Sony Ericsson P990i
My brother, after months of searching through the different phones in the market, finally settled on the SE P990i. i was excited. for the first time i was going to use a smart phone. and it had a touch screen. great! so it was with great expectations that i held the phone in my hands, stupidly staring at it for a few minutes. it ... looked good. very good actually. stylish, albeit a little bulky. yes! bulky is the word. with phones beginning to get slimmer and lighter, the p990i felt surprisingly heave.
i finally recovered from the initial shock of holding a smart phone, and gathered enough courage to press a few keys. "the menu," i thought, "i will press the menu button!" and so i entered the menu. it took more time than i expected, strangely. i had expected the phone to be super-fast. but i thought no more of it as i browsed the various functions, but i slowly begin to realise an inherent flaw. it was slow. Very slow. and slow phones frustrate me. a slow smart phone? what is the world coming to?
I first went to the media player. first i tried out its speakers, then put on the earphones. the sound quality was great in both. in fact, the earphones are awesome! i liked the sound even better than what i had heard on an ipod. never before had i heard such divine music! so i sat listening to the music for the better part of an hour, until i realised how fast the battery was getting drained. nothing against the phone though. the phone has a great battery-life. better than most others in its time. getting back to the media player, what really frustrated me was the lack of dedicated volume buttons. this was really a huge problem. i mean, there was such a great media player, and no dedicated volume buttons? downright silly!
i then moved on to the camera. it sounded good on paper. 2 MP with auto focus. and it is really good! you can take great pictures and videos with this phone. so i guess you can now leave behind you camera when you go on your next vacation.
the phone poses a problem for gamers, though. with the flip closed, the screen resolution is a strange one. and only multi-screen games will work on it, which are very few. if you are going to buy a p990, forget gaming. this phone isn't meant for such trivial stuff!
i opened the flip, and viola! the phone now had a touch-screen! but nothing to write home about though. its pretty basic, and not something you might do just for the sake of it. its practical, yes, but no fun at all.
but opening the flip gives you more options than you might believe. you can now watch videos, work on your word documents, or even view pdf files. writing text becomes much easier as you can now use the QWERTY keypad, the handwriting recognition software, or even a virtual keyboard. a lot of options i would say!
internet browsing is also a good experience. of course, it is nothing you wouldn't expect on a smartphone.
so, this phone has its pros and cons, neither out-weighing the other. it all comes down to what you really want in a phone. if you want to listen to great music while you work on your word documents, this is the phone for you. if you want to go wild and play a few games during a boring office meeting, forget it!
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Sony Ericsson P990i
***An introduction which has nothing to do with the P990i - If you JUST want to know the specifications of the phone, then I suggest you scroll down my review!*** Back in 1997 my friends started getting pagers, and shortly afterwards mobile phones. I wasn't having any of it. "How childish!" I used to exclaim as we ... sat in the pub and they compared ringtones. "I'm never going to get a mobile phone. I hate phones anyway. I don't see what all the fuss is about!"
I do hate phones, speaking on them in particular. I always have, it's something I've inherited from my father - luckily unlike my father I realise that when on the phone to Australia one is not required to speak 10 times louder. But that's another story, and I am pleased to say that my phone phobia is getting better due to being forced to use it at work.
I arrived at University in 1999 and was one of the few people not to have them it seemed (in fact it was probably about ¼ of people who didn't). I took advantage of using Big John's Orange Everyday 50 contract phone to call my mum and friends, after 3 weeks into Uni when I managed to destroy my room phone card, and my friend Pete's, and as a result could only take incoming calls. The idea of having a mobile phone did start to appeal a bit more.
I met hubby in January 2000, and was he also on Orange EveryDay 50. He had a Nokia 6110. In the summer when we were apart it was decided that I should get a phone and also be on EveryDay 50, therefore saving my parents' phone bill! I also got a Nokia 6110, and it was great - I bought a Purple Ronnie cover for it, and a little chair for it to sit in. It was such a durable phone - on several occasions I threw it against the wall in a drunken rage - I did crack the screen once, but the phone still worked! When I renewed my contract the following year I got a Nokia 3210, slightly smaller (less of a brick), a few more features, but much the same, and kept this for more than a year. I fancied a bit of a change at the beginning of 2003 and got a Sagem MY G5 - I had been taken in by the games feature, but sadly the phone was awful, and the novelty wore off after a month.
In the summer of 2004, I finally got round to getting a decent phone, and was glad to get rid of the Sagem. I decided to get a Sony Ericsson K700i - for once I had a flashy phone - camera, MP3 player (so I could have a real song ringtone!) I had so much fun taking little videos of my office, and random videos of the train station - the excitement!
***Now - why did I get the P990i?***
Anyway, in 2007 it was time to move on. I looked on the Orange website, and decided that I wanted a Sony Ericsson P990i (I had seen it in a shop when it first came out in 2005, and loved the look of it - but VERY expensive back then). I loved the idea of having a QWERTY keyboard (please note, this is the way that standard keyboards in the UK are set up), and being able to use it as a PDA. The keyboard can be seen (and used) when the flap with numbers on it is opened.
I spend the best part of two hours a day on a train, and quite fancied the option of being able to do computer stuff on it. I seem to spend a lot of time writing short documents by hand, and then having to type them up for my charity work. So I felt that rather than having a PDA and a mobile phone I might as well get something which combines them both.
I spoke to Orange Customer Services who told me I couldn't have that phone, as at the time I was still on Orange EveryDay 50, and was not paying enough to get the P990i as an upgrade. I told them that I wanted to change tariff anyway (I seem to send a lot of texts, and make a lot of short calls at peak times), but they still said I couldn't have it. I told them that in that case I would like my code, to cancel my contract and take my phone number with me to another network (after 7 years I do not want to change number). After the threat of them losing me, they were happy to accommodate - hubby had said it would work! I decided to move onto one of the Dolphin packages, for £25 a month, and paying £19.99 for the phone which I thought was reasonable.
I got my phone on 25th April 2007, and wrote this part of the review as I got to grips with it.
***Wednesday 25th April 4:30pm***
My phone arrived at 3pm. It was very exciting as I opened the box and took out my new toy and proudly showed my colleagues (who said that the keyboard was too small for them to see at their ages). But then I realised that I haven't got a clue what to do next, and had to wait until I got home!
~~~What's in the box? ~~~
* The phone
* Charger and docking cradle - which glows green when it's on!
* Instructions and various other bits of paper
* Screwdriver - yes, I'm not lying! The screwdriver is for if you decide to move the flap from the phone. There is also a cover for the casing if you do remove the flap. If you remove the flap you will be left with just the QWERTY keyboard. It is really a matter of preference as to whether you want to keep the flap or not as it makes no difference to what the phone can do.
* Headphones - for use as hands-free and radio etc
* Memory card - 64MB
* CD for computer
* Spare stylus
***The next few days***
As soon as I got home hubby couldn't wait to get his hands on MY phone, moaning "That's not fair, you've got a better phone than me!" I left him to play while I spent 25 minutes trying to get through to Orange to register my upgrade. When I did finally get through it was a foreign girl - very nice and polite, but VERY difficult to understand. She seemed to want to discuss how my day had been - I informed her that I really just wanted to register my phone!
Meanwhile hubby was installing the software which came with it, setting the date, and otherwise playing - finally I made him switch it off. I don't really understand SIMs and things, but two hours later I turned the phone on and two text messages were there as expected - I restarted the phone, and then I was ready to go. First things first, I phoned hubby on the landline, to check - and it worked!
Hubby transferred my contacts across from the computer. Then with those which weren't on the computer I used BlueTooth to transfer them across from my old phone (you see, everything was stored on the phone rather than the SIM) along with any old photos, songs and sounds that I wanted to keep. Then I decided to go onto eBay to order a case....I opted for a cheap silicon pink case, to give it some degree of protection for when I throw it at the wall.
After this I went to bed, leaving my phone on charge. Rather than trying to figure out alarms and things I decided to let my K700i wake me up this morning as usual - with a moose call.
The next morning was my first real chance to play, as I sat on the train. I tidied up the contacts. At one point the phone shut down, which panicked me a bit. But then it restarted saying that it had switched off to improve performance.
Then I had a look at the camera. I managed to take a video of my bag and finger, and a still picture of a blurred hedge, so think I need to read the instructions. I then tried to type a document. The keyboard is tiny, but surprisingly easy to type on - I finally worked out how to do punctuation marks (by pressing ALT).
Over the weekend I had a bit of a play with the phone - testing out the games, radio, ringtones, sending messages, and taking some half decent photos - the usual really!
However, so as not to miss anything out, I think that the best way to explain just what this phone can do is to list the specifications, and then elaborate where needed and where I can give an opinion. Where I say nothing, it is either because nothing needs saying, or because it has gone straight over my head!
Of course everyone wants phones that do different things - traditionally phones were just for calling people, but times have changed. If you do just want a phone to make a call, then this is not the one for you! This phone is really aimed towards a business market, and since I am not in business I am certain that I will not be using it to its full potential. So, I will talk about my views on it, give the factual info about what there is, and leave you to decide whether or not this phone would meet your needs! I feel that a phone review really does need to list what it can do - however since you can find this information out from the Sony Ericsson website, I am not just listing specifications - I am giving my personal experience with them!
~~~Specifications and Features!~~~
-262k TFT Colour Screen (240 x 320 Pixels) - One of the first things you notice about this phone is the size of the screen. It is big, and it is clear, and then when you open up the flap it's even bigger!
-Touch Screen - I was so excited when I found that the phone had a touch screen and stylus. Having got used to playing on a Nintendo DS, it's like home from home! Of course you can use your finger instead, but this results in finger prints all over the screen, so it needs cleaning regularly!
- 2 Megapixel Camera - it's not the best camera phone on the market, but apparently this is a reasonably good camera for a smartphone, and I like the fact that it has a lens cover (stops it getting scratched). Warning, don't leave it open or the battery will soon run down!
-2.5 x Digital Zoom.
- Photo Light - for when it's dark.
- Autofocus - useful if you haven't got a steady hand!
- Video Call - basically a phone call where you can see the other person. I haven't really got much need for video calls at the moment, but have read in reviews that the P990i is very good for clear video calls.
-Video Recording - my old phone had a video recorder, but the thing I first noticed about it on this phone is the length of films you can record - up to 25 minutes. Obviously this is going to depend upon how much memory you have. The picture and sound quality are in my opinion excellent for a phone camera.
- Video Streaming - this phone acts as a video player, so you can have news, and entertainment sent to your phone. This is perhaps something I might look into using in the future.
-Digital Camera Menu
- Document Readers - Using the Quick Office feature you can read and edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents.
- Handwriting Recognition - now as far as I can make out, this isn't exactly handwriting recognition as I would want it to be. It can recognise handwriting, but only if you learn to write letters the way the phone requires you to write them - instructions are in the manual. Basically it can work, but it will take some getting used to. Think I'll stick with the keyboard!
-Picture Editor - you can even edit your pictures on the phone!
-Picture Phonebook - phones of your friends in their contacts :o)
-Picture Wallpaper - there are some photos already on the phone, but of course you can take your own. One nice feature is that you can have a different wallpaper for when the flap is up and when the flap is down - as you might have guessed I have a moose!
-SVG Tiny 1.1
-Themes Display - there are several to choose from - mine at the moment is 'Circles' which has a mainly blue background.
-SMS (Text Messaging) - It's actually easier to send texts using the keyboard than it is with 'normal' phones. Since I send a fair few texts, this is good for me.
-MMS (Multimedia Messaging) - Pictures and sounds can also be sent as messages.
-EMS (Enhanced Messaging)
- MMS Video - videos can be sent
- Email - there's a built in e-mail service.
- Push Email - no idea what this is!
- SMS Long - longer text messages can be sent through this.
-Predictive Text - predicts what you are typing based on a dictionary and what you've typed in the past. Although I did find this a bit annoying at first, it does seem a lot better than on other phones, and I have worked out how to turn it off!
- Voice Mail
# Sound #
- Media Player - for playing music and videos
- FM Radio RDS - Apparently it supports 20 radio stations. When I first tried this out I found that I could only get Classic FM and Radio 4. However, while on the train to work (except between Workington and Maryport) I can also get Radio 1 and 2, and local radio stations. Since this is the only time I'm likely to use my phone as a radio this suits me ok.
- Music Tones (MP3/AAC) - apparently the music software on this phone comes from the Sony Walkman range, so you can do all the things you do on a walkman - make playlists etc. I think I'll probably stick to my Ipod though for listening to music.
- Ringtone Composer (MusicDJTM) - I had this on my old phone - it's a little programme where you make up ringtones. I'm sure that if you have the patience it could be fun.
- Polyphonic Ringtones - as usual, a selection of ringtones and message tones. Since I will use my own MP3 as a ringtone I haven't paid much attention to these!
- Voice Dialling - since I laugh every time hubby phones someone by saying their name into the phone, I probably won't be using this - stick to dialling the number me!
- Embedded JavaTM Games - the phone comes with 2 games, a golf game, and a Tetris-like game called Quadrapop which I used to be addicted to.
- Downloadable JavaTM Games - if you wish you can download more games for your phone. I wouldn't have thought I'm likely to do this.
-Calendar - most phones have a calendar, useful for remembering birthdays - this is linked in with the Contacts. Events can be synchronised with Outlook if desired.
-Contacts - it's easy to find and contact your Contacts with this phone.
- Alarm Clock - I need to wake up to the sound of my moose call (hubby doesn't like it so much though!")
- Business Card Exchange - there is a business card scanner feature. Basically you take a photo of a business card and it adds all the information to your contacts (if you wish). It works pretty well actually!
- Conference Calls
- Phone Book
- Speaker Phone
- File Manager
- Stopwatch - it's a stopwatch - most phones seem to have them.
- Tasks - a useful little feature, to stop me forgetting everything I need to do!
- Timer - er....for timing!
- Notes - you can also doodle on this screen with the stylus!
- SymbianTM OS - to quote from Sony, this is "an open operating system for mobile devices that enables you to download new applications to your phone". This will no doubt mean something to those of you with an interest in technology!
- Flight Mode - apparently this means that radio signals are inactivated, which means that some functions can be used in planes and hospitals.
- QWERTY Keypad - I've already mentioned this, and how much I love it!
- BluetoothTM - Means that you can communicate with other phones up to 10 metres away. This was useful for transferring the stuff across from my old phone, and is great when with friends. However, please remember that Bluetooth should never be left turned on - otherwise people can make calls from your phone to premium rates without you even knowing - don't ask me how, but I know they can!
- Infra Red
- USB Support
- WLAN 802.11b
- Tri Band Technology (GSM 900, 1800 & 1900) - according to some this is a downfall of the phone, since it could be quad band - but it means nothing to me for what I want it for!
-WAP 2.0 XHTML - Since my new contract included 2 months free browsing, I used the Internet a fair bit. It is quick to load up, and it works well on visiting sites such as Ciao. As far as phones go, this is a good phone to use for accessing the Internet, due to the size of the screen! But in the real world I don't want to pay to use the Internet when it costs nothing from the computer!
#Memory & Talk Time#
- 80 Mbytes Memory Plus Memory DuoTM & PRO DuoTM - basically there's 16MB on the phone, and 64MB on the card. I have since bought a 2 GB memory card for it.
- 9 Hours Talk Time - since I don't make many long calls, it would be difficult for me to verify this.
- 400 Hours Standby - this is more than my old phone.
I have read that with 'normal' use the phone will need charging every 3 days - from personal experience this seems about right - my phone battery usually lasts about 4/5 days (unless using it to take lots of pictures), but I don't use it a great deal.
A couple of times it said that there was plenty of battery left when I went out overnight. However, the next morning it had turned itself off, saying that the 'Mains battery needs replacing'. It does seem therefore that there isn't much warning before the battery runs out - however, with regular charging this can be avoided (and remember to take your charger with you on when you're away).
#Weight & Size#
- 150 g - to put it into perspective my old phone was 93g, so it's a bit heavier than your average phone. But I'm sure it's a hell of a lot lighter than the bricks of the early 1990s!
-114 x 57 x 25 mm - yes, it's bigger than most phones these days (to compare again, my old phone was 99 x 44 x 20mm), but that is because it is a PDA, and it has a huge screen! Since my phone generally lives in my bag the size isn't really an issue.
I think the advantages do pretty much speak for themselves, just in listing what the phone can do. There are a few minor niggles, but then nothing is ever going to be perfect is it?
Mary's little niggles:
* Not being able to do everything unless the flap is open. Of course you can remove the flap, so this isn't really much of a niggle. It's just something which takes a while to get used to!
*Screen gets dirty, especially if using finger.
*Sometimes it can be a bit slow, and the screen can freeze. But that is probably because it has so much going on in its little memory (like mine really!) There are a few bugs, but nothing like other reviews on the P990i have made out.
*It can all get a bit confusing for the likes of me. But I like a challenge!
*Takes a bit of a while to boot up, but then there's a lot to boot up!
*Some of the icons are a bit small if you are using your finger with the touchscreen.
*Sometimes I accidentally close applications without meaning to.
*It is hard to find your way around at times - for instance finding the right bit within the control panel to change the wallpaper was hard at first. But if I am going to get a phone with lots of features, then quite honestly, what do I expect?!
I am extremely happy with my P990i. It does everything I was expecting it to do, and more! Although it is big, I think it gives the feel of being sturdy and durable (even more so with the pink silicon case on it), and looks nice. I have never liked tiny phones anyway, so happy to move back to something bigger.
My phone cost me an 18 month contract at £25 a month plus £19.99. So in real terms it has cost me £469.99 including my calls and texts. However, since I first wrote this review prices have come down a lot, so it's worth having a look around!
I'm sure that some people reading this will think that a phone like this has been totally wasted on a person like me, but I don't care - it's my phone and I love it! I have had the phone now for nearly a year, and have been very happy with it, although I have to say that the novelty has worn off a bit!
If you need to know anything else, just give me a call on 077.....oh come on I'm not giving you my number, I did tell you I hate phone calls!
Or you can visit - www.sonyericsson.com
This is a slightly edited version of a review published on Ciao.
Read the complete review
Sony Ericsson P990i
UPDATED after installing and using the latest firmware for about 3 months.... So you want to know about the P990i... I had a P900 for 2.5 years before I got my hands onto the P990. Mind you, since the P990 was so delayed I advised my brother to buy an iMate JasJam. I then bought the P990i. Here's the ... good, the bad and the ugly:
Music --> Not too loud, but sounds great with the headphones and easily managed. I love the bass! I listen to the same MP3s on my IBM PC and the P990 definitely sounds better!
Camera --> 2MP maybe but I compared it to most non-SE phones and the camera on the P990i is better then all of them. Actually the colors and clarity are comparable to a proper digital camera. Auto focus is brilliant, macro is excellent and I tested the flash in complete darkness and it is good enough. Video is much better as well. There are two problems though: 1 - The auto focus does not work well when you zoom in for still photos. 2 - There is no autofocus for the video. I have to admit that the latest firmware fixed the autofocus for still shots problem
E-mail --> Brilliant. Easy to setup. Just go to the SE website and put the details in, you'll then get a message and your e-mail is setup. This is one of the best things about buying an SE phone, you know that the company is not just pumping out phones without any thought to service.
Calendar --> Brilliant. Have all my appointments and reminders there. Birthdays, etc. Set repeats. Very easy to use.
Alarms --> Three different alarms with multitude of settings. I have one setup for workdays and another just on Saturdays.
Clock --> I am in Australia and keeping track of UK timezone at the same time.
Messaging --> I love it. I set it up for two languages and the phone is brilliant at picking up which language I am using. Since its a PDA you can also store many more "personal words" then any other phone. You can use the full keyboard, the traditional numeric pad or the stylus...
The look --> I think it looks much better then any other PDA out there. Note that I don't count the Nokia N95 as a PDA phone as it does not have a full keyboard.
Touch screen --> Since the P900, SE has had the best hand writing recognition and this continues.
The keyboard --> Easy to use. I can type reasonably fast on it and without many mistakes.
Games --> Don't know about anyone else, but Vijay Singh Golf is almost like playing it on a PC. Mind you the performance of this game is so good I wonder why the other Apps like Quick Office run so slow. Maybe gameloft should start writing applications for PDAs!
Radio --> Easy to use and easy to setup. Love it. Its got RDS as well. You must have the head phones attached to use it though as this acts as the antenna.
Business Card Scanner --> Pretty good. Depends on the card design but is correct about 85% of the time. Saves me quite a bit of time.
Storage --> You can use up to 4GB MS Duo Pro. I have a 2GB version in there at the moment and that is plenty.
Connections --> Bluetooth, InfraRed and Wireless LAN all easily setup and easily used.
Video --> You can play mp4 movies only. avi and other Microsoft formats don't work.
Quick Office --> Greatly improved with the latest firmware. Previously it was slow enough to render it useless, however it is now a useful application.
The bad and the ugly:
3G --> I am 100% convinced there is a design fault on the 3G circuitry of this phone. If you turn off the 3G the battery lasts about 3 days. If you turn on the 3G, then the battery lasts about 8 hours whether or not you use the 3G features. So it looks like there is a current leak somewhere. So if you're after 3G functionality, don't buy the P990i. The new battery (BST-40, currently scheduled for July) might improve life a bit, but I am sure it won't last more then 10 hours anyway.
Update: Maybe I am too harsh on SE, my manager had the Nokia N95 for two weeks and reports that the battery only lasted 5 hours with 3G on.
The camera --> Video doesn't have autofocus.
Sound recording --> Great for normal use, but I try to record the phone conversation I get an error message. So, not impressed.
Restarts --> The phone shuts itself down and restarts randomly to "improve performance". Nice, but there is no warning that it is about to do this or that it has done it. E.g. if you left the phone on your desk and it restarted then you will not know about it till the next time you pick it up. After the restart it waits for you to choose "Phone or Flight Mode". I think SE could easily set this so that the phone restarts on whichever mode it was in before the phone decided to turn itself off.
Update: The phone has not restarted once after I upgraded to the latest firmware. It is now much more stable then it ever was.
Overall, am I glad I bought this phone? Yes
Is it much better then my P900? It is now with the latest firmware upgrade. The main reason I bought this phone was for the 3G and the Quick Office and the 3G is pretty disappointing due to attery life.
Is it better then my brohter's iMate? Not sure. Personally I like the fact that the P990 looks better, definitely has a much better camera and the numeric keypad is very handy. However, his phone is much faster, the battery lasts longer and has other extra features (although he doesn't use them).
Could I use anything else? Not really. I gave up on Nokia's about 5 years ago and not planning to go back. The convenience of a PDA is too great to miss.
I could not have waited for a P1 myself. And to be honest I don't think it really compares. The P1 seems more like an upgraded M600. I heard rumors of a P3 and I am not replacing my P990 until that comes out/
There's my two cents worth, hope it helps you guys make a decision.
BTW if any of you are from Australia, the phone is not available here at the moment. But I bought one from the UK and am using it on a Vodafone plan. No network problems whatsoever. I have also been told that although not publicly announced, the phone has been approved for use on the Vodafone network.
For those that are on Telstra, don't hold your breath. I was told at the Telstra Shop that Telstra has decided they won't be supporting it. This doesn't mean that it won't work on Telstra network, it just means that it is not supported.
Read the complete review
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