideration to make all the keys on the phone much larger and better defined for use with gloves, for example. Equally functional is the C702's sliding lens cover that protects the lens and makes it easy to activate the camera.
As a rugged phone, we found the C702 to be fairly solid and will put up with dust and rain. Still, we didn't find the C702 particularly tougher than any other Sony Ericsson phone. If anything, we thought the company could have gone even further with the C702's ruggedness and made it sturdier, perhaps featuring a metal frame and a completely waterproof design.
As a Cyber-shot phone, the C702's 3.2-megapixel camera is its key feature. Flick the lens cover open and the camera is activated along with four blue lights, which appear on the right side of the keypad and give certain keys camera-specific functions.
The camera starts up quickly and there isn't a lot of shutter lag, so taking pictures is a fairly pleasurable affair. As for picture quality, images taken in daylight came out well. They're not as good as the K850i's, which has a better camera. Both, however, lack a xenon flash.
An interesting addition to the C702's camera functionality is the ability to add the location of your picture using the built-in GPS. You can also use the GPS with an application called Tracker to track a run and then see your route and how fast you were going, among other useful information.
Alternatively, you can use the GPS with Google Maps to find your location and get directions. If you want to use it as a sat-nav, then you can use the pre-installed Wayfinder app, which offers voice prompts.
Bored of the phone's bevy of features? How about a little Web browsing over HSDPA? We preferred using Opera Mini to surf instead of the C702's own browser.
music player is functional, but the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack is a
pet peeve of ours. It was made even worse by the lack of an adaptor in
Battery life was adequate, lasting for around two days with moderate use. If you often use the GPS and HSDPA, the battery will obviously deplete much faster, so we'd advise you to limit your usage when possible. Don't leave a GPS application open if you're not using it or browse the Web for hours. You shouldn't expect to have a lot of battery power left afterwards.
For a mid-range phone, the Sony Ericsson C702 is a good all-rounder, but we expected something more. It's not that we don't think that it's a good phone, we just think Sony Ericsson could have injected more panache into what essentially looks like another run-of-the-mill handset. That said, it's a bargain if you consider its features. It's worth looking at if you're on a budget.
Alternatively, the Nokia N82 comes with GPS and a much better camera or you could opt for the incoming Sony Ericsson C905 that will offer eveything the Nokia N82 has in a more camera-specific handset.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday