Review by Siddharth Raja on Thursday January 15, 2004.
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Sony Ericsson T630Introduction
Since it was launched early last year, the Sony Ericsson T610/T616 has been a best-seller around the world, although it did have its flaws. The screen was poor in sunlight, and reception was not up to par. Almost 9 months later we have the T630 ? a new improved version of the T610 which promises to correct its flaws. Well, you all know it has a TFT screen, but what else has changed? Read on?
The T630 is available in 2 colors, white and black, although black will only be available in certain territories. My review unit was white and the first impression I had of it was that it looked as if it was designed by Apple. The translucent keys and sleek design give it a cool retro look which cannot be conveyed by photographs alone. Sony Ericsson has designed the back of the T630 to look like a camera when you hold it to the side. They have also added little touches that really enhance the look of the T630 ? things like having a silver border around the display, or printing the Sony Ericsson logo on the back so that the "camera" look is complete.
As with the T610, the build quality on the T630 is excellent. There were no squeaks, and the phone felt solid. For those of you had had a T610, one of the annoying aspects with it was that it would get fingerprint marks on it very quickly and would start looking dirty. This is not the case with the T630 which uses the same white plastic all around the phone.
The T630 measures 102mm x 43mm x 17mm, making it slightly smaller than the T610. In reality, there is no perceptible difference.
I'm not a big fan of keypads where there is not enough (or no) spacing between the keys. I have relatively large fingers so using them becomes a chore. That said, I had no problems using the keypad on the T630. This is because the keys are slightly arched up towards the middle and you only touch this little arched part when using the keys. The keys are backlit with white LED's and the whole effect looks very nice at night.
The T630 uses the same joystick as the T610, which is fine by me ? I prefer a joystick over a D-Pad any day. Finally, we have the camera and volume buttons on the left side of the phone, and the internet button on the right side. The IR port is located at the top, and the wired connectors (for handsfree and charging) at the bottom.
User Interface and Display
First up, we have the brand new 65K color TFT display that has been upgraded from the T610's STN display ? and what an upgrade it is. This new display is more vivid and much brighter than the one found in the T610. The T630's display can now be seen in sunlight or under bright light, and even the screen saver clock is a lot easier to read.
I had the chance to compare the quality of the Z600's TFD screen, and the Samsung E700's TFT screen with the one in the T630. Compared with the Z600, the T630's screen gives more color detail and blends the colors better. It's also slightly brighter. Side by side, the Z600's screen is noticeably larger, but also not as sharp. This could be because the pixels on the Z600 are larger than those on the T630, creating a sharper image on the T630. Samsung is known to be a leader in mobile phone displays and the E700 did not disappoint. I found the E700's screen to be better than the T630's because it was brighter and more vivid. Still, most users will be more than happy with the T630's display, and it's a major improvement with the one found in the T610.
The user interface in the T630 is very similar to the one found in the T610 and Z600 phones, but it does have a few slight changes. The "My Shortcuts" icon has been replaced with the icon for the "My Friends" feature, which I'll go into later. Also, slight changes have been made to the menu structure to make things a little more intuitive. I found the T630 to be slightly quicker than a T610 when moving through the menus. It's still not as fast as some Nokia phones, but the speed increase is a nice change.