Review: Sony Ericsson Z750
Phones from Sony Ericsson typically have a defining sense of style. Whether it be a clamshell or bar-style handset, there's something about Sony Ericsson phones that tell you exactly where they come from. Aside from the green SE graphic on the back side of the Z750a, this phone breaks that pattern.
That's not to say that it doesn't look good. Its front face is all silvery-reflective and can (no joke) be used as a mirror to check your 'do before you go on that hot date. It is insanely reflective...when it's not covered in layers of fingerprint grime. If you think black-faced phones look bad with smudges, you ain't seen nothing. If you're thinking to yourself, "Darn, no outer display," have no fear. A one-line OLED is hidden underneath the shiny surface, and a quick press of any of the buttons will bring it to life, letting you check your service indicators. Other than this reflective front face, nothing else about the phone really stands out. It is made of rather plain-looking gray plastics.
Holding it in your hands, the phone's girth is definitely noticeable. It's not quite as chubby as a Nokia N95, but it isn't too far off the mark. These days, when thin is in, the Z750a desperately needs to lose a few millimeters around the waist. The plastics feel good, though, and its rounded edges make it pleasant enough to slip in and out of your pocket (so long as you don't mind the bulge).
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Popping it open is only a matter of digging your thumb between the halves. Here, the Z750a looks more familiar. The navigation cluster is one that could only be designed by Sony Ericsson. All of the buttons are covered in a shiny, reflective surface similar to the front face. The circular D-pad is directly below the hinge. It is about the size of a quarter. The center button has the AT&T "globe" logo etched onto it. The D-pad works just fine, as does the center button. To the left and right of the D-pad are four circular buttons. These are your soft keys, and send/end keys. The travel and feedback of these four buttons was good. Below the D-pad and control buttons is another row of three, tiny little circular buttons. They are a dedicated camera key, the clear key, and an application swap key. If you ask me, putting the clear key in the middle was a major mistake. I hit the app-swap button a million times when I meant to hit the clear key, meaning I jumped to another application rather than deleting text, or going back a screen. This can drive you mad. Regular use will change that.
The numeric keypad is simply one of the best we've seen from Sony Ericsson. The buttons are large, well spaced, and feel great to use. Travel and feedback is nearly perfect. The "nub" on the five key was nice and easy to find, which helped aide usability when not looking at the keypad. All the way at the bottom of the keypad, below the # key, was a very small power button to turn the phone on and off. A quick press turns it on, a longer press turns the Z750a off. I like that this button is hidden inside the device, meaning the phone won't accidentally be turned on/off when stored in a bag.
The left side of the phone is where you'll find a dedicated music application key and the volume toggle. Unlike the numeric keypad, these are among the worst buttons we've encountered on the side of a phone. The music app button is a half-circle that is embedded into the side of the phone. It offered the bare minimum of feedback and was not easy to find. The volume toggle was easier to find, but offered even less feedback. We're talking the button barely moves, and there's absolutely no "click" to let you know the button has actually been pushed.
The hatch for the M2 memory slot is the only thing found on the right side of the phone. It was easy enough to find and open. The battery hatch on the back of the Z750a comes off with the use of a fingernail.
Our on-the-scene report from the CTIA trade show in Orlando. New phones from Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Helio, HTC, Alcatel, Motorola and Pantech.
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