When you shut the clam the front screen shows what is playing and combined use of the camera shortcut button on the right edge of the casing and the volume rocker on the left edge allows you to pause and resume playback and skip around through tracks.
Rather sadly, the headphone slot is a 2.5mm one, and the only way to use headphones with a 3.5mm jack is to buy a converter. This is an ungainly option for such a small handset, and won’t work well at all if you intend to carry the Vodafone 710 in a pocket. Bad move, Vodafone.
The main camera is a bit of a disappointment too. It shoots stills at a maximum resolution of 1.3 megapixels which puts this phone somewhat behind in the camera stakes. There seems to be a tendency to overexpose if the handset is left to decide how to handle shots itself. The coloured dish, my standard reference photo, taken indoors with the room lights on was a little washed out. The cat photo was taken outside on a gloomy winter day and his white fur is far too brilliant.
There is a notable lag between depressing the shutter button and the shutter noise coming from the phone. Shots appear to be taken when the button is pressed making the shutter sound an incidental, unnecessary and somewhat off-putting extra. I turned the shutter sound off pretty early on during testing.
The handset’s front screen does not act as a self portrait viewfinder for the camera when the clam is closed. Instead, when you hold down the camera shortcut button with the phone closed the built-in voice recorder starts running. Only when the clam is opened does the side button activate the camera, and then when you close the clam, the camera shuts down.
Your option for self portraits is to open the clam and use the camera that is primarily designed for video calling, which sits under the main screen. However, its resolution is limited to a maximum of 640 x 480 pixels.
Other features include email support, alarms, calendar, calculator, unit and currency conversion, task manager, timer and a stopwatch. Battery life proved to be a bit disappointing with continuous music playback from a full charge running a shade under five hours.
The hardware design of the Vodafone 710 is rather appealing, the phone sits well in the hand and pocket when closed, and it is not too unwieldy when opened up.
In general, though, I’d have to characterise this phone as average. Then again, for £72 and a Pay As You Talk tariff you shouldn’t really be expecting something at the very leading edge.
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