The Good Bright internal 65K color display. Symbian-based smartphone with QuickOffice suite. Bluetooth, infrared and USB. Supports miniSD memory cards.
The Bad Slow menu navigation. The external antenna is interfering. Average battery life.
The Bottom Line The Panasonic X700 is a stylish Symbian-based flip phone with a fantastic display and a variety of connectivity options, but is driven by sluggish menu navigation.
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With a glossy silver look, an external LCD and a clamshell design, the X700 is similar in style to its predecessor, the X70. The external display supports 4 096 colors and displays an analog clock or screen saver in standby mode. The front of the handset has a loudspeaker, camera, flash and infrared. The only grip we have with the design is the external antenna; we much prefer flip phones with built-in antennas such as the trendy Nokia 7270 and the still sexy Motorola V3.
Opening the flip opens a gorgeous 65,536 color LCD and a blue backlit keyboard built with the Symbian operating system. Along with the standard numeric keypad, the call combination and the end, there are two key combinations, a round four-way navigation bar with a select button in the middle. Most Symbian smartphones have special menu keys, an xHTML browser and an edit key. The silver keys are flat and well laid out, making text messages a breeze.
Launching the Symbian operating system, the X700 smartphone comes with a suite of pre-loaded applications and allows you to install additional programs yourself.
Video playback is via RealOne Player and we found six sample 3GP video files on the X700. The length of the recorded video depends only on the amount of memory remaining. Alternatively, you can change the video length setting to “Limited” for short clips that can be sent via MMS. Panasonic offers 16 MB of miniSD cards in the box as well as a full-sized SD card adapter.
An application called QuickOffice allows you to create, edit, and save basic Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents. This is a basic set where you can change fonts, colors and text alignment, but not much else.
A convenient feature of the X700 is the built-in flash near the camera. In addition to night light, you can also switch the light and use it as a torch through the Tools menu. Other tools include a calculator, notepad, voice recorder, to-do list, and a full-featured unit converter – currency, time, length, temperature, power, and speed.
The games include an exciting MicroGolf and a game called Balloon-Headed Boy, which, to our disappointment, with such a bizarre name, will not open on our review model.
The CD includes Panasonic’s PC Suite software that allows you to back up and restore your X700’s data, including ringing tones, videos, images, programs, and settings. Files can also be transferred wirelessly via Bluetooth, infrared and MMS or via the supplied USB cable directly to the PC. The X700 can synchronize contacts and calendar information with Microsoft and Lotus applications and upload photos taken with the camera.
Even though the X700 only has a VGA (640 x 480 pixels), we are impressed with the quality of the images and the flash capabilities.
If we blamed the X700, it would be a relatively slow menu. Perhaps with a normal processor, we found that the phone tried to keep up with our navigation – pausing for a couple of seconds when we went to and from work, and it took 30 seconds to open the game.
We found 20 ringing tones on the X700 that can be set as ringtones or message alerts. Impressive is not the assortment of simple tones that are commonly found on mid-range mobile phones, but the interesting 40-chord polyphonic tones. They are more likely to appeal to the younger generation – or perhaps the older traveling crowd – with titles such as clubs, rooftop parties, and tequila latacinas.
Battery life is about average for a dual-screen phone and a display as bright as the X700. We averaged about 2-3 days of regular use between charges.
One final (light-hearted) warning: beware when the miniSD can fire when you remove it. We like the fact that this card can be replaced by a hot capability (ie you can remove it from the socket next to the external antenna while the phone is on), but any small projectile that can fly out of the phone with enough speed to send it to two meters. through CNET.com.au can potentially cause inconvenient damage. This gives a whole new meaning to flash memory.