It's small, looks vaguely familiar and, unlike most of Sony Ericsson's phones these days, doesn't come with any kind of special branding. But, for all its old-school charm, the T715 combines a solid set of up-to-date features with a stylish, understated design. You can pick up the T715 for free on a £14-per-month, 18-month contract, or for £100 on a pay-as-you-go deal. It's also available for about £180 SIM-free.
The T715's unfussy appearance and refreshingly uncomplicated operation match its no-nonsense name. It comes with 3G and HSPA support for fast data transfers, Internet browsing, video calls and the like. Web apps like Google Maps are included to take advantage of this, although they're somewhat tucked away within the handset's menus.
The phone's software should be familiar to anyone who has used a Sony Ericsson phone before. The T715 uses an updated version of the same interface that the manufacturer has been using for a while now on many of its low- and mid-range models. It's pretty easy to get the hang of and you're never too many button presses away from your phone book or text messages.
Sony Ericsson has entire product lines that are specifically aimed at music and photo buffs, and the T715 benefits from this, up to a point. Photo-wise, for example, there are traces of the manufacturer's Cyber-shot camera-phone brand. The T715 has a 3.2-megapixel image sensor and offers panoramic, burst-shoot and video modes. It's also possible to manually set the white balance.
For the full gamut of camera-phone features, however, you'd be much better off with a proper Cyber-shot model. There's no flash, for instance, and the photo light makes for a poor substitute. Image quality isn't quite up there with that of the best Cyber-shot models, either. Photos mostly look great on the handset display, but, at full size on your computer screen, you'll soon spot the rogue pixels and artefacts.
Similarly, on the music front, it's possible to listen to MP3 and AAC files and tune into FM radio just as you can with a Walkman music phone, but many of the extended audio features are missing. There's no one-click playback or mood-themed-playlist mode, for example. That said, sound quality isn't bad at all and album art is supported. Other music features include PlayNow arena (Sony Ericsson's answer to iTunes) and TrackID, which can identify a song based on a clip of a few seconds.
More to store?
Only around 90MB of on-board storage is available for your media but expansion is possible via a memory-card slot. The T715 supports the microSD format, giving up to 4GB of potential storage space. The slot is on the device's side, but gaining access necessitates removing the unit's back cover all the same.
When it comes to build quality, the awkward memory-card slot is about the only chink in the T715's armour. The handset exudes an air of quiet distinction, distilling previous Sony Ericsson stylings and marrying shiny black plastic with silver or pink brushed aluminium. Slide the T715 shut and it's extremely small too, making it conveniently discrete, whether you're carrying it in a jacket pocket or a handbag. Battery life is fairly good. Real-world usage should see a full charge lasting at least 3 days.
The Sony Ericsson T715 falls somewhere between the manufacturer's Walkman and Cyber-shot handsets. It has something of each in its music and camera capabilities, but focuses on being a phone first and foremost. As a result, the T715 is a refreshingly streamlined device. It's simple to use yet sophisticated enough to merit consideration on its own terms.
Edited by Charles Kloet