Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
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Smart car or Goldwing motorcycle?
Sony Ericsson P800
Member Name: Skunkworks
Sony Ericsson P800
Date: 09/06/03, updated on 09/06/03 (1562 review reads)
Advantages: Actually does what it says on the tin, Cheaper than a PDA and phone combo, It is a good phone
Disadvantages: Ericsson legacy interface, Sony accessory fetishes, It is a below-average PDA
As a phone, it works. Sound quality is good, reception is good (better than quite a lot of Nokias). Battery life is good if you don't use BlueTooth for headset; if you do (and you should), it's a couple of days per charge. It's a little bulky but (and here's the punch line) if you use a headset, the brick bit lives in your case/pocket/dashboard. No problem.
As a PDA it's very average until you install and pay for some extra software (HandyDay should have been installed from scratch).
The P800 will crash sometimes, and worse still, a crash can keep the phone on and drain the battery until you hit the reset button. I've charged my phone ready for a big day, only to find a crash in the morning has drained the battery by midday. I now carry an extra charged battery though I like the sound of the SideWinder. [BTW, have heard that P800 crashability is nothing compared to MS SmartPhone, a platform as solid and stable as a blancmange on acid]
The camera is no better than the old fold-out 110 cameras of old (and should be considered as such by anyone trying to use it creatively - hang on, does anyone remember them?), but it is integrated well and I've used it a lot for email.
Overall, I am happy with it, the phone has delivered its value to me, and I can survive for a year or three with its features.
It's better than the MS SmartPhone, the Nokia 7650 and its other siblings, and deserves its higher price if you need a PDA/Phone.
I just wish Nokia and Palm could do something. :-)
- Things that work really well
- Good Points
- Bad Points
- Where I started from
HINGS THAT WORK REALLY WELL:
- Silly, but actually very effective, use of WAV files for ring tones. Polyphonic can go spin - gimme farmyard noises any time. Wait until the day your phone accidentally rings in a meeting by crowing or mooing. No hard feelings. :-)
- Little stylus thing that slips out easily but doesn't fall out unintentionally, and the fact that you can use a gentle fingernail for most menu work (you need to, thanks to the interface). Not everyone likes it, but I do because it works (and I have lots of spares)
- Camera is a visual notebook and so quick to use in a hurry. Emailing pix is a breeze. It's not for art, you'll never publish the pix, it doesn't replace a digital camera or even the embarassing DV camcorder stills you could get. But it's there. 'That's what it looks like' should be on your mind when you press the button
- Included headphones are pretty good (wot, use your own? It's a Sony! Of course you can't use your own!). An iPod this is not, but with a 128 Mb card it's a reasonable teenaged MP3 player. Transistor radio sound if MP3 played back on phone in hands-free mode. Hey, it's a phone! And it plays back as loud as an AM transistor radio!
- It actually works, it does what it says on the tin - you really can carry a copy of your Outlook data, get your email, view well-designed web pages, and (once you've learned JOT) can be used for short notes.
- The P800 is a better *phone* than other Ericssons I've had. They have a long way to go to match Nokia ergonomics, but I think they'll have an easier ride with a tap-screen interface. Just don't blow it, chaps (see below).
- Ericsson ergonomics still lurk behind the screen like a bad smell. Every time your call connects, a full volume beep tries to puncture your ear drum (not on the Sony headset though!). Every command requires a couple of m
enu choices. On-screen items that should be clickable require OBSTINATE ADHERANCE to number interface in Virtual Flip mode. I threw away the real flip as it is not a nice thing to use. Ericsson ergonomics could induce angina in an athelete, it could stress out a trappist monk, and if it weren't for Motorola, it would be the worst interface in the world.
- Sony fetish for requiring addons and accessories is irritating. For $89, some enterprising soul has made a back cover that takes a full memory stick rather than the silly half-stick (MemoryTwig?!), but of course Sony has instead invented a new SonyStandard. I don't want to carry an extra adaptor with my phone.
- Sony fetish for making things uncompatible with its own product range - Got a BlueTooth Sony Camcorder? Nope, doesn't work with Sony BlueTooth phone. You need a special Sony BlueTooth gizmo. Grrrr.
- Some third party software (and - by the sounds of it - recent phone updates) can reduce your P800 to a gibbering wreck. Backup early, backup often. If it works Out Of the Box, don't f- mess with it. The Nokia 7110 suffered in a similar fashion where successive updates patched the patched patches (hey, sounds like a Macintosh!) until it ran on an Operating Bedspread rather than an Operating System... Don't update the OS until you hear everyone raving about the new version.
- The JOT implementation is sub-standard. You'll end up cursing it, as Grafitti - whilst being cryptic to start - was a good system that understood the limitations of the medium. JOT tries so hard to be like real handwriting, but you have to slow down so that the double stroke system has time to register. Sony, in their INFINATE WISDOM have not included the JOT trainer that can help raise JOT to Grafitti standards. Neither can you write the GBP or EURO symbols, ligatures, advanced punctuations and accurate single-glyphs for certain challenging characters (T rather than L-space for exa
- A satisfactory - nay, witnessable - vibrate alert seems strangely elusive. Nokias, in comparison, could be registered on the Richter scale. A dormouse with a mild case of the giggles could do better than the P800.
- a 128 Mb card should have been included from the start.
WHERE I STARTED
I replaced a Nokia 8210 and Palm VX, and on top of this feature set I required proper internet email and web access with the ability to take photos and email them. I've had Palms and Psions for too long to be without Outlook sync to notes and contacts. I've got rather more than that for less than a Clie or PocketPC.
Phones want to be small, fast and simple. PDAs want to be (relatively) full featured, ergonomic and powerful. It's as if we were comparing motorcycles and cars. So, what is the P800? Smart car?
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