This phone doesn’t feel like a premium handset when you first take it out of the box, which is rather unfortunate. If you pick up a dummy in a shop, you’ll probably think it’s a pretty basic slider – but the W705 is a well-featured model.
It may not have the C905’s 8-megapixel camera, as the forthcoming W995 does, but it does have the same large (2.6-inch) display and Wi-Fi (but not GPS). It supports HSDPA, comes with a 4GB memory card in the box (but will take cards up to 32GB) and has a motion sensor that allows you to shake the phone to change track, rotate the screen or play motion-controlled games, such as I-play’s Bowling game where you move the phone Wii-style to bowl.
Camera not too flash
On the camera side, the W705 only gets a 3.2-megapixel fixed-focus sensor, but there is a LED flash which is a rarity on non Cyber-shot phone these days. I suspect the flash was a late addition to the phone spec though, as there’s no keypad shortcut to turn it on or off (what was wrong with the * key?). With no auto mode, you’ll have to go into the menu every time to toggle it on or off, which is a real pain. Photographs aren’t too bad, but the camera is far behind what Sony Ericsson is putting on some models today.
What you will want to do with the phone is listen to music or watch video. A new addition to the media menu is links to the BBC iPlayer site, allowing you to watch live broadcasts or catch up on previous shows. These play through the normal video player, or the Walkman application if you want to listen to a radio station. There’s also an FM radio if you want to keep data usage down and save the battery.
At the top of the phone is a tiny button that takes you directly to the Walkman player. Like the flash, this looks like another last minute change. It’s as if this was going to be the power button, thus used infrequently, and someone realised at the eleventh hour that there was no Walkman button and swapped its purpose.
Thankfully, the other buttons are rather easier to press and the keypad is fine, if a little smaller than the C905. For a phone that’s almost half the thickness of the C905, there are unlikely to be many complaints here.
The same can’t be said about the screen, which is not scratch resistant. If you signed up to this phone on an 18-month contract, you’d be rather miffed at finding scratches on the display after just one day. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, that’s what I managed to do in less than 24 hours! If you buy this handset, get some screen protector film to go with it. You’ll thank me for the advice later.
The phone feels nicer in the hand than the similarly sized W910 that it replaces. Thankfully, the W705 is more stable and anyone with nightmare stories about their W910 will be relieved that the latest software platform is pretty solid now. The only real change over other recent handsets is the new ’search’ option on the standby screen, giving quick access to Google and recently visited websites.
With email, DNLA support (to play media on compatible wireless devices), and fast data over 3G or Wi-Fi, the only real disappointment is the camera that could have been better quality.
There’s no shortage of Walkman handsets to suit all tastes and budgets. The W705 (and the Vodafone exclusive W715 variant) is a decent enough slider, but clearly built to a budget. This means it feels a bit cheap and has an easy-to-scratch screen. The camera has a flash, but the controls (or lack of) aren’t a patch on the Cyber-shot interface. Fortunately, you can’t fault the Walkman player or the audio quality (although the internal speaker is poor). The BBC iPlayer support is an excellent addition, while motion control games are another bonus. As long as a camera isn’t the most important thing to you, you won’t dislike this phone.
RATINGS (OUT OF 5)
And the difference between the W705 and the W715 is?
Vodafone has an exclusive version of this phone known as the W715. It’s basically the same phone with GPS and some extra software, including Find & Go and Vodafone’s own music service embedded. It went on sale April 1st 2009.