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Review: Sony Ericsson S710a

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The Home screen displays the time and date by default, making it is easy to check the time when the screen is on. To save battery power the screen shuts off completely when the phone is idle. When the keys are unlocked, a quick press of any button turns the screen and backlight on to check the time.

When the keys are locked, pressing any key but the volume controls will turn the screen on but the backlight is dimmed. Even though a keylock icon is displayed, it doesn't block the clock, making it possible to check the time in decent lighting. In the bright light, however, the only way to check the time is to use the slider and turn the keylock off.

It is a shame that Sony Ericsson did not include the keylocked behavior of the K700 on the S series. On that phone, a press of either volume button while the keys are locked turns on the backlight and displays the time for a few seconds.

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Sony Ericsson continues to implement one of the widest selection of Bluetooth profiles on their phones. The S710 supports both headset and hands-free audio profiles, as well as dialup networking, serial, object push, sync, and even HID remote.

HID remote allows you to control a compatible desktop computer, by using the phone as a mouse, or even controlling specific applications in the foreground if a remote profile is available for it.

You can send and receive nearly every type of file or object on the phone- vcards, ringtones, pictures, etc. Cingular has not locked out any of these services on their customized version either.

The S710a's Java engine starts up quickly, but according to benchmark scores, that's about all it does quickly. MIDP 1 scores was 1769 and MIDP 2 benchmark was a mere 90, putting the S710a well below most other high end phones and at the bottom of the current line of Sony Ericsson Handsets.

Other Features
The S710a includes a very easy to use calculator - the D-Pad selects which type of calculation to perform, leaving the keypad for numeric entry only.

The alarm clock works even when the phone is turned off and forces you to actually look at the phone or it will keep ringing (and eventually auto-snooze), which is good for us heavy sleepers. There is an easy to set countdown timer as well.

The phone also includes an audio / video player that can play mp3s, but it is not full featured. It has some nice touches like the ability to keep playing even when the application is in the background and a random play option. However there are no playlists and songs are sorted by file name, so you have to rename all your files to play together and even then if you put it on random or leave the player going for too long, it will start playing the mp3 ringtones on the phone as well.

Since the Bluetooth supports Synchronization, it is fairly easy to sync the S710 with a computer. PC sync software is included with the phone, and it works with iSync on Macs. iSync 1.5 does not officially support the S710a, just the S700, so you have to initiate the pairing from the phone in order to add it to iSync.

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