P900 User Review


The P900 is not a phone, it as a computer with a phone. A wonderful, impressive device, it still has a few issues. Also, of course, it is not an Apple product, but since I use it with my Mac, I put this review here.

BTW, I must point out that I am using the phone without the flip keypad. Also, it's worth pointing out that most of the shortcomings are fixable through 3rd party apps. This is both a pro and a con for the machine.

I use the P900 every day and have already taken a few thousand pictures with it for the blog on http://www.liquidinformation.org. The phone is described on: sonyericsson.com/p900/


Too short quick-menu (phone app)
As a phone it can be a bit confusing. The main phone page shows only 9 quick-access numbers. Why, just so that it can 'map' onto a traditional phone keypad? 
- Why not mirror the Tracker skins convention and allow users to add as many quick-access button on the main phone page.

Inconsistent Phone Operation
On a regular (non-smart phone) phone, the green, or call button, will instantly display the last dialled number. The P900 defaults back the quick-dial screen not the last-dialed screen - even if that's where the user dialed from - after a call. There is no equivalent to the green call button on the P900, it's all software.

Phone Features Not Prioritized
The useful voice dialing function is only available when in the 'phone application'. This should really be hard-wired and not be subject to the front most application unless the P900 is targeted to be more a PDA replacement with secondary phone functionality and not a phone first.

Mistaken Calls
When I am on a phone call and the call ends, I can, as with any other phone, either hang up or wait for the other party to hang up. If both happens and the screen behind the 'live calls' screen is the quick-dial screen (the one with the 9 one-click-call numbers) then what can happen is that as the other party hangs up, I reach to click, they hang up and I end up making a call by clicking the number form the quick-dial screen. Happens quite a lot.
- A simple call confirmation screen could help, as could a delay.

There is no quick way to address messages, no auto-complete of names or pop-up of addresses recently used. This means a long slog through the address book every time I want to send an SMS. This is not a problem on a phone with just a few people in the address book, but it's a bit of a speed bump with 757 entries.
- Multiple levels of User Interface The main quick-call page shows only 9 numbers. And I can only call those numbers, not send SMS or anything else. The 'Internet Browser' button on the right, maybe it could be useful if when I clicked it I could point to a quick-dial number and get options like 'send SMS' or 'call alternative number' (if the quick-dial numbers refers to the address book entry, not a single number, where what number is to be used has been selected, like you can on the Nokia 3650).

No Visible Clock
Can you believe it? There is no background clock. All other phones seem to have this. It's a $2 add on from a third party!

Inconsistent Dismiss Behavior
When you get in a dialog box, such as the one showing the time, the rest of the screen dims and there is one button: 'View'. There is no 'Cancel'. The dialog box disappears by itself after a few seconds. To get rid of it manually I have to click on an area of the screen outside of the dialog box. But what happens if I click right as the screen goes away? I launch whatever was on the part of the screen I clicked on.
- Some dialogs have a cancel button though (sorry, can't remember which ones) which means that if you follow the majority of the other buttons behaviors, you are likely to click outside the dialog to dismiss the dialog, but the outside is active with these guys so you end up doing whatever you click on.

No Back Click in Menus
The scroll wheel is useful, but when using it to navigate menus I cannot click 'back' on it to dismiss the menu.

No Undo In Address Book
Delete a digit in a phone number by mistake and it's gone forever.

Tiny Email Text Area
The header part of the email takes up about a third of the space on the screen when reading an email. And stays there, it doesn't scroll out of view.
- This should be re-designed to provide more reading space.

Email app doesn't support non-.com
I get errors every time I try to send an email to someone who'se domain ends in someting other than .com.

New Messge Access Time Waste
When I get a text message the notification in the status bar at the bottom on the screen can be clicked on. It reveals the different available messages SMS, MMS and email. The resulting dialog shows how many unread messages there are in each category and features a 'View' button. I cannot click directly on SMS for example. When I click on the right category of message and then the 'View' button the message Inbox is shown. I still have to click on the unread message.
- Why not just have one icon per message in the status bar at the bottom of the screen, click on one and have the most recent message open?

No application switcher.
If I am in one application, like Quickword for example, I cannot switch over to the To Do list for example and return to the same place in Quickword, I will have to re-launch the document I was in again.

Non-uniform menus.
The menus are not consistent. For instance, 'Select All' is in different menus. In the Pictures app it's in the pictures menu. In the File Manager it's in the File menu. In some apps, like Quickword, there is no 'Select All' option at all. 

Light setting.
The light on the screen cannot be set to behave differently when there is a keyboard attached etc,. making it hard to write on the device without having to often touch the screen. If it is set to last longer, it still doesn't last very long, and I have to go through a complicated set of procedures to change between light on and light on auto/energy saving.

Related - iSynch.
Just doesn't synch.





©2004 Frode Hegland @ www.liquidinformation.org