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 Sony Ericsson P1i review - UIQ 3 smartphone with 3,2 megapixel camera

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conrad

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Number of posts : 108
Age : 41
Location : Philippines
Registration date : 2008-09-27

PostSubject: Sony Ericsson P1i review - UIQ 3 smartphone with 3,2 megapixel camera   Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:06 pm

Sony Ericsson P1i review - UIQ 3 smartphone with 3,2 megapixel camera

::compiled blog

Sony Ericsson had big problems with the P990i UIQ 3 device and many of the
P990i owners were unhappy with their smartphones. Sony Ericsson
released many updates for the P990i and the device came more stable but
in the end Sony Ericsson had to admit that there’s nothing more they
can do, the lack of memory was the biggest problem. It was time for the
next generation smartphone. Sony Ericsson announced the P1i in May 2007
and the phone hit the stores in Q3/2007. The design is similar to M600i
and you could even say that it’s the successor of the M600i. Sony
Ericsson P1i has a new UIQ 3.1 operating system, which is a bit
different than the 3.0 version. P1i also features QWERTY-keypad and a
3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus.







Sony Ericsson P1i official images



Key features:



- Symbian UIQ 3.1
- 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus
- Secondary camera for video calls
- UMTS
- WiFi
- 2.6” 262K colors TFT touchscreen
- Memory card slot (M2)
- Bluetooth
- FM Radio with RDS

Sony Ericsson decided to leave the old flip design, used with the
P800i, P900i, P910i and P990i, behind and I think that’s a great thing.
Thanks to the new design, similar to M600i, the P1i is a quite small
and compact smartphone.








Sony Ericsson P1i live photos

Sony Ericsson P1i has a lot to offer but just like with the K850i
Sony Ericsson has left out some key features. K850i dosen’t have WiFi
but it has EDGE and HSDPA. The P1i has WiFi but the lack of EDGE and
HSDPA might be a big disadvantage when you can’t use WiFi.

I’m a former M600i user or actually I still got it but I don’t use
it much, so I’m a bit skeptical if Sony Ericsson has really fixed all
the problems. I was so disappointed in the M600i that I didn’t even
consider buying another UIQ 3 device and that’s why it was very
interesting to get P1i for a review and see if it really is a better
device than the M600i.

Design and build quality



Like I already mentioned Sony Ericsson decided to give up the flip
design used with older P-series phones. Thanks to the new design, the
P1i (106 x 55 x 17 mm) is much smaller and lighter than the P990i (114
x 57 x 25 mm) Sony Ericsson P990i weights 150 grams, which quite much
these days. Luckily, the P1i is much lighter and weights 124 grams but
it’s still heavier than the M600i which weights only 112 grams.







P1i in hand front/back/top

The front side of the phone is quite stylish. It’s combination of
silver and black. The 2.6 inch screen covers over half of the front
side. Below the screen there’s the QWERTY-keypad, which is quite
unique. I guess Sony Ericsson is the only manufacturer using this kind
of keypad, at least if you only count in all the biggest mobile phone
manufacturers. I’m a bit surprised that no one has copied Sony
Ericsson’s idea because I think the keypad works great. It was the main
reason why I bought the M600i. Above the screen there’s of course the
speaker and the secondary camera for video calls.

Let’s take a closer look to the QWERTY-keypad. If you have ever used
the M600i, you know how this keypad works and you can skip this
paragraph if you want. There are twenty buttons and basically all
buttons, excluding the last five buttons, has two sides (left and
right). The first fifteen buttons has three or four characters and
depending on which side, left or right, you press the phone determines
which character will get printed. It might take a while to get used to
the keypad but after the learning curve it performs great! I used the
M600i for a year and then I bought the W880i and it was quite odd to
use the regular keypad again, especially when writing SMS.







P1i back side / P1i camera / P1i and M600i

Then, let’s take a look at the back side. There’s nothing special
but the 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera and the dual LED flash will
probably caught your attention. Second eye catcher is just above the
camera lens, a reflecting silver line and if you I have understood
right, it covers the loudspeaker.

On the left side, Sony Ericsson P1i has a hand strap eyelet, a Jog
Dial and a back key. On the right side there are two buttons, an
Internet button and a camera button. There’s also M2 slot on the right
side.

How about the stylus? P1i’s stylus is similar to M600i’s stylus. The
biggest difference is color and length, P1i has a bit longer stylus.

In my opinion the P1i looks pretty nice and it feels nice on hand. Actually, it feels pretty much the same as the M600i.

The UIQ 3 user interface



If you have used some older UIQ 3 phone, such as the M600i or the
W950i then you know how the UIQ 3 user interface works and the P1i
won’t offer much new in this field. Of course the UI is now faster and
nicer to use, thanks to the bigger memory.










Stanby screen / Main menu / Task manager


The standby screen is something I really liked in my M600i because
it has some features that non-smartphone Sony Ericsson’s doesn’t have.
P1i’s standby screen has only minor changes and the biggest change is
probably that now you can have more than five shortcuts on your
desktop. Pressing the arrow above the shortcuts will reveal two new
lines, so you can actually have up to fifteen shortcuts. In my opinion
the today list is probably the best thing the standby screen offers.
Pressing the plus on the left side will open the list, which displays
all recent unread SMS messages, e-mail messages, calendar entries,
tasks and missed calls. One nice thing I want to point out before we
move on. If you look at the upper left corner you will notice a
triangle. Pressing it will reveal a new pop up menu with options: New,
Connections, Volume, Time and Lock keys. I usually use only the
Connection menu, because it a fastest way to turn Bluetooth or Infrared
on/off.

The main menu has nine icons in 3x3 grid and if you have ever used
Sony Ericsson mobile phone, non-smartphone or smartphone, you are
familiar with the main menu. Although, we are talking about smartphone,
so there are some nice ways you can customize the main menu, like if
you don’t like the default icon view, you can change it to list view.
Font size can be chosen from three options: Small, Medium and Large,
and of course the theme can be changed. Unfortunately my review unit
had only the default theme.


Sony Ericsson P1i is a smartphone and multitasking is a very
important feature. These days even non-smartphone Sony Ericsson’s can
do multitasking, for example my W880i can have multiple application
open, but of course it’s not quite same. I was glad to notice that P1i
can have multiple applications open without any problems. That’s
something my M600i wasn’t able to do. Of course, my M600i didn’t have
problems if I only had few applications running but when we are talking
about running something like 10 applications at the same time, my M600i
started to have problems. So, P1i user interface is definitely much
enjoyable to use!

Calendar



Sony Ericsson P1i has a quite nice calendar application and that’s a
good thing because it’s a smartphone. The default view displays the
current month and below it you can see upcoming appointments. The
calendar offers monthly, weekly and daily views. The P1i’s calendar
also offers a nice find function, which allows you to search
appointment in the past/future.







Default view / Creating an appointment / Daily view

P1i’s calendar can have four kinds of entries: Appointment,
Reminder, All day event and Anniversary. Appointments can have
different kind of information. For example you can define start date,
end date, location, start time and end time, and of course you make the
appointment repetitive.

Sony Ericsson P1i has one big advantage if we compare it to my
M600i. It works with Apple’s iSync. I just wonder why it’s impossible
to create a working iSync plugin for the M600i, because P990i, W950i
and P1i have working plugins? I have read that it got something to do
with the M600i’s firmware. Well, who knows?

Anyways, I think Sony Ericsson P1i has good calendar. It’s nice and
pretty fast to use. You can even backup your calendar entries without
using a computer!

Contacts





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Like I have pointed out in my W880i review and K850i review
contacts are very important feature. It’s a feature that all handsets
have and you should always take good look at the contacts feature
before you buy any phone. So, let’s see what a Symbian UIQ 3 smartphone
has to offer in this field.

Sony Ericsson P1i can hold unlimited amount of numbers. You can
great groups, backup your contacts without computer and you can even
choose the font size (small, medium, large). All your contacts can be
sorted by: Last name, First name; First name, Last name; Company, Last
name; Company, First name.

One contact can have a lot of different kind of information, such as
phone number, email, web page, job title, address, city, notes and
more. You can also add a photo that appears when you have incoming call
from the specific number.


Last edited by Conrad on Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Sony Ericsson P1i review - UIQ 3 smartphone with 3,2 megapixel camera   Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:07 pm

Camera



Sony Ericsson P1i has a 3.2 megapixel camera with dual-flash and
autofocus. I was positively surprised when I took the first photos with
the P1i’s 3.2 megapixel camera. I guess the autofocus makes the
difference and because of it the photo quality is quite good. The
camera definitely beats my W880i’s 2 megapixel camera but of course it
can’t compete with the K850i Cyber-shot handset. I think the P1i’s
camera can take at least almost as good pictures as the K800i/K810i.











Sample camera photos

When you start the camera software there’s a small lag before you
are able to start shooting. For example, my W880i’s camera software
start much faster, but of course P1i is a smartphone and there’s always
a small lag when you open some software. That’s just something you need
to get used to.

The camera interface is quite similar to the latest Sony Ericsson
handsets and you won’t find it hard to use if you have used some other
Sony Ericsson handset, such the K850i. Unfortunately the interface
isn’t as fast to use. Non-smartphone Sony Ericssons have much faster
camera interface, but like I mentioned already, the lag is just
something you need get used to when you are using a UIQ 3 smartphone.

The camera interface offers all the common adjustment settings.
Photos size can be chosen from four options: 3 MP, 2 MP, 1 MP and VGA.
Autofocus menu has three options: Normal, Macro and Off. The P1i’s
camera offers automatic white balance but if you aren’t happy with it
you can choose white balance from five options: Cloudy, Daylight,
Fluorescent, Incandescent and Automactic. Of course you can add some
effects too: Black & White, Sepia, Solarization, Negative.

Office applications



Sony Ericsson P1i has some nice office applications to make your
life a bit easier when you need to work with MS Word or PDF files.
Quickoffice is the right application if you need to create or modify MS
Word, MS Excel or MS Powerpoint documents. It’s actually pretty handy
software but it’s not fun to deal with complicated word files with P1i
because the screen is too small for this kind of stuff. PDF+ is a PDF
reader. Unfortunately files that I tried to open with PDF+ looked a bit
weird. My favorite application is the Notes. It’s a very handy software
when you need to write or draw something. For example, you can easily
draw driving instruction and send via email.







Notes / Calculator


Using Internet via WiFi



The P1i has one major advantage if you compare it to the M600i. Sony
Ericsson P1i has a WiFi. These days many places, like coffee bars have
free WiFi spots and that’s why it’s an important feature.


I found the P1i’s connection manager software pretty easy to use and
I didn’t have any problems to get connect to my home network or a
public network. Everything worked well!







Opera 8.0 web browser


After you have successfully connected to the Internet, you are ready
to open the web browser. Sony Ericsson P1i comes with the Opera 8.0 web
browser. The browser supports HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, CSS, and SSL and
TSL security protocols. I’m not sure if it’s the best browser available
but it does its job quite well. I still would recommend you to check
out the Opera Mini also.


The browser offers some basic features, such as you can easily
switch between portrait and landscaped mode. You can also view web
pages in fullscreen mode to make most out of the 2.6” screen. The Opera
browser also has some shortcuts that makes your life a bit easier. For
example, pressing the ALT key and then the 1 key shows the address bar.
The browser also features tabs, so you can have multiple pages open.
Navigating between tabs is quite hard without the pen because the tabs
are so small.

Email client and RSS reader



The default email client can be found from the Messaging menu. Of
course before you can use the email you must create a new email
account. Creating a new email account is pretty straight forward if you
know what to do. P1i’s email client supports POP3, IMAP and SMTP
protocols.

From the email accounts menu, which can be found from control panel,
you can adjust a lot of stuff. For instance, you can choose if you want
to download the whole message or just the header. I prefer downloading
only the header, because it’s faster and if you get a lot of spam
there’s no need to download the whole message. When you choose to read
the message, the email client starts to download the message.

Writing an email is just like writing a SMS. Of course there are
some stuff that regular SMS message can’t have. For example you can add
attachments and customize the font style.







RSS reader / email client

Sony Ericsson P1i comes with a built-in RSS reader. The reader can
be found from the Multimedia menu. It doesn’t offer anything special.
It’s just a basic RSS reader. Anyways, you can choose if you want to
update you feeds manually or automatically and you can add folder to
keep your feed in order.

Music Player, Video player and FM-Radio



The P1i’s music player looks quite lame if you compare it to the
W960i Walkman player. There are no graphic visualizing stuff but the
player supports album art. You can view you music by Artists, Albums,
Tracks and of course you can create your own playlists.

The video player is pretty nice. You can watch video is landscape
mode and create folder to keep your video in order. The P1i has support
for streaming H.264 video content.


Unlike the M600i, Sony Ericsson P1i has FM-Radio, which of course
works only if you have plugged in the headsets. The P1i supports RDS
and you can save up to 20 radio stations. The radio comes with the
TrackID function, which allows you to record a song coming from the
radio and then use the TrackID function to find the artist name and
song name.

Sony Ercsson P1i vs Sony Ericsson W960i



Sony Ericsson W960i is almost the same device as the P1i, but there
are some changes in the design and the software. Probably the biggest
differences are that the W960i has 8 GB memory, Walkman Player and a
regular keypad. It doesn’t have QWERTY-keypad.







Sony Ericsson P1i vs Sony Ericsson W960i

Obviously, The W960i has a better music player. It offers some great
visualization, such as fullscreen-animated backgrounds, the player
looks much better than the P1i’s music player. You can also sort your
music by using the Rating and Mood categories. The player offers
automated playlist creator, which creates a playlist based on rules,
such as most played tracks or latest additions.

The W960i is pretty much same sized as the P1i, but the look of the
phone is quite different. The phone is almost black. Can’t say which
one looks better but the P1i definitely has a better stylus.

Anyways, the phones are pretty much identical. If you need a
business phone then P1i is your choice, but if you are looking for a
smartphone with great music functions, the W960i is what you need.[/size]
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