The handset looks more expensive than it is, and we love the brushed metallic look.
The user interface is easy to navigate, and there are some well thought out short cuts.
A good selection of entertainment features, but it lacks a stand out feature from the other handsets in the Walkman range. It really does need a 3.5mm audio jack, too.
Sony Ericsson know how to make good phones, and the W705 doesn’t disappoint.
Battery life is good, which is essential for a phone that is designed for music.
The W715 is a perfectly capable handset, but sadly there is nothing that sets it apart from the many other Walkman phones produced by Sony Ericsson.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:54:28 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Great sound quality and music player, wireless file sharing, diverse and fun range of games.
Lack of 3.5mm audio jack, gimmicky shake control feature.
Sony Ericsson pumps out Walkman phones with all the regularity of a high-fibre diet, and the W705 is another capable addition to the series.
It’s a compact slider with the standard suite of music and entertainment features – excellent Walkman player with equaliser, average three-megapixel camera, bundled 4GB memory card, and HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity plus GPS. Its menu system is the same as in any of Sony Ericsson’s myriad other mid-range handsets – an intuitive series of menus you can choose to have in grid or rotating line-up layout.
One issue we wish Sony Ericsson would address in its so-called dedicated music phone line is the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack for standard headphones. Unfortunately, the W705 remains jack-less.
The W705 may be a mid-ranger, but it feels more expensive. Our ‘Luxury Silver’ model has a brushed steel face that slides up to reveal a smooth, matt keypad with number keys that curved upwards, and a small steel rivet between each one that makes texting and dialling easy, even in the dark. The rest of its body is made of the same matt material as the keypad, with a fine gold mesh covering the speaker. At 95x47.5x14.3mm, the phone is compact but solid in the hand.
There is a dedicated media shortcut on the front face’s left button, and a Google search shortcut on the right button. This link also leads to your favourite websites; the preset options are BBC iPlayer, Sony Ericsson site, and Google.
We’re usually fans of the Sony Ericsson user interface (UI) and in terms of navigation and intuitiveness, it doesn’t disappoint. However, the display themes’ bright and cartoonish icons are perhaps aimed at a younger market.
The phone also packs an accelerometer, so it’s able to move from portrait to landscape orientation when you tip the phone, usefully changing the orientation of the D-pad with it. The accelerometer only works in the music and video players though, and the view automatically switches back to portrait when you enter any other applications. Unfortunately, this includes games, some of which would have benefited from a widescreen display.
The Walkman player is as good as the ones in any of Sony Ericsson’s other music phones, with clear, crisp sound and an equaliser that allows you to adjust the bass from 400Hz up to 6KHz. There is a handy ‘resume’ option in most menus for when you’re just browsing your music and want to get back to the song.
The hardware of the music player is generally well thought out – a volume control on the side of the phone, a D-pad for skipping back/forwards and selecting songs, a set of bundled in-ear headphones that provide rich, full sound – but, incredibly for a dedicated music phone, there is no 3.5mm audio jack. Instead, you’ll have to plug headphones into Sony Ericsson’s lump of an adaptor, on the side of the phone no less, where it digs into your leg even more awkwardly.
A couple of the add-ons are fun diversions – TrackID which can identify songs, and SensMe, an auto playlist creator that bases its selection on songs with similar mood and tempo.
Then you get to Shake Control (shake and tilt the phone to adjust volume and skip tracks), which didn’t work well. To adjust volume we had to hold down a tiny button awkwardly placed at the top of the phone, and then tilt it slowly to or away from us. Why bother when there are dedicated volume control buttons? To skip tracks, we had to flick our wrists to either side – this was a tough action to time correctly, and again, the D-pad works much better.
A useful feature is DLNA sharing – the W705 can share its files over Wi-Fi with other devices in the house, so you could, for example, view photos on the TV.
Like most of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones, the camera isn’t a feature to shout about. The three-megapixel snapper has no flash, but it does have an LED light so it takes decent pictures in both low and bright light, at a sufficient resolution
for screen viewing and uploading to the web. You can’t Bluetooth photos, but there are options to send as MMS or upload. The video player feels like a token addition, and even with the preloaded videos (presumably designed to look good on the phone) edges of objects are pixelated and there’s a lot of noise in the picture. Though one-click access to YouTube is useful, the phone can only record video at 15fps.
The games are one of the unsung features of the phone – a really good mix of button dexterity, logic and good ol’ classic fun, including an accelerometer-powered driving game, NitroStreet Racing.
Guitar Rock Tour is also kind of cool, with some surprisingly sophisticated nuggets of humour – one avatar you can pick is Chainsaw Rob, whose tagline is ‘Singing your fiftieth song about having lunch with satan… I’m not into it.’
You can also minimise the games app in the background if you need to do something else on the phone.
Sony Ericsson has done so many Walkman phones in slider and candybar formats, it can barely help but be good at it. The W705 is a solid handset with a good selection of entertainment features, but its similarity to its predecessors disappoints, and we can’t believe Sony Ericsson is still churning out music phones without a 3.5mm audio jack.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with the phone and, as a mid-range music phone, it does as well as any of the other dozens of Walkman handsets.