Distance travelled is also approximate, as it relies on the pedometer. You can calibrate this by wearing the phone and walking (or running) a known distance and then telling the phone how far you’ve gone. It only saves one set of information so if your stride length is different when running and walking you’ll have to choose which to opt for, and it makes no allowances for anyone who runs, as I do almost all the time, off road and so has a variable stride pattern depending on whether they are on bumpy ground, going up or down hill etc.
The key point about all this is that the handset is not going to deliver an accurate measure of distance travelled. In Sony Ericsson’s defence the manual makes it clear that the Fitness applications deliver approximate information, so you shouldn’t expect perfection.
You can make various settings for information display – miles versus kilometres, distance units per hour or minutes per distance unit, and kilocalories or kilojoules burned. You can set max and min speeds for running and get alerts if you go outside these.
For the Walking and Running software to work you have to wear the phone and the software only records data when the phone is closed. For Walking, the step counter resets itself automatically at midnight and saves each day’s results for viewing later.
Sony Ericsson provides a belt clip and you can use this together with an adjustable armband to wear the phone on your upper arm. I prefer the latter as belt-clips never fit securely to lycra running shorts. The phone fits into its clip very solidly and it would take a great deal for it to be jolted out and fall to the ground.
There is a large front display – a 128 x 128 pixel greyscale STN screen. Of course the W710i plays music, and this screen provides plenty of detail about what is playing at any given time.
To its left and right are controls for your tunes. You can pause and resume playback and skip within and between tracks using them. These large, rubbery and tactile buttons are easy to find when the W710i is in your pocket. They are also easy to find when you are exercising, and in this context can be used to start a new lap, pause and resume measuring. When you are exercising, the front screen provides some feedback on progress – distance travelled, speed and so on.