Review: Sony Ericsson P1i

12. March 2008 at 12:34

The Sony Ericsson is a mixture of the M600 and the P990i. From the two, it has some things like the QWERTY keyboard, touch screen and some features inherited. But does the P1i offer more? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages of the P1i? This review will answer all these questions.

Main advantage:

  • 3.2 megapixel-camera with autofocus
  • W-Lan (802.11b)
  • UIQ 3 Operation System
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Huge 2.6’’ touchscreen
  • Main disadvantage:

  • Difficult usage
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Sales package:


    The Sony Ericsson P1i comes in a silver-grey color package. The noble looking package already represents the P1i. Once the packaging is open, you can see the silver-black P1i. Besides the P1i are still following accessories in the packaging:

    Carrying case
    Secondary stylus
    Battery(BST-40)
    Headset (HPM-62)
    512MB Memory Stick
    Charger (CST-70)
    Desktop stand(CDS-65)
    USB-cable (DCU-65)
    Manuals
    CD with Sony Ericsson PC Suite

    This delivery is very generous from Sony Ericsson. Other models or other manufacturers don’t even contains a carrying case or deskstand. The headset and the cable are pretty solid but for my taste a little bit to plump. So, the big headphones doesn’t feel good in the ear and spoiled the mood when listening to music or telephoning.

    Built Quality:
    The P1i is mainly made of plastic, but nevertheless it feels very high quality. The front acts in conjunction with the keys and the large display extremely noble. Unfortunately, the display and the surface with the P1i writing aren’t really fingerprint resistant. More over, the back of the P1i is not armed for fingerprints. The battery cover offers no room and sits solid like a rock. Any gap masses are kept very small.

    Keys:


    20 of a total of 25 (scroll-wheel included) buttons can be found right under the large 2.6” wide touchscreen. Each of the 20 keys work like a seesaw, as you can move them in two directions. This keys have a good pressure point, at least for me and my well-thin fingers, more over, they are easy to reach. Most, except for ALT and ) , the 20 buttons have multiple functions. They have 2 or 3 characters on a button which can be activated just like on a PC by holding a special button. Furthermore, the P1i has also further five buttons.

    On the left side of the device there is, “back” button and the scroll-wheel. With these two keys, called ”Joy Dial”, you can control almost the entire device.

    On top of the device there is a power on / off button, which is a little bit too deep and bad to reach.

    On the right hand side of the P1i are the user defined key for shortcuts, and the camera button. All in all, all the buttons are easy to reach and have a good pressure point. The P1i is except with the keys also usable via the touchscreen. So, if you don’t like the QWERTY keyboard you can also choose also two other text input options. You can either write right on the touchscreen, which tend to be not too good to use, or you can also use the virtual-keyboard. This virtual-keyboard is very good and easy to use, and in my opinion better than the hardware keyboard. Unfortunately, the whole menu is concepted for the stylus. Therefore, you can act only at certain points with the finger.

    Size:


    With its 124g the P1i lands in the midfield of the smartphones. Thus, it is heavier than Nokia’s N82, but lighter than the N81 8GB. In terms of size P1i lands back in the midfield. 106 x 55 x 17 mm, these are the dimensions of the typewriter. Compared to the N95 is a bit wider, but there is significantly smaller and thinner. So, the P1i is noticeable in the pocket, but it doesn’t bother so much.

    Multimedia:
    The P1i offers you 160 megabytes of storage. In addition you can find in the package a 512MB memory card which is a little bit to small for videos, photos and music. The 240 x 320 pixels 2.6” wide touchscreen display 256K colors. The brightness can be set manually. The display is bright and easy to read against sunlight.

    The P1i has two games pre-installed – Vijay Singh Pro Golf 3D and Quadra Pro. Pro Golf is, as the name implies, a very successful golf game. Quadra Pop is a mix of Tetris and four wins.

    Camera:


    The smartphone has a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back and a VGA (640×480) camera for video calls on the front. In addition, the main-camera has a pretty good autofocus and a LED for pictures in bad lightconditionals. To take a photo you just have to hit the photo button on the side. Once you hit the button, the camera menu opens. Now you can play with the camera settings. One of the best modes is the macro-mode. Using the macro-mode you can capture even more details of things which are about 10-60cm in front of the lens. Furthermore, you have a bunch of other settings to improve or modify the pictures. After you set all your settings you can hit he camera button and take the picture. Since the P1i is no K1i, the focus for the P1i is not on the camera. But nevertheless the photos are pretty sharp, but unfortunately often a little bit too dark. Objects within 2 meters can be light up with the LED. For objects which are outside of the magic 2 meters you can use the night-mode which is pretty useful. Here are some samples taken by the P1i:

    DSC00014DSC00015DSC00013DSC00007DSC00010DSC00024DSC00023DSC00028DSC00027DSC00009DSC00026

    Of course the P1i can also record videos. The videos are taken with 240 x 320 pixels (QVGA). The videos are not so good that those can be play-backed on the TVset, but good enough to upload them to YouTube or watch them on the handheld itself. The video mode offers a bunch of settings too – you can change the resolution, white balance, microphone, effects, quality, night mode, save-location, capture tone and self-timer.

    Music:

    The Business-Phone also offers a music-player which playbacks Mp3 and WMA. The quality of the provided headphones haven’t convince me, but for a little music between meetings it is good enough. Unfortunately, Sony Ericsson doesn’t provide an adapter for normal headphones, so that you can’t improve the sound. Expect via the headphones you can also playback the music via the loudspeaker which is located on the back of the device. However, this sounds too loud but slightly strange. In addition, the speaker on the back isn’t placed well so the sound is even worse when it lays with the speaker on the table. Except you lay it with the display on the desk – but how do you want to control the player than? You can control the audio-player either using the scroll-wheel or with the stylus.

    So you can stop the music, switch the title or change the volume using the scroll wheel. Using the stylus on the touchscreen you can also activate or deactivate the shuffle mode or pre/re-wind. If you don’t like the sound quality, you can try to improve it by open the equalizer and by choosing one certain mode out of 11. Exactly like on the PC you can also create own playlist on the P1i and playback it at any time. This is fairly simple and makes, if you have a lot songs, sense. Since the P1i runs on Symbian OS 9.1 UIQ 3, it’s of course possible to playback the music while you’re surfing the web or writing a text message. If you have no music on your P1i, you can also use the FM radio, which is related to the antenna, which is located in the headset.

    Connectivity:
    The P1i offers Wi-Fi, IrDA, Bluetooth, GPRS, UMTS, and Sony Ericsson’s port, which can be used for the connection to the PC. More over you can charge the P1i via the USB-cable. In the test the connection via Bluetooth to a PC, N95 and N82 ran smoothly. Besides SMS and MMS the P1i can also receive and send e-mails. After creating email accounts, emailing can begin. E-mails are displayed just like you are used it from the computer with images and graphics.

    With the QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi and the huge 2.6’’ display it’s obvious that surfing the World Wide Web is possible, too. P1i’s web browser can open WAP and html pages without bigger problems. To read the site even better you can zoom in and out the sites. Furthermore, the page can be shown just like on your desktop at home. But this is not as helpful as you have often to zoom and scroll up and down or in and out. My tip is Opera Mini. Using Opera Mini the sites are loaded ways faster and surfing is much easier. Opera Mini can be downloaded here: mini.opera.com/beta

    Using Opera:

    Using P1i’s browser:

    Usage:


    The menu has nine main-folders and is pretty oversee. As a newcomer you need a few hours to know exactly the whole menu but thanks to the good icons and the explanation it’s rather easy. On the standby screen can be shown 12 icons that are quickly made available. Unfortunately, you can move the icons in the main menu but you can decide whether the menu is shown in a list or grid.

    Business:


    The smartphone is according to Sony Ericsson a business phone so it should offer specific business applications. Yes, indeed, for example the P1i has a extra folder called ‘’Office’’ with the following content:

    Quickoffice
    Pdf
    Notes
    Task
    Card Scanner

    Using Quickoffice you can open and read Word, Exel and Powerpint files. More over, you can edit Word and even Exel files or create new files. A business application, but not in the ‘’Office’’ folder is the calendar. You can, for example, choose between monthly, weekly and daily view. Furthermore, you can set reminders, all-day events and anniversaries.

    Verdict:
    With the P1i Sony Ericsson has launched a strong multimedia smartphone with big ambitions. Due to UIQ operating system an huge amount of 3rd party application can be installed making the P1i even more powerful. However, for a newcomer is P1i’s UI a little bit tricky and sometimes it needs a while to figure out how to do a certain task.