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Review: Sony Ericsson S710a

Form Function - Basics Function - Extras Wrap-up  

The screen, signal strength, sound, user friendly menus and great camera make the S710a a good choice for all but the most basic users. Plus the fact that it plays well with both Macs and PCs should make it even more attractive to power users.

It's true the S710 is so powerful (it's easily your phone, PDA and camera in one) that you use it more often and have to carry less stuff with you, but the impact this has on the battery life and size of the phone is a rough trade-off.

It is depressing to have a phone that you can't even take on a long weekend getaway without having to take along the charger. Making calls, checking email and taking pictures as you might when out on the road or even out around town guarantees you won't make it a full three days before needing to recharge.

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Physically the phone is just too large. With such a good camera, you want to take a phone like this everywhere you go, but it's just too big for tight jeans or nice pants when you're going out for a night on the town.

Worse than the bulk, because it affects usability, is the spinner form factor. I would argue that the spinner needs to be eliminated, but it appears the phone manufacturers already know that. They were all the rage last year, but this year not a single spinner model has been announced here, in Europe or in Asia. Spinners are difficult to hold when opening, difficult to open one-handed, and confusing. The only consolation is that you don't have to spin the S710a open very often.

The S710a does so many things well, but these physical setbacks hold it back from being the ultimate device. It seems Sony Ericsson was as aware of this as we are, since all of these issues appear to have been addressed by their recently announced K750i and W800i. Still this is probably one of the best-featured GSM phones you can currently buy from an American carrier.


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