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(Pocket-lint) - While at CeBIT pocket-lint was given early access to the new camera mobile phone from Sony Ericsson that launches this Christmas - the S700. Although the unit was a pre-production model there was enough functionality for us to see to give you our first impressions.

On the surface the phone reminds you of a compact camera - something that it clearly sets out to do from the beginning. This is helped by the unit’s overall styling. The front offers a 1.3 mega pixel digital camera complete with lens cover. The back features a large 2.3” 262K TFT screen for viewing your images when shooting or using playback and the interface has been designed to resemble that of Sony Digital Cameras. In addition to the large screen, there are four buttons to control the shooting mode and zoom options - the camera features an 8x digital zoom. Pictures are taken using the shoot button on the top and again this only makes you feel like you are handling a camera even more than you perhaps are.

Of course this isn’t primarily a camera and switching the to the mobile phone mode is as simple as swivelling the screen around 180 degrees. In doing so you reveal standardised keypad complete with the new Sony Ericsson back button. Additionally to activate the phone mode and this again offers the standardised Sony Ericsson menu system.

The phone features Bluetooth and tri-band functionality as well as a MemoryStick Duo slot for transferring files to and from the phone, although its obvious Sony Ericsson are anticipating users to use the MemoryStick Duo for downloading pictures they want to keep long enough to transfer elsewhere.

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First Impressions

Sony Ericsson is really pulling out all the stops to make sure people know that this phone offers picture capabilities. The styling makes you believe that it could easily be a compact camera rather than a phone. For the brief moment we held the unit it seemed comfortable and well sized not only in the palm of our hand, but in using it as a phone. While the verdict is not completed concluded from our first impressions we have high hopes that this will be a Hot Product at the end of the year.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 23 March 2004.