Sony Ericsson P900: a first look

Sony Ericsson P900: a first look

Summary: Sony Ericsson has upgraded its flagship Symbian smartphone. Here are our first impressions.

TOPICS: Smartphones, Reviews
Sony Ericsson has released the P900 Symbian smartphone, an update to its popular P800. The size has been reduced slightly, the appearance tidied up, an improved 16-bit TFT screen added and the software bundle enhanced. All this is fine, but if you're looking for a vast leap forward from the P800, the P900 isn't it.

Sony Ericsson P900: sleeker, with an improved 16-bit TFT screen and a better software bundle -- including secure access to corporate networks.
Much of the specification of the P900 is the same as the P800: a tri-band GSM phone with GPRS plus MMS, Bluetooth, Memory Stick Duo slot and digital camera. You get the idea. The biggest changes aren't with the internals of the unit, but with its appearance and ergonomics. The P900 is a slightly squarer design, fractionally smaller and lighter than the P800. The old transparent plastic stylus has been replaced by a more robust metal-shafted version. The flip keypad has been changed from a passive unit that pressed the touch-screen to one with electrical switches. This eliminates the problems sometimes reported with the P800 of the buttons not working all the time. The keypad can still be removed from the P900 if you'd prefer not to use it. The five-way jog dial makes single-handed navigation of the P900's interface relatively easy, after a little practice. You'll still have to resort to pen-based operation for any text input you need to do, using Jot character recognition or the on-screen keyboard. T9 predictive text input is now available on the keypad. You can capture video clips as well as still images using the built-in VGA digital camera. There's a small mirror next to the lens, on the back of the phone, used for framing shots of yourself -- since you can't see the screen when pointing the camera at yourself. There's an option to limit video clips and stills to the maximum size permitted by most multimedia messaging services (MMS), or you can take full-size images and save them onto the Memory Stick Duo slot, or use the cradle connection to your PC. This last option is also a good way of putting music files on the P900 to listen to with the supplied stereo hands-free kit. One significant addition is a secure network client, allowing encrypted access to company networks. However, this isn't a standard VPN client, but requires you to use either RSA's SecureID or SafeWord from Secure Computing. These both require licences to use, making this facility less useful than if a standards-based VPM client, such as IPSec was included. However, there is the facility to add other secure clients provided by third parties. Check back for our full review of the P900 in a couple of weeks or so.

Topics: Smartphones, Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • im a p800 user and am very delighted to hear about p900 because i've been enjoying using p800 which mean to say i'll be enjoying more with p900. can you tell me when would this be available in the UK
  • When would be the P900 available in US? and what carrier will be using is it cingular?
  • I'm in LA using a P900 right now. It's a GSM phone, so it can be used on T-Mobile, Cingular and ATT, as long as you buy an unlocked version and you have (or can get) your own SIM. Mine's made in France and packaged for the German market, sold by a UK company with a distribution center in Illinois! So it uses terms like "colours" and "initialisation", but otherwise works perfectly. It's still very expensive ($800-1000), so I suggest waiting until sometime n the first quarter of 2004 when it's officially due in the US. It hasn't been announced which US carriers will carry it, but again, there are 3rd party retailers who will have the SU version. That's one of the beauties of GSM/GPRS, especially now that we've got number portability. Although I'm pretty happy with T-Mobile-- at least with their tech support and data rates (unlimited for $19.95!). Their coverage, at least as provided by Cingular in Cal and Nevada, leaves much to be desired, and the RF function of the P900 is not the strongest unfortunately.
  • This is an amazing phone, but there are one or two things that make it hard for me to decide. I am having a lot of trouble deciding between the Nokia 6600, Siemens SX1 and the Sony Ericsson P900. I have the money ready to buy any one of these phones, but i cant decide. I can wait for the Siemens SX1, but they have no idea when it will be released, i can just get the Nokia 6600, but i really want an MP3 player, or this, the Sony Ericsson P900, but it is quite heavy, 150 grams, which is a lot. i really want to have a phone with the zoom function on the camera, this does not offer that. It also doesnt offer a radio, which isnt really that important. I would like to know if this phone is good enough and long-lasting enough to suit me, or if i should wait for the Siemens SX1, which has everything and is only 110 grams.
  • how many texts will the phone hold ??? how many contacts can you store ??? sometimes reviews overlook these points, its so annying when you get a feature rich phone but it will only store 20 texts in/out box total !!!!!!!!!! can someone let me know what it will store.

    I also use the T68i as it can record calls, does the P900 do this ???
  • Read a lot of reviews: all in all this is the best in the market right now especially if u are like me, concerned about how long the batterry can last! This seems FULLY LOADED! I'm buying it!
  • I have recently got myself a P900, and have to say it is an amazing piece of kit. I had a P800 earlier in 1993 and found it a bit bulky, but the P900 feels much better, even though it is only slightly smaller. I personally would not bother with any Siemens phone, as I just do not feel that they are competitive enough.
    I recently had a Nokia 6600, and having waited and waited for it to come out, I have to say I was really quite disappointed. I found the phone take an absolute age to come on in the morning, I found the keys unresponsive, and the ring tones are far too quite, the phone still warns in a typical Nokia way about loud ringing, but it is just a joke. The choice is obviously yours, but I would choose the P900 everytime, it is an exceptional all round tool.
  • this phone is mind blowing!! its screen is amazing, sound quailty is superb and its design is eye catching. people actully notice you when they see you use one of this beauties. compared to the 6600 nokia and the siemens sx1, its far superior! screen is much bigger and looks way smarter! its the phone to have. the internet color browsing just did it for me! just try it yourself, might also just do it for you!!!!!!!
  • What really lacking in p900 and making me to wait for P900's Next version is :

    1. Even though it has voice recording, you can't record your conversation.
    2. Doesn't have an FM radio
    3. Doesn't have good enough camera.
    4. They could have given 128 MB memory card
    5. No Wifi

    But if I have to buy today I will buy only P900.

    P900 Rules!
  • When will it be available herein the US
  • Go ahead and buy the sonyericsson HPR20 hands free, compatible with the P900 and voila u've got yourself a radio with incredible stereo sound!
  • P900 is the Boss..

    But I agree with Jack they should have provided 128 MB Memory.

    and a Bit improvement in Picture Quality..

    I am buying it..
  • I am about to buy a Sony Ericsson P900 but have heard that it apparently has an electronic bug that causes the phone to drop out during use and it is not because of the newtwork.

    P900 users out there, have you had any such experience?
  • hi there,

    I have since April 2003 the P800 and its the first cell phone what I can use for everything and I can say its my Mp3, Camera, Calender, Notes book, Alarm clock and my mail box.
    But, I want to know can I transport every DATA and telephone numbers from my P800 to my new P900 phone without any damage ?
    Can some one help me and give me some info about P900 Memory Stick !!!
  • The absolute business. I thought it ws going to be too big, but it is shorter tho wider than the nokia 6310. There aint much this wont do. Am really really impressed with it. And the software to link to a PC is the easiest i have used. You wont be disappointed.

    "He, who dies with the most Toys......WINS !!! "
  • is this capable of microsoft applicatioins
  • joe
    bill sanders, what are you smokin
    you say it uses phrases like ''colours, but otherwise it works perfectly.'' dont know if you realised but you speak ENGLISH, dont know why you take our words and AMERICANIZE them into crappy rip offs. but otherwise the phone is great, gonna get one