The “GSM 1900” band, used exclusively in North American markets, could have been considered as “small” when compared to the overall GSM market outside Canada and the US. Other mobile systems (TDMA, etc) took much of the market share as well, since they have been around for quite some time.
Sony Ericsson’s T200 model is probably one of the very first tri-band phones to be available to the market-entry level segment. It’s no surprise that Sony Ericsson is, again, first to market with something that the overall marketplace has yet to see. What the T200 has to offer is nothing too fancy - but something that’s affordable and usable in nearly all corners of the world.
The T200 is Sony Ericsson’s second official product following the release of the T68i earlier in the year. This time round, it seems that Sony Ericsson has gotten the branding issues right - no more “Sony Ericsson stickers on phone and battery, but Ericsson accessory leaflets in the box.”
Some neat features for this market-entry phone model include tri-band compatibility, allowing its user to roam seamlessly between all three major GSM networks throughout the world, and the ability to establish high-speed data connections via GPRS. The T200 has the ability of providing a GPRS connection to the in-built WAP browser, or to an external PC device via data cable (sold as an accessory).
Other nifty features include simple PIM functions (internal phone book, calendar, calculator, world time), EMS/SMS messaging with chat, a set of games, melody composer, and background pictures. A MCA-10 CommuniCam can also be attached onto the T200 to take snaps whenever you want. These pictures can be used for the built-in picture phonebook, saved on a web album, or sent off via email as an attachment.
There are two different colour variants for the T200 - Ice Blue and Ebony Black. Our review unit was the “Ice Blue” unit, being a more conservative colour when compared to the glossy black colour of the “Ebony Black” model. Note that the blue colour on the T200 is not the same as the one found on the T68i - which is slightly darker, but shares the same metallic levels in the paint.
At 85 grams, the T200 felt very light but not as solid as the T68i. This is probably because the T200 uses an internal battery, and the housing cover makes the back of the phone kind of hollow. The material used for the white areas of the phone is similar to those on the T68i though.
The T200’s display comes only with a blue backlight colour, which is supposed to contrast with the greyscale LCD. It does take the eyes some getting use to since the ambience of the backlights isn’t all that bright (when compared to the ones found on the 8250). Another thing I noticed was the keypad backlighting remained the standard green colour.
User Interface (UI)
Nothing’s changed here. The T200 uses a similar user interface found on other models, including the Ericsson R600 and T65. The 4-way directional key can be used to navigate in and out of sub-menus, assisted by the YES/NO buttons to confirm and cancel selections. Items not selectable from the menu list have the ability of “greying out” thanks to the LCD’s greyscale ability.
Making and receiving calls
As with most Ericsson phones currently on the market, trying to call a number from the SIM card’s phonebook require extra steps - which kinda bugs me when other people borrow my T200 and having to make a call from their SIM cards. I cannot see why both phonebooks can’t share the same index list, or why there isn’t an option to choose the particular phone memory to use.
Call quality was comparable with that of the T68i - an audible earpiece with sounds coming through nice and crisp.
The T200 comes with T9 predictive text input, allowing for messages to be typed up quickly thanks to its word-matching algorithm. Concatenated (or long) messages are possible with the T200, and the option to use the chat option makes SMS conversations a lot less hectic! EMS messaging is also supported on the T200 - allowing the insertion of pictures, animations and sounds in addition to the basic text.
A spaced-out keypad design is adopted for the T200, with buttons being raised some distance from the actual phone shell. This makes differentiating the different buttons on the keypad much easier than having them all next to one another.
The T200 yielded around 3-4 days’ worth of standby time, and approximately 3 hours of talking time on an average-based usage. As per usual, the times printed on the specifications aren’t all that realistic, which are common for Ericsson and Sony Ericsson handsets that iMobile has come to review so far.