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Sony Ericsson T707 review: Sony Ericsson T707

Call us shallow but we like the little T707 for its body, not for its brains. This sexy handset is great at the basics, but lacks any techy extras.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
4 min read

Design

Amongst the growing hordes of stern-looking business smartphones, the T707 is a fashionable breath of fresh air. Our review unit doesn't break from the popular glossy black finish of many new mobiles — others available feature electric pink and blues — but its strengths definitely lie in its design, especially on the top half of its slick chassis. Without power you'll notice a few nice touches, such as two half rings of graduating grey, a camera lens and a gentle dimple on the bottom right. Once you turn the phone on these elements come to life, the rings and dimple glow and pulsate slowly when you have a message or missed call, and inside the rings lives an OLED display with the time, battery life and network coverage all easy to read.

7.4

Sony Ericsson T707

The Good

Sexy design. Nifty external light notifications. Well spaced keypad. Good basic calling and messaging.

The Bad

No 3.5mm adapter. No Wi-Fi or GPS. Poorly positioned charging socket. RRP is overpriced.

The Bottom Line

Call us shallow but we like the little T707 for its body, not for its brains. This sexy handset is great at the basics, but lacks any techy extras.

This clamshell phone opens on a very sturdy-feeling hinge and inside we find a 2.2-inch colour screen and a nicely designed keypad comprised of separated circular keys; nothing particularly exciting but pleasantly laid out and easy to use nonetheless. Sony Ericsson uses its standard proprietary system on the T707, with clearly labelled menus and large colourful icons, which is, again, easy to use.

Sony Ericsson includes a stereo headset in the box with the phone, including an FM radio antenna on the cable. These plug into a proprietary socket on the side of the phone, shared with the phone's charger, which means you can't swap them for your own high quality headphones. It also means that when the headphones are connected it becomes difficult to use the keyboards thanks to the position of the socket of the lower left-hand side. The included 'phones are reasonably comfortable to wear, but the quality of sound is only average.

Features

Fashionable design flair doesn't stop with the physical design of the T707, with the handset sporting no less than six pre-installed display themes including one featuring brand ambassador Maria Sharapova. Each of the themes makes use of an animated background and an overall colour palette often consisting of soft pastel pinks or blues mixed with gentle greys. We doubt anyone shops for phones based on the quality of the pre-installed themes, but these are definitely attractive enough to warrant a mention.

Beyond good looks, the T707 is fitted with a respectable range of hardware, like HSDPA data speeds and an A2DP stereo Bluetooth compatible chipset, though it lacks high-end gadgets like Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. One feature sure to be well received is the conversations-style SMS reader which places all messages to and from a contact in a single easy-to-read list. This way you can catch up with all messages from a single friend without having to go backwards and forwards to the master message list.

Digging around the menus we find Google Maps, AccuWeather weather app and good-looking Facebook and YouTube apps designed specifically for Sony Ericsson handsets. The last two apps in particular are very handy considering you won't be able to download them anywhere else, and they are probably two of the most popular activities on phones these days. The Facebook tool is quite special, it shows all your friends most recent status updates as a side-scrolling ticker on the phone's home screen.

Performance

Using the T707 is a fairly predictable experience; good calling, good messaging, basic browsing and some simple organiser tools, like a calendar and alarm clocks. The T707 easily met our expectations without exceeding them in anyway. The clamshell design and receding hinge place the speaker and microphone in good positions on the face during calls, so both parties enjoyed clear conversation during our tests. The well-spaced keypad does mean your fingers travel further from key to key, but this is a far better option than using a cramped keyboard and constantly correcting errors, like those we tend to see on Samsung and LG releases.

Battery life was excellent during our tests, even using the phone as our dedicated MP3 player and FM radio couldn't phase its three- to four-day charge cycle. Those who value several days between charges over smartphones and touchscreens will find what they are looking for here.

Overall

Call us shallow but we like the little T707 for its looks. There's nothing about the T707 you can't find on other Sony Ericsson, Nokia or Samsung mobile phones at this price point, but the attractive design is really eye-catching, especially when the external lights start to throb after you receive a message or miss a call. Its official RRP is listed as AU$449, but don't pay this much. We've seen prices listed at just above and below the $300 mark online, a much better price for a phone with the features listed.