Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 3:52:50 PM
With a built-in GPS receiver, a host of navigational applications are included providing route planning, geo-tagging and even a fitness regime.
As part of the Cyber-shot range, the C702?s snapping abilities ultimately disappoints.
Last month we got to grips with Sony Ericsson's five-megapixel C902 Cyber-shot phone and we were pretty impressed. This month it's the turn of its younger sibling, the Sony Ericsson C702, but will it emerge from the C902's shadow?
The Sony Ericsson C702 is a tad on the bulky side. It's thick and as a result looks quite cumbersome. However, pick the handset up and you'll be surprised by how light it feels in the hand. Its casing is a mesh of metal and rubber giving it a somewhat ruggedised feel. Indeed, the C702 is both splash and dust resistant. The C702 doesn't fill us with the same confidence as the JCB Toughphone, for example, but it's good to know that the phone can take the odd knock or soaking.
The C702's numeric keys are thin but wide enough for accurate button pushing. The hard keys found above, however, feel a bit hollow and tend to creek a little when pressed. Meanwhile, the navigation pad feels a little rough around the edges. Bizarrely, we also found that if the cancel button and end key were pressed together - a hazard quite common due to their close proximity - it fired up the camera. As there is no mention of this ‘shortcut' in the manual we can only assume this is an oversight that actually proves more of an irritation than a benefit.
In order for the 3.2-megapixel camera to work, the shutter found on the back of the handset must be opened manually. While this provides the added benefit of protecting the lens, it feels a little clunky and is certainly not as slick as the C902's hidden sliding mechanism. Being part of the Cyber-shot range we expect the camera abilities to be top notch, so we were left slightly disappointed by the C702's performance. In fairness, however, it does have some appealing features. Face detection is onboard, as is BestPic and keys 3, 6, 9 and # light up in neon blue indicating various camera modes which is a nice touch.
However, while the dual LED flash helps brighten up the pics, they still remain a bit drab - BestPic will help salvage some. Furthermore, the video camera, despite boasting playback speeds of up to 30fps, suffered with each zoom we made, causing the footage to become increasingly pixellated.
Something that the C702 does offer which the C902 doesn't is the built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS. Our handset came bundled with Google Maps, Wayfinder Navigator and Tracker - a useful application that uses the GPS to monitor how far and fast you are running (or walking). Wayfinder Navigator allows you to search for local amenities, plan routes and even view your progress on a 3D-style map. Its accuracy in pinpointing our location was excellent, although we did need to be outside or in a car for it to work. Google Maps can be run in conjunction with geo-tagging - the ability to attach the location of where and when a photo is taken - and, thanks to the GPS receiver, the results are far superior to those achieved with the C902. It's worth noting however, that you will be charged data rates when using the geo-tagging function.
Sony Ericsson has taken the disappointing step not to include a 3.5mm headphone port, or even an adapter. It means that you won't be able to use your own Sennheiser or Bose headphones, although the C702 does support A2DP Stereo Bluetooth. This omission is compensated somewhat by the joyous internet experience, however. HSDPA means fast downloads and quick web access, while web content can be viewed in either landscape or portrait - but this will have to be adjusted via the settings, as there are no accelerometers.
While the Sony Ericsson C702 is a decent phone in its own right, it was always going to draw comparisons with its five-megapixel family member, the C902, and for this reason it will be judged accordingly. The camera disappoints, particularly for a Cyber-shot phone, and our review sample also crashed on two occasions as we were closing down an application. The built-in GPS receiver scores the C702 some points over the C902, but ultimately it will be the latter that will live in the memory.