Aimed at outdoor types, the Sony Ericsson C702 is described as dust- and splash-proof and packs a 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS. Is this sturdy phone more than just tough looks? It's currently available from several networks for free on a monthly contract or for about £200 on pay as you go.
Before we go on to describe our experience with the overall design of the C702, we have to point out how difficult it was to initially remove the battery cover. We don't normally have any problems opening battery covers, but the C702's cover presented a real challenge. First, you have to unlock the cover and then pry it open to the point that you think you're going to snap it in half. Aside from keeping the battery very secure, we're not sure why Sony Ericsson opted for this type of cover and hope not to see it again.
Fortunately, the rest of the C702's design isn't as trying as the battery cover. It's not a chunky phone and it fit in our pockets very easily, but it's large enough that it feels solid and robust. A relatively large screen is good for reading text messages and looking at apps such as Google Maps.
The keypad isn't the nicest we've ever used. The keys could be more well defined, but it's functional and adequate for tapping out messages. It might also have been a consideration to make all the keys on the phone much larger and better defined for use with gloves, for example. Equally functional is the C702's sliding lens cover that protects the lens and makes it easy to activate the camera.
As a rugged phone, we found the C702 to be fairly solid and will put up with dust and rain. Still, we didn't find the C702 particularly tougher than any other Sony Ericsson phone. If anything, we thought the company could have gone even further with the C702's ruggedness and made it sturdier, perhaps featuring a metal frame and a completely waterproof design.
As a Cyber-shot phone, the C702's 3.2-megapixel camera is its key feature. Flick the lens cover open and the camera is activated along with four blue lights, which appear on the right side of the keypad and give certain keys camera-specific functions.
The camera starts up quickly and there isn't a lot of shutter lag, so taking pictures is a fairly pleasurable affair. As for picture quality, images taken in daylight came out well. They're not as good as the K850i's, which has a better camera. Both, however, lack a xenon flash.