Sony Ericsson P910i

Sony Ericsson P910i

Summary: This improved smartphone from Sony Ericsson is an excellent companion for the mobile professional.

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TOPICS: Smartphones, Reviews
50
  • Editors' rating:
    8.0
  • User rating:
    8.6
  • RRP:
    £499.00

Pros

  • Huge bundled software library
  • well-integrated telephony and applications

Cons

  • Chunky in the pocket
  • QWERTY keyboard is very small
  • lacks Wi-Fi

The P910i is Sony Ericsson’s third smartphone, and updates the earlier, and very well received, P900. This itself was an advance on the company’s first offering in this area, the P800. The operating system for all these phones was Symbian’s OS7, overlain with the UIQ interface. Unlike other Symbian operating systems, this one supports a touch-sensitive display, which offers increased opportunities for, and flexibility with, interacting with software. This factor, and the large array of bundled software, helps Sony Ericsson characterise its Pxxx series as both a smartphone and a handheld.

The ‘i’ on the phone’s name, incidentally, indicates the geographical area it covers: there is a P910c available in China, a P910a in Latin America, and the P910i covers the other areas where this model is available.

Design
Sony Ericsson has retained the basic design of previous Pxxx models. Measuring 57mm wide by 115mm deep by 24mm high, it has almost exactly the same dimensions as the P900, having lost just 2mm of depth. The weight has gone down a touch, from 157g to 155g. The flip-down number pad remains too -- Sony Ericsson refers to this simply as the 'flip'. This offers the standard number pad and associated letter keys on its front, but when swivelled down -- in a new feature for this phone – it offers a tiny QWERTY keyboard in a one-letter-per-key configuration. As with earlier models, the flip can be removed, and in this case the touch-sensitive screen lets you dial calls and accommodates other text- and number-entry features. You can enable a 'virtual flip' from the control panel which places a mini-dialler on screen. This is activated by a tiny ever-present on-screen icon. It's an ideal substitute for the real flip, and you can try it before going through the process of flip-removal, which is handy as this requires undoing a couple of screws. The rest of the hardware design is also very familiar. The five-way jog dial wheel sits on the left edge of the case. Once you get used to the fact that the wheel can be rocked towards and away from you as well as up and down with a press inwards to select, the extra features are useful. Generally, a rock away acts as a ‘back’ function, while one towards you brings up context-sensitive menus. We found rocking on this plane a little difficult one-handed, and never quite mastered it. Also on the left edge is the power button, while the right edge houses a button dedicated to the built-in camera, a button that activates the Web browser and a Memory Stick Duo slot, which is protected by a hard cover. The stylus is incredibly small and light, and lives in a housing on the top right of the casing. Sony Ericsson provides a spare in the product box, along with a set of headphones, a protective case, a USB docking cradle, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo, a converter for this card to the standard Memory Stick format, a mains power adaptor, a wrist strap, a tiny screwdriver used for flip removal, and a cover for a small portion of the phone’s innards that gets exposed when the flip is removed. There are also two CDs, one offering the PC desktop synchronisation software PC Suite, the other offering a extra software, sounds, wallpapers, games and viewers for a range of document types.

Features
The phone is tri-band GSM with GPRS. Despite its similarities to predecessors in the Pxxx range, the P910i does have some new features. The QWERTY keyboard behind the flip is one of these, although it has to be said that its value for data entry is questionable. Its keys are among the smallest we've seen, and there's very little spacing between them. We had trouble creating even short SMS texts and found the whole experience somewhat cramped and difficult. This, and the fact that when the flip is in place the visible screen area is reduced from 208 by 320 pixels to 208 by 208, means that we prefer to work without the flip at all. The screen offers 262,144 colours (18-bit) and on our model was clear, clean and crisp. The P910i is has 64MB of memory, and after a master reset we were left with 59.4MB free. This is a considerable improvement on the P900’s 16MB and the bundled 32MB Memory Stick Duo card boosts this further. The total amount is a healthy quota for a smartphone, and rivals many handhelds. Bluetooth is built in, but Sony Ericsson has not included Wi-Fi. That’s not going to matter if you don’t want to use the P910i as your only mobile device, but since it's packed with features, and can take on the functions of a handheld, Wi-Fi is a notable omission. The camera, too, is something of a disappointment. With so many cameraphones now offering megapixel imaging, the capabilities of this one look a little old fashioned. Images can be grabbed at 160 by 120, 320 by 240 and 640 by 480 pixels, with high, medium and low quality settings. If mobile email matters to you then the capabilities of the P910i will be of great interest as it can cope with both push and ‘collect’ email services. Operators can deploy solutions based around offerings from Research In Motion (RIM), Smartner, Extended Systems, Vistio and Intellisync. The range of applications that come as part of Symbian OS 7 or are added by Sony Ericsson means there's plenty of productivity out of the box. The usual PIM tools of Calendar, Tasks and Contacts are supplemented by a Jotter that accepts drawings and text (entered as in other P910i applications, either using the flip, a soft keyboard or handwriting to the screen), digital music playing and calculator. There is a messaging tool that manages SMS, MMS and email. Also, very usefully for corporate users, Quickword and Quicksheet allow for creation and viewing of Microsoft Word and Excel documents, while PDF+ acts as a viewer for PDF documents. There are more applications pre-installed, and the CDs contain a wide range of extras, including pre-purchase trials.

Performance
The P910i does not represent a radical step forward from the P900. It follows on -- as the P900 did from its predecessor, the P800 -- in delivering incremental advances. One of the new features, the keyboard, is of dubious utility. Our battery rundown test was our usual straightforward looping of MP3s. We got playback to the final second of battery life, to the tune of six hours precisely with the power-saving option disabled, the screensaver turned off, the screen light always on, and music playing from a Memory Stick Duo. Sony Ericsson suggests that up to 16 hours of talktime is achievable, and up to 20 hours on standby. Following our real-world test, we’d suggest that Bluetooth users or those with heavy communications needs should be prepared to recharge daily; low volume users should get several days' usage from a single battery charge. At the price, we would not consider an upgrade SIM-free. However, if the P910, with its increased memory, slowly replaces the P900 on contracts, then we wouldn't say no to it.

Specifications

General
Form factor candy bar
Dimensions (W x H x D) 580x260x1150 mm
Weight 155 g
OS & software
Software included Calculator, Calendar, Tasks, Speaker phone, Clock, Contacts, Alarm clock, Conference calls, PIM Sync, Call list; yes
Synchronisation software PC Suite
Processor & memory
RAM 64 MB
Display
Native resolution 208x320 pixels
Connections
Docking cradle No
Ports USB
Slots Yes
Networks
2.xG GPRS
Messaging & data
Messaging services SMS
Power
Standby time 400 h
Talk time 13 h
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Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: Smartphones, Reviews

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50 comments
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  • 9.5

    I have got this phone it is excellent the only thing is it don't have many downloads games etc. On the whole it's performance is great.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Own this and you won't need an upgrade next time :)
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    I have just bought one, and for techies and geeks it is great! Loads of stuff and apps available! For the newbie get a program called SMan - essential - has a Task Mgr so you can close down the apps drinking that magic juice! Buy a screen protector too!
    anonymous
  • 9.3

    I am not sure I agree with the review on the keyboard. Though tiny, I am now used to it and use it regularly to write SMS mails. Interestingly, by pressing the keys with my finger it works, too (at the beginning, I used my nail only); they got that right, one does not push the adjacent keys by mistake. So for a pocket machine, this is fine.

    My criticism goes to the PC software side. The P910i's synchronization is bound to Lotus or Outlook (none of what I use). Why not offering something independent, too? I have also seen lot of negative reports related to the quality of synchronization, too. This clearly needs improvements.

    All in all, I am happy with it. I could at last dump my PocketPC PDA, I have one less goody in my pocket, one less battery adapter to carry on trips, and a well integrated address list with my phone. Great stuff.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Right now, I can't imagine how to live without it...
    With one unique device I am able to get the "office" always with me (ok, that may not be necessarily nice...), to be available to reach and be reached all the time anyplace (well, again the same thing as before ;-)), and even to use it as my GPS BT interface with which I do GeoCaching and Road Navigation...
    Not to mention the games, programming-fun and the (ok, not good at all) digital camera!
    THIS IS GREAT!!!
    anonymous
  • 7.5

    Sony Ericsson's P910 continues the P900 theme of hybrid phone and PDA with improved browser,email support and office functionality, also the screen has been beefed up too 262k colours, but this does not warrant P900 users to use their phones as techno door stops and rush to buy the new kid on the block. Sony Ericsson have increased internal memory to 64MB, and added support for Memory Stick Pro up to a whopping 1GB, but surely a 1.3 megapixel camera would have lured some new custom and justified the price tag maybe a little more. All in all a good sound hybrid, but it still feels as if its a half-hearted attempt to brighten up the face of a proven model.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Great keyboard -- it seems small, but even with large fingers it works fine. Flip is firm, and not as flimsy as P800 or P900.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    anonymous
  • 10.0

    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Phone works well -- good reception and volume. Handsfree is loud and clear, with no complaints so far of echoes from callers. Fantastic memory -- expansion up to 1GB with Memory Stick Pro Duo is just amazing and faster than the P800.

    Picture viewing is far clearer with new display and extended colours. Even pictures taken on P800 look far better on P910i.

    Video: I thought this was going to be a gimmick, but found it very useful for recording short events.
    Keyboard/flip is far stronger and very plesant to use.
    On the whole, the phone feels well built now, and somehow being silver/grey doesn't make it seem as big as the P800 was. Nice to use.

    Only gripe is music player is now selective over what tracks are shown -- you have to go to "Manage Tracks" to see the rest - bit of a pain!

    I love it! Shame it couldn't be lighter, but then there's an awful lot in a small space & it works very well. Sony Ericsson now offer firmware upgrades via the web, so no need to be without the phone to get it upgraded when the need arises.
    anonymous
  • 2.0

    In 3 days I found out what waste of money and time is this phone. P900 is hundred times better than this phone.

    Its a very very slow device. Its a very very useless device
    with less battery life.

    QWERTY keyboard does not work in the night as it does not light up. When connected with the Net, you can't receive calls.

    I have send it back today.
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    It makes all the functionality that I have carried around with me on previous handsets usable. You can input and access information easily and quickly, whilst on the move. Superb... I just cannot wait for the price of a 1GB chip to come down -- then I will be able to leave the iPod at home!
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    Great phone - does exactly what it says on the tin.
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    It is only worse it if you don't have a P900 yet -- the functionality and performance are excellent too, plus an expandable memory up to 1GB and loads of applications to download and that's it.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    To me it's almost a PC in your pocket.
    anonymous
  • ...but a marginal improvement over the P900. Shame it lacks Wi-Fi.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    Best yet as a compromise between PDA and phone all in one.
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    This little gem is an awesome device. I can do most of what a PDA or notebook can do, but it will stow away on your belt and be your mobile phone.

    I was about to buy an MP3 player to take around with me when I my phone got reallocated. I bought the P910i and have scrapped plans for the MP3 player.

    With a 1GB Memory Stick Duo card it has a vast capacity and holds all my contacts, spreadsheets and doscuments. It has push email, so messages get to you quickly, and a browser for Web access.

    If you NEED Wi-Fi, then this is not for you. If you need only a phone, buy something cheaper.

    If you want PDA, MP3 and phone in 1 device, this is one of the best. A decent battery life and easy to use interface make this unrivalled at what it does...until the next newer and better device.
    anonymous
  • 8.0

    Overall this is an excellent product, but there a few minor problems:
    1) no backlight on QWERTY keyboard
    2) sync needs improvment
    3) every few days handwriting and on-screen keyboard switch off and when you try to switch them back on it says "not enough memory" (even with 54/60MB free) and you have to do a soft reset.
    4) restricted to Outlook for email

    These I can cope with, and the rest of the device is excellent. I have recently purchased a 512MB SD card and that's more than enough space for what I need. Music quality is amazing and Quick Word and Quick Sheet are great if you need to get stuff done on the move. The PDF reader is also very useful. Picture and video quality are great. This an excellent device and well worth the money.
    anonymous