View Full Version : SonyEricsson P990 / P990i Review

10-10-2006, 07:16 PM
I thought I'd be reviewing this much sooner, but I went back and forth when it came to this phone, now you'll have my experience with it. I've been using this constantly for a day now and I'll mention everything I can think of.

I've been a fan of SE's P series phones for quite a while now. I've been buying every model thats ever been released from day one. Everybody should know that I'm a supporter of the devices since I released OSX.SE for them. They are truely marvelous and I've always had the often glance as if to say "oohh I want that". The P990 though doesn't feel the same.

What are the possible reasons for this?
1) Many phones released at the moment are going to the slim factor. Although the P990 is almost the same dimensions as the P900/P910, it does look a bit clunky because of the curves. I prefered the P900 design myself.

2) There are many PDA style devices on the market, people don't realize that there are different systems with different advantages.

3) The P series is a device recognized for being ahead of it's time. The P990 however, seems out-dated.

4) The plastic used although solid, doesn't look durable (although it is).

Alright, we now know why some people may not find the P990 appealing. So what about the reasons why it IS the device for you?
It is a great 3G device. With Wifi equiped you can really do what you want to do online. It's a fully loaded PDA device for those who want to keep track of their lives and want to have the chance to expand. Sadly, the latest version of UIQ (the system that the P series runs off of) doesn't have alot of applications. That's alright though since the library is expanding constantly.

The box is exactly how the other P Series boxes looked like. They are thin cardboard and have everything packed neatly. It does look professional but I expect more from an expensive device.

Alright, lets open the box. Inside, everything is wrapped in plastic and you have your cds and documents in another small box inside. So far so good.

It feels great to hold. It feels high quality, the keyboard feels nice and the keypad feels just as I like. I always liked the P900 keypad over the P910 keypad. I just wish the backlight was another color. Due to it's curves it does feel thicker than the P910. Ah well.

The P series isn't just a business mobile phone. It can truely be a small media center. You can watch clips, listen to music and install alot of games (I recommed Scumm).

The design incorporates some metal and plastic. The keypad is metal and the keyboard is rubber. There are hardly any lose parts and the buttons feel spongy to press.

The scroll wheel has changed. It doesn't 'click' when you press it. It is very spongy to press. It is actually easier to use but there is no tactile response.

The screen is very very nice. The images are vibrant and very smooth. The brightness could be better because using it in a bright day causes the screen to look extremely dim.

I want to mention that switching on the phone for the first time takes a while. (THIS IS NORMAL!) So don't worry.

The new UI system is also something that takes a while to love. I feel that it is not as easy as the old UIQ system. Maybe it is because I got used to it. I'm a fast learner, and this takes a while to get used to. There are also a few other 'missing features' which I will mention.
The icons look nice and everything is sharp in flip open mode. I did notice that when the flip is closed, the icons look pixelated when you scroll over them. I think this is a graphic glitch. The themes do not look as great as they lead you to believe they will look with the old screenshots. I mean, they don't change the icons and whatnot. That is a pitty. I've created an OSX theme at the moment which I tried to make look pretty good.

While on the subject of the UI, I want to mention that I wish it was a bit faster. So far it seems to lag a bit. Perhaps they're doing this on purpose so that the P1000 will great.

The 2 MP camera has a fast refresh rate and is indeed very nice because of the huge full screen view. It's a pitty that it doesn't have more megapixels. Pictures don't focus well at far objects, that was a big pitty. I'll post photos to show how they look. The system makes it look like a nice digital camera. It doesn't look like a normal camera at all. You have the usual special effects and frames to mess with. Pictures do look very nice on the phone. I've yet to transfer any, I hope to add some soon though. You can change shutter sound, zoom sound, frames, effects, size, etc... The usual.

The speaker is not loud at all, it is VERY annoying! You can't enjoy watching clips or hearing music. You could even say that it is not acceptable. Perhaps they want you to use the headphones? I don't know.

The hard buttons are usefull for locking, and the 'internet' button on the side of the phone can be customized. That is something that has always been available.

The led at the top of the phone does NOT flash! That annoyed me alot! I LOVE the flashing led. Sadly, it only lights up when you charge...

Yes there is speaker phone option.
Yes you can choose vibrate and ring and the same time.
Yes you can select custom ringtones.
Yes you can select custom text message tones.

Now I've covered the basics and given you all the story, I'll mention a few of the specs.

80 MB internal memory, memory stick duo support.
900/1800/1900 Triband UMTS
Features: mp3 player, bluetooth, PC Sync, Sound recording, radio
2MP Camera
Screen: 262K internal screen
System: UIQ3
Sound: one speaker.
Main feature: pocket office.
Battery Life Talk: 9 hours (540 minutes)
Standby: 400 hours (10.8 days)
Bluetooth 3G and Wifi

Alright, what's in the box? You get the charger, headphones, dock, 64mb memory stick, usb cable, screw driver, extra stylus, little peice to for flip removed mode, hand strap, battery cover, battery, and syncing cd.

When you first switch it on, you see a smooth animation and the phone automatically searched for the appropriate settings, if not available, it'll set the default.

The phone only comes in one colour at the moment. It's silver.

As mentioned, the keypad is great. It's nice to press, and the keypad backlight is even. All is well.

The phone switched off while in my pocket a couple of times, it's odd. I don't know what could be doing that since the power button is on the top.

Sound Quality on the phone is great. No thinness of bass, no tinny sound, no problems that I could notice. As mentioned, the volume is just too low.

Video was actually pretty good. It was smooth and didn't show much pixelation. It only accepts small video sizes though which is odd. So viewing full screen will pixelate.

Calendar, tasks, notes, secret memo, alarms, timer, stopwatch, record sound, calculator and world times, and a few games. It has ALL the PDA functions you'd expect.

The phone book is nice and simple. A few taps and you're away.

Also known as the Control Panel. Anything is accessible. From brightness of the screen to sound quality.
You are able to change skins, wallpapers, ring tones, and even the sound the phone makes when you dial a number, switch the phone on, or cycle through menus.

Fast bluetooth.
Large screen.
Alot of possible support

Radio needs to have headset to work
hard to see screen in bright light
UI is a bit slow
Feels chunky
2MP Camera

My verdict? It's battery holds on long enough for me, it looks nice, has a great screen. It has all of the usual bells and whistles and looks professional. I've had NO freezes or shut downs, but time may change that.

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Here's a bunch of pics.

10-10-2006, 07:17 PM

10-10-2006, 07:18 PM

I also feel that people's experiences maybe exaggerated when it comes to complaints because I've had no problems so far.

11-10-2006, 03:12 PM
I'd be interested to know what you mean by 'small' video. I've had mp4 video encoded at 320 x 240 mp4 running full screen with no major problems, although there is a significant lag waiting for the file to actually play.


11-10-2006, 11:24 PM
I attempted to convert a video to the correct full res but it simply would refuse to play back.

Upon reading other people's reviews, they've had the same experiences.

Again, it could be buggy firmware.

Encoding them in smaller resolutions worked fine.