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Review: Sony Ericsson S710a

Form Function - Basics Function - Extras Wrap-up  

Menus Calls / Contacts Messaging  

Those who are familiar with the Sony Ericsson interface from the T600 series or other previous models will be happy to know that the S710 (and other current Sony Ericsson phones) improves on the previous version without changing anything too radically.

For those not familiar with the interface, it takes a little exploring to get used to, especially from the Home screen. The D-Pad select activates the application menu, however it is not marked very clearly (only with an icon of four squares), and the odd D-Pad / select button configuration only confounds the situation.

The Home screen offers a number of other nice touches including user-configurable shortcuts to applications, and a shortcut menu with often used functions like Bluetooth and silent mode. Some of these are more obvious than others.

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When the phone is first turned on, there is a startup wizard which offers to help you set up the S710. It configures time, date, and will copy contacts from your SIM to the phone memory. There are a number of other assist screens that pop up at least once during different points in navigation to offer hints or even shortcuts, however never so many or so often that it becomes annoying or counterproductive.

Once at the main menu, or in inside an application, the menus are clear and obvious. Since the Sony Ericsson interface has a dedicated back button, the left softkey and D-Pad select both typically work as select, while the right softkey activates the options menu. When the right softkey is assigned a different use (end during a call or right button during browsing), D-Pad select takes on the role of options menu key. This indicated by a much more obvious icon (an options list) during those situations.

There are slight pauses when navigating through the menus. Because this pause is fairly consistent, the wait is not apologized for, instead the menus just feel sluggish. The only exception is starting the camera, which takes about two seconds. Here you are treated to a "Starting Camera" wit screen, since this is the longest you have to wait for anything to happen on the phone.


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