Sony Ericsson smartphone: Worth the wait?

Analysis: Sony Ericsson's long-delayed P800 handset is finally about to arrive, successfully melding cutting-edge technology and ease-of-use

Sony Ericsson's P800 is about to arrive on the market, after months of delays, and it should appeal to users looking for a full-featured smartphone, according to ZDNet Labs.

ZDNet Labs' evaluation found that the handset not only incorporated a large number of features, but integrated them well and made them easy to use. The P800 has a built-in camera, a pen-operated touch-screen, media player, Web browser, organiser functions, PC synchronisation, GPRS, MMS, Bluetooth and Java, among other features.

"After a year of virtual stagnancy, the P800 is a big step forward for Sony Ericsson," the review found, citing its large, sharp 4,096-colour display, decent battery life and the simplicity with which functions such as Web browsing and snapping pictures were presented.

(See the full review here.)

Software has already begun appearing for the device, including a new port of the first-person shooter Doom.

The P800 is the first Sony Ericsson-branded smartphone, and is the successor to similar Ericsson-branded devices. With its advanced features, high price (£528.75 inc. VAT without a contract) and multimedia capabilities, it is designed to be the company's flagship product, but was delayed from its original launch last year while the kinks were worked out.

In the meantime, Microsoft has launched its smartphone initiative in the form of the Orange SPV (Sound, Pictures, Video), manufactured by HTC, which is designed for one-handed use and includes organiser, Web browsing and email features.

While the P800 generally meets high expectations, it does suffer from a few flaws, according to the review. The keypad is not always responsive, and the device, which is bulkier than the average handset, is not optimised for one-handed use. It lacks predictive text input and the built-in camera is of average quality.

"We expect Sony Ericsson to release important updates in the coming months, as it has done for the T68," the review said.

The P800 will be available in mid- to late-February, according to Sony Ericsson, and will cost £293.75 inc. VAT with an O2 contract, according to Expansys.

If it moves, we cover it. See ZDNet UK's Mobile Technology News Section for the latest news, reviews and price checks on mobile phones, PDAs, notebook computers and anything else you can take away.

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