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★★★★☆

“I bought the Sony Ericsson W705 to replace my Moto V3i...”

Written on: 04/07/2009

Good Points
Quality looks and finish, 4GB card included, Sharp screen with good sunlight visibility, excellent phone book and solid call quality, Radio, Sound quality from Walkman app, good quality headphones included

Bad Points
Case back a bit creaky, Speakerphone too quiet, initial crashing (fixed with firmware update), no 3.5mm Headphone jack, camera a bit pants and not on slide so exposed to dirt/dust,.

General Comments
I bought the Sony Ericsson W705 to replace my Moto V3i which had gone faulty after 18 months. Set a budget of no more than £200 sim free ( to use with company Sim Card) and thanks to an offer from Play.com I got it for under £180.
Initial impressions were pretty good. On opening the, smaller than expected, box I was impressed by the look of the phone - mine was the 'Luxury Silver' version with a brushed metal front and a soft touch dark brown back with subtle gold accents (trust me on the gold it looks better than it sounds!).
Fit and finish were pretty good and the soft touch back cover certainly feels nice and offers good grip. The slide is well sprung and is pretty solid when extended (no slop like some models I've tried in the past). There is no lip on the slide so it takes a bit of practice to find the best way of closing one-handed but thats probably because I'm used to a clamshell.
The screen is very nice - sharp and bright, and I found it easy to read even in direct sunlight with the high contrast default Walkman theme. It's a bit small for movies and internet browsing, but to honest I have an i-Pod touch for that so it's sufficient for the odd occasion I might need it. That said the browser worked well over Wi-Fi (I didn't try HSDPA as my company wont pay for it), rendering well and quickly.
I'll quickly mention the Walkman player - although I really bought the phone to be a phone not a media powerhouse. The included headphones, which are in-ear type and certainly a cut above the usual cheap rubbish most phones arrive with. They come with 3 different sized silcon cups and once you find the right size for your ears the sound quality from the phone is very good - sound quality has always been a Sony strength and this device is no exception.....at least through the headphones, the loudspeaker is pretty poor with a very thin tinny sound no matter which equaliser setting you chose! Shame then that Sony E have still stuck with the propriatory port that means you have to plug in a large ugly adaptor to use the headphones (or buy some Bluetooth ones).
The poor loudspeaker surfaces again if you try and use the phone on loudspeaker - for some strange reason the volume is about half that of the music player and unless you are in a very quiet room it's next to useless - not something I tend to do so not a show-stopper.
Other Phone functions are well up to snuff though, Call quality was fine once I'd bumped the volume up a notch or two from the default, it holds onto a signal well (even if the meter seems to fluctuate a bit!), and the phone book and messaging are very well implemented.
Loads of customisation options and those used to SE phones will already know most of them, even down to video ringtones and flash apps as backgrounds. It's a shame most of the included ringtones suffer from the poor speaker but once you find one that sonically suits the speaker range it's loud and clear.
The Camera is a bit of a let down - the interface is good and it's quick to respond but the picture quality is disapointing for a 3.2 megapixel unit and because it's not on teh slide and so hidden when closed it tends to pick up dust and fingerprints on the lens which do nothing to improve the picture sharpness.
Now to the big problem I had - within 24hrs of getting the phone, and after spending around 2 hours inputing all my phone contacts teh W705 crashed. Big time. Initially it refused to open the phone book, and then on rebooting it refused to recognise my sim card. Eventually I got it to boot only to have an error showing no network. Finally it refused to charge claiming not have a valid Sony battery.
A quick scan on the Web seemed to confirm this was quite a common problem and I was all ready to package up my 1 day old brick and send it back, but as a last resort I did a quick scan on SE's website and downloaded a firmware updater. After a brief download it found a newer firmware and after a 5 min install I rebooted with bated breath to find I once again had a working phone - albeit sans all my hard typed contacts. After re-loading I have now been using the W705 for a couple of weeks with no further problems.
Goodness knows how many of these phones Sony have had back, but if you suffer the crashing problems make sure you download the updater and get the latest firmware first - it worked for me and I'm now a happy W705 owner.

If you've stuck with my rather lengthy review you can see I've mentioned a few flaws as these are what most people want to know abaout but to be fair none of them are major issues and the positives of this phone far outweigh them.
Overall I would recomend the W705 for anyone looking for a reasonably priced traditional type phone with the ability to play your media, particularly music with great sound quality.

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