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Sony Ericsson P910 review
Posted on 11-Oct-2004 19:03 | Tags Filed under: Reviews

New Zealand users are already familiar with Sony Ericsson products in the Smartphone area. Both the Sony Ericsson P800 and P900 were launched here by Vodafone New Zealand pretty much soon after their worldwide launch.

The Sony Ericsson P910 should be available here soon. I had the opportunity to try the P910i model, which is the tri-band for Europe, Asia-Pacific (other models include the P910c for China mainland and the P910a for the North American market).

If you had some contact with the P900 then the changes are small, but interesting: the full keyboard on the inside of the keypad is the main feature on this new version. When rumours about this new phone showed up on the Internet, users were discussing how could be possible to have a flip keypad and a full keyboard without making the hinges too fragile. Sony Ericsson did a good job delivering this feature, and it's actually really well made. I have used it without fears of having a broken smartphone in my hands. The phone is not heavy, at only 155g and small enough (115 x 58 x 26 mm) to be held with both hands while typing with the thumbs.

The keypad is a nice change from the original P800: while the old P800 keypad was actually a series of pins touching the screen when in use, the P900 introduced a real electronic keypad – probably paving the way for the P910. The keyboard is rubber made, with a good tactile feel, although I wouldn't recommend long nails while using it (or is this just my impression? I didn't ask a girl's opinion). The internal keys are of rectangular shape, but after a couple of days you will be up to speed with this addition, and typing e-mails and SMS in fast speed. Unfortunately there isn't a TAB key, as I would expect this to move between fields in forms or applications. There's still need for the stylus, which is the same as the previous one from the P900.

P910 keyboard detail
Flip keypad open, showing internal keyboard

P910 using thumbs
Flip keypad open, typing

The screen depth and colours are the same as the P900, which is a great improvement over the P800 mode, but the built-in VGA camera still takes terrible pictures (click here for an example). This should be ok for some business users, which is the audience for this device, but would leave “lifestyle” users terrified.

P910 x P800
Size comparison: P910i (left) and P800

Like the P900 it also has a video recorder function, and the user can create 3GPP movies that can be played on the phone itself, or on a desktop computer with Apple Quicktime or RealPlayer. The same application used to playback the user-made video can also be used to play 3GPP video streaming over GPRS. Content is of course provided by mobile operators, and include video clips, short news clips and the like. Albeit small (208x320 pixel), the screen is crisp enough for this kind of use.

The P910 comes with more memory, which is always good news. It now has 64MB RAM of internal memory, and comes with a 32MB Sony Memory Stick Duo in the box. Music lovers will like the MP3 player, which can be used in combination with the Memory Stick to carry their favourite songs around – time to get some serious sized memory cards.

P910 video player
The video player

It comes with the Sony Ericsson web browser, which does a decent job for Internet browsing, but the P910 also comes with a free copy of the Opera web browser, which is much better in terms of page rendering. Avantgo for Symbian UIQ is now part of the package, and in Europe it comes with GPS-enabled navigation tool for navigation. The built-in e-mail client supports POP3 and IMAP accounts.

The software also includes Quicksheet (part of the 89620 QuickOffice package available for other users of Symbian UIQ), a very efficient spreadsheet, compatible with Microsoft Excel, and a Cleanup Wizard, a smart application that guides the user through step-by-step cleaning procedure, finding old application, files and images that are no longer needed in the memory.

P910 e-mail client
Built-in e-mail client: ok for POP3 and IMAP

P910 web browser
The standard web browser: ok, but free Opera (bundled) beats it

P910 Quicksheet
Office application: spreadsheet

P910 cleanup wizard
The standard web browser: ok, but free Opera (bundled) beats it

In terms of connectivity, Sony Ericsson is still doing very well with its Bluetooth implementation. The phone also supports infrared and USB, including that very funky docking station, the same model from the P800 and P900. Users can synchronise their Microsoft Outlook data through these connection options, or by using the built-in SyncML client, which is required when using some third-party servers.

The P910 is in fact a step ahead from its predecessor, in a market full of companies launching new products that actually don't bring anything new, and I'm thinking what could be next – I wouldn't mind a 3G version, or the introduction of wireless LAN on the next model. In any case, Sony Ericsson has shown their commitment to innovation in the mobile phone area, and this is great for users – and competition.

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