Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
Newest Review: ... software based on .sis files which worked on your P910i, it's unlikely to work on the P990i so that aspect of the upgrade path becomes ne... more
P990i The good, the bad and the ugly...
Sony Ericsson P990i
Member Name: zOOm
Sony Ericsson P990i
Date: 26/05/07, updated on 29/09/07 (1470 review reads)
Advantages: 3G PDA, excellent camera, good keyboard, calendar, alarms, e-mails, games, sound, QuickOffice
Disadvantages: Battery life is too short on 3G mode
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.
Summary: One of the better PDA phones out there but don't bother getting it if you don't need a PDA phone.
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