Sony Ericsson C702
Dust- and water-resistant handset with HSDPA support
- Build quality, IP54 dust and water resistant, excellent display, A-GPS with included applications
- Battery cover difficult to remove, no way of checking data use for A-GPS, mediocre camera, no 3.5mm headphone jack
The C702 is one of the most feature-packed, rugged handsets we’ve reviewed. If build and call quality are of paramount concern, this is a great choice.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
A rugged handset conforming to IP54 standards for dust and water resistance, Sony Ericsson's C702 is a mobile phone designed to take a beating, and it doesn't skimp on features. In addition to its rugged design, the C702 boasts a GPS receiver, HSDPA capabilities and a 3.2-megapixel Cyber-shot camera.
The C702 isn't the most attractive handset, but for its intended target market this isn't a concern. A more important issue is its build quality: the phone isn't completely waterproof so don't try to take it for a swim, but it will respond fine to being splashed with water and dust. Although it's not rated as shockproof, the solid feel gives the impression of a handset that is capable of taking a beating.
The lower half of the handset has a black rubberised finish, but the gloss black finish surrounding the display and the silver finish on the top rear add a little style. The M2 card slot on the right side is sealed by a plastic flap, and the phone's battery cover can only be opened by using a coin to unlock it (it's somewhat difficult to remove). Importantly, in addition to good build quality, the C702 provides excellent call quality and clarity.
The C702 features a surprisingly good display, and its large size is great for using the phone's camera. Unfortunately, the controls and keypad are a mixed bag. The keypad is quite small and squashed, although is generally comfortable to use. The thin raised edges on the five-way navigational pad and tiny answer/end call keys are somewhat annoying.
An excellent feature of the C702 is its built-in A-GPS receiver. Included on the handset is both Google Maps and WayFinder Navigator — the latter providing turn-by-turn navigation using Australian maps pre-loaded onto the unit. The C702 also includes the Tracker application — a fitness program that allows you to keep track of your speed, the distance travelled, route taken and energy consumption during a training or workout session. As it has an A-GPS receiver, the C702 GPS uses data and cell tower information to determine your position in addition to using GPS satellites. This makes it important to keep track of data usage, though there is no way to do this through the handset itself.
Overall, GPS performs fairly well, but it is somewhat slow to pick up and maintain a constant signal. We found it sometimes took up to two or three minutes to acquire a signal and we struggled somewhat in CBD areas. Although the WayFinder application is a nice inclusion, the interface isn't intuitive as we'd have liked and the maps lack detail compared to a regular in-car GPS unit.
The 3.2-megapixel camera may be Cyber-shot branded, but the pictures it produces are disappointing. Although we don't expect much from camera phones, the C702's pictures seemed to produce a higher than usual level of image noise. The presence of a flash makes night-time photography somewhat more appealing, but you shouldn't rely on this camera for anything more than a few happy snaps.
Apart from the GPS and camera, the rest of the C702's features are fairly standard. Multimedia support is disappointing, with no 3.5mm headphone jack and no included adapter in the sales package. For extra memory an M2 (Memory Stick Micro) slot is present, but there is no card in the sales package. An FM radio is a nice feature, and the popular TrackID feature is also present — a service that allows you to record a snippet of a song and send it over the Internet. You will then get a reply with information about the song, including song title, artist and album name if available.
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