For all those people who have been waiting for Sony Ericsson’s first ‘official’ phone, then the good news is that it is now here. The T68i comes with a major facelift (as per the original Ericsson T68) and is packed with some added extras and features. If you’ve found the T68 to be one of the better Ericsson phones so far, you will not be disappointed with that the T68i has to offer.
But for those who were expecting something different (since the badge now says “Sony Ericsson”), you won’t find it in the T68i for sure. At the end of the day, the T68i is a slight derivative of the T68 only. To see something through the two companies’ joint efforts would require a bit more time - but keep watching this space, because I’m also waiting for that day! :)
Apart from the new “Sony Ericsson” brand appearance, the T68i has been given a few more additional features over its predecessor. These include the ability to compose, send and receive MMS messages, being able to view, send and save pictures taken by the Communicam device on the 256-colour LCD screen, a newer version of WAP, picture phonebook option, and 2 more games (taking the total to 9 altogether). Also, I find the T68i is nicer to hold in the hand than the previous model - even though both phones have identical dimensions.
For those who’ve felt the frustration in owning an Ericsson phone because it had only either English or Chinese predictive input (for example, different T68 models and T39m/T39mc), you will be happy to know that the T68i can support all of these two together on the one handset.
The first thing I found most appealing about this phone was the new look. While the T68i has retained most of the physical characteristics from its predecessor, Sony Ericsson has been able to give this phone a renewed genre thanks to the softer colour combinations used (that is, soft blue and white colours with metallic base) and minor design changes made to the phone’s keypad area.
As for the ‘feel’ side of things, this is not very much different to that of the original T68. When you have used the phone for some time, you will start to get accustomed with both the keypad and the joystick - which I found to be not-so-tactile and slightly over-sensitive respectively.
After using my T68i for over a fortnight, and going back to the T68, I noticed that they did some re-fitting of the menus - where some menu options and features either have received a new title or have moved to another section. Although this situation is relevant to a few of the overall menu options only, I found the new menu tree layout to be an improvement. Yes, for those T68 users and wanting to upgrade, you have been warned! :)
But at the end of the day, the many-levels of the T68i’s menus do become a bit confusing at times - especially when you’re trying to sieve the many options available to you. One good example of this is under the ‘profiles’ menu, where many more menus sit under this third-level one. Another is when you want to try and disable either screen saver or the background feature - where you wonder “where is the ‘off’ switch”, when it’s simply disabling the ‘activate’ option (makes sense now, but not before).
One problem still existent with the phone is the speed of the phone - especially when you try browsing its menus and also doing actions requiring some speed. Try either going through the menus quickly, or typing an SMS message at a faster pace with T9 enabled - you’ll know what I mean.
As for the phone’s joystick, when you have gotten use to its sensitivity, you’ll still have the menus to work out. Even I found the joystick on either the Panasonic GD75 or GD95 much easier to
Making and receiving calls
I found the different design curvatures near the earpiece of the T68i to have helped in the area of comfort for the ear. Before, I found that I needed to have the T68’s earpiece closer to my ear. It wasn’t because that the earpiece wasn’t loud enough - but just the design that made it so. The outward curvatures of the T68i’s earpiece made it an easier task for the phone to sit on a user’s ear - therefore, improving the actual phone conversation experience while not using a headset.
One of the things that I liked about the T68 and T68i phones, also, is the ability to either retain calls to be taken on the phone, or have it conversed out on the optional Bluetooth headset (purchased separately, of course). For example, if you wanted to answer with the phone, you would press the ‘YES’ button on the phone instead of pressing the ‘answer’ button on the headset, and vice-versa.
Call lists, whether it was last dialled, missed or received, can be accessed simply by pressing the ‘YES’ button from the main screen. The only thing you need to learn is what those little icons mean on the left-hand side of the number (pretty self-explanatory).
The T68i is the first phone to support four messaging standards - SMS, EMS, MMS and email. Most people would be able to use either SMS or EMS on today’s GSM networks. But MMS, the ability to attach images, animations, and sound clips to text messages, will take some time before it becomes something of a “hit” - as network providers have yet to introduce this service’s availability, and also the limited number of phone models that support MMS messaging at this time.
Concatenated messaging has been improved on the T68i - where the number of characters per long message is now 1530 characters long (equivalent to approximately 9 standard SMS messages).
Assuming that you have Bluetooth on ‘automatic’ mode (that is, not always on) and an average usage rate, you should be able to squeeze out around 3 days’ standby and 2-3 hours’ worth of talk time on the supplied battery. Keep in mind that having the Bluetooth feature on full-time will lower this level significantly.