The other day when I did the overview of MIDP 2.0 and how it had truly arrived, I had no idea I'd be fondling the image I was using of the most advanced MIDP phone within a week or so. We got a SonyEricsson K700 in the office yesterday and I got a chance to play. What an astounding piece of work it is. Incredible. I haven't had time to do a thorough review, but here's some things that make this phone one of the best I've ever played with:
Incredible Screen: The screen was bright, but beyond that, it had that quality I've only seen on new color Palms. You know when the text is so smooth it almost looks like paper? That quality. Really, really wonderful to behold.
Eye Candy GUI: The K700 improves on the T610's dozen nice icons on the main screen and (to me at least) understandable navigation system with *nicer* icons that move and rotate when you select them. One of the finer points is a little highlight that when you're at the top of the screen and push up, flits upwards to the top of the screen then appears at the bottom of the screen to select the bottom icon. Same thing for the sides. It's a wonderful touch that makes it very obvious where you are on the screen. The integrated PIM is one of the nicest I've seen as well. It's just *nice*.
Multimedia: Decent camera, flash, 32MB of built in storage(!!!), MP3 playback, FM Radio and video recording. Holy crap.
And the final WOW? The most amazing? Here:
Super Java: The T610 was known for having a slow and ridiculously low-powered Java implementation (200kb heap anyone?), but SonyEricsson K700 has leaped forward with CLDC 1.1/MIDP 2.0 (one of the few available right now) *and* the first J2ME 3D (JSR 184) support I've seen. There's a sample Tennis MIDlet that comes with the phone that has to be seen to be believed. Full-on 3D visuals, smooth play, great sound. My jaw was on the floor playing with this thing. I had honestly thought J2ME 3D was one of those JSRs that was way out on the horizon, not to be paid attention to. I had no idea it was coming so soon, and that it was *so* good.
Here's a few thoughts. First, I'm continuing my transition to being a flip-phone advocate. The keyboard on this phone is really cramped and since the whole phone is insanely small, there's not much to do about it. The joystick in particular is *small*. I'm sure that SonyEricsson will be making a flip version of this phone like they did with the Z700 (which was just like the T610) and I think that will be the preferable model.
The thing that strikes me is how focused on the end-use the phone is. Like the T610, there are buttons for internet access and picture taking on the side of the phone as well as a volume button, and I like the dedicated back button as well. I've read some reviews about this phone comparing it to the Nokia 6230, but I honestly think that Nokia doesn't have a chance. Why? The User Interface and screen size of the K700 just blows Series 40 phones out of the water. No one in their right mind will choose a Nokia S40 phone over a K700. The experience is just so much nicer.
Check out Mobile-Review.com for this detailed review of the K700, versus this review of the Nokia 6230. See the screen shots? See the massive difference in GUI design and functionality? I like Nokia phones for their ease of use - my Mom could probably more efficiently use a 6230 over a K700 for example - but for most consumers it's all about the eye-candy. Nokia really needs to finish their transition to the Series 60 platform so that they can compete with these phones. Actually, SonyEricsson is way ahead of everybody in this regard. Have you seen the UI on the Samsungs, Sanyos or Motorolas? They all look like circa 1990 CGA computer applications - big blocky fonts and lots of wasted screen space.
Anyways, this phone is incredible. Totally lust worthy. Look for SonyEricsson to pick up another Phone Of The Year title at next 3GSM world as well.