Available on certain other recent Sony Ericssons, you currently need a Wi-Fi rather than a mobile network connection to stream content, whether live broadcasts or archived material. It's a welcome extra online service to have at your fingertips; easy and quick to operate, it plays surprisingly well whether you're listening to Radio 1 or viewing EastEnders on the full screen.
You can tune into radio stations in a more traditional way, using the onboard FM radio function. This is another no-fuss apps, and can be played through the speaker as well as earphones. TrackID, another excellent piece of standard Sony Ericsson music software, can be used to identify songs you hear on the radio or any music you hear around you.
The camera on the W705 takes a back seat to the music player, in typical Walkman phone fashion. It has a similar, if less sophisticated, user interface as its Cyber-shot brethren, and automatically switches to landscape camera mode, but the 3.2-megapixel camera here lacks the all-round shooting ability of Sony Ericsson's photo-centric handsets.
It has a fixed focus lens rather than using an autofocus system, and results are average for this sort of shooter. Image detail is limited, and although shots can look reasonable in good lighting conditions, images can look soft with lower light. In darker environments, there's plenty of grain apparent, and the LED flash has limited effect over more than a short distance.
Standard settings adjustments are included, plus image tweaking options. Uploading images and video online is also possible, with Sony Ericsson supplementing its standard Blogger upload option with others for MySpace and Picasa, plus a further option to tap in settings for any other services you prefer.
While video shooting quality is run-of-the-mill QVGA at 15fps, you can show off your clips via YouTube using a pre-loaded app. You can also browse the site, view content and manage your online account from the phone.
Shots can be geo-tagged with metadata so you can record where images were taken. Unfortunately there's no GPS receiver on this device, so positional info is approximate using cellsite triangulation. You can view the rough position where shots were taken on the phone's Google Maps application, which can deliver updated maps and satellite views over the air. Location data can also be viewed on other suitable applications online or on a PC.
Location and online apps
Even without GPS, Google Maps can be a useful app to have in your phone app armoury, enabling you to find your way around in unfamiliar surroundings, search for locations, businesses and services, and get routes planned over the air. It ain't Sat Nav, but it's still handy. Incidentally, Sony Ericsson's otherwise similarly specified Vodafone-exclusive W715 does have GPS inside, if this is something you're set on.
The online activity includes a typical NetFront browser that's speedy and serviceable to use. There are plenty of other useful, fun and frivolous features under the W705's bonnet, from a Walk Mate motion-activated pedometer for tracking your daily steps and an AccuWeather.com weather updater to a Music Quiz based on your tracks and an odd Rock Bobblehead motion controlled animation.
Among the five games included are motion-activated bowling and 3D driving games. The usual solid toolbox of organiser apps and functions are present and correct too, including calendar, calculator, tasks and notes, world clocks, timer, stopwatch, voice recorder, and code memo apps.
Email, IM and other phone messaging facilities are available, while Sony Ericsson has implemented a Conversations facility to view threads of messages from your phonebook contacts.
Battery performance is adequate, with the W705 delivering over two days of action with normal usage levels and Wi-Fi active. Sony Ericsson quotes best-case figures of up to 4 hours talktime on 3G or 10 hours in GSM coverage, or 350 hours standby for 3G and 400 hours on GSM networks. Calling quality was first rate in a variety of environments, and overall we found the phone responsive and reliable.