Sony Ericsson's W710i is the second phone we've seen recently that offers some special features for sporty types -- the first being Nokia's 5500 Sport.
After giving the W710i a solid workout we think the seriously sporty would be better off with something more specifically attuned to performance measurement. Like the Nokia 5500 Sport, this handset lacks the accuracy of a GPS antenna-based system when it comes to measuring distance travelled, and what it offers is only really suitable for runners. But at least this time round you can calibrate the built-in pedometer to your own stride length.
It's not all about sports features here, though. The W710i boasts full-blown Walkman-style music capability and an FM radio among the features that make this phone rather appealing.
The Sony Ericsson W710i is a clamshell phone and when closed it's nice and neat in the hand and pocket. It's not as thin as some phones we've seen recently -- indeed, its 25mm depth could be referred to as somewhat on the thick side.
There are a couple of side buttons -- two on the left for volume and camera control (the volume rocker can be used for voice dialling if held down, too) and one on the right edge that locks all the outer buttons. There are also two controls on the left and two on the right of the front screen. These are large, rubberised and very easy to find without looking at the phone at all, which is important as one of the times you'll be using them is when exercising -- more on that later.
The front screen is generously sized, and while it only displays four colours it does so with great clarity, showing its information in bright orange, which fades to grey. When the pedometer is active its main display shows the number of steps you've taken to date.
When you open the handset up it grows from its 88mm in height to a rather large 160mm -- clamshells are cute in the hand when closed, but unwieldy beasts when opened.
The main screen is bright and clear, but at just 30mm by 37mm it is small. Its 176x220 pixels aren't at the leading edge, either.
The number pad area is very well laid out. The main number keys are large and well spaced -- it's very easy to number dial with them. The navigation key is smaller than we'd like, but you can use it to shortcut into a lot of the handset's features. Hold down its top section to jump into the fitness applications, left to go into messaging, down to get to the stored contacts and right to any shortcut you care to set up for yourself.
Add in the two softmenu keys, a button dedicated to a more complex tabbed shortcuts area, one that takes you online and one that launches the handset music player, and you can see that effort has been made to make it pretty fast to get to what this phone has to offer.
The Sony Ericsson W710i is a quad-band handset with GPRS. Infrared and Bluetooth are built in, and there's 10MB of internal memory, which you can add to with Memory Stick Micro cards. You get a 512MB card with the phone to get you started -- the slot is visible on the left side of the phone, but you have to remove the battery cover to get to it.