Review: P800 First Impressions


A first look at the P800 by Kurt White

Author: Sony Ericsson

Version Reviewed: -

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So I have my new P800 and have been playing with it now for a couple of days and I have some first impressions to share. First off I give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and the not perfect rating is based solely on software and integration. Physically, the unit is near flawless. About the only thing that is lacking is the digital camera. I would not consider this any more than a novelty item at this point and not (as I was hoping) a dedicated digital camera replacement. One aspect that I would like to try (and will shortly) would be to use the memory stick duo and the adapter inside of a Sony digital camera and see if I can get the files to be viewed/emailed from my P800. This, for me would be an acceptable compromise and allow me to send decent digital photos from the field.

The next area I would like to touch on is the OS within in the phone. All in all it is pretty good, but with some quirks that I think could be ironed out. The first such quirk is the character recognition. It is very good and very accurate, but not so intuitive, especially if you are transitioning from the Palm OS. “i”’s and “t”s are among the most frustrating as you must dot every “i” and cross every “t”, literally. Otherwise you get a lot of “L’s and single quotation marks. Some of the punctuation marks are not as intuitive as well. It would be awesome if there was a way to customize some of these letters to work better with ones own shorthand.

Next up are some of the general phone functions. I am still discovering all of the ins and outs of operating the phone. One thing that I miss from my previous Ericsson’s (T39 being the latest) was the ease of which I was able to change profiles. I am often changing the ringing volume and call forwarding. The P800 does this, but not as efficiently as before. One other quibble I have is with the built in ring tones. For people that enjoy musical melodies, they are great; however I need an ear-piercing ring so that I can hear it and distinguish it when I am on a job site. I miss the days of my T28’s flight of the bumble bee (about as shrill and annoying as one could get). An interesting ring tone choice on the P800 is the old fashioned analogue bell (although still not loud enough).

The next bit of improvement could come in the desktop syncing software. It works fine with my Outlook and is reasonably quick and completely thorough in syncing all data fields except one: categories. One thing I have to give kudos to is that the P800 is the first phone that allows me to send all 2000+ of my contacts to it and have room to spare, which finally allows me to get rid of my Palm. But in doing so, it does not sync to more than one folder, nor does it sync categories. This is something that I find odd since the P800 allows for multiple folders on it. Hopefully some 3rd party vendor will come up with a slightly better solution.

Now the good stuff. This is truly a phenomenal phone. Physically it is very well designed and comfortable to use. I have pretty much poked and prodded everything on it and all is very well constructed and has a very good tactile feel. I have yet to remove the flip, for fear that my harsh hands may cause some damage and that without the cover, the exposed screen could suffer. The flip is pretty good and the software works well with it. One thing some people will have to get used to is that you don’t have to open the flip to make a standard phone call. When doing so, one activates the speaker phone and with the flip closed most of the most commonly used features are still available. Some other nice touches are the one touch access to the communicam and to the internet browser. And as for the browser, this is the first phone that I have had with one, and I don’t know how I lived without it. The screen on the P800 is truly amazing. The best I have seen of any device of this size. And thanks for the link to the WAP configuration site. Quick and easy set up to get it to work with voicestream/t-mobile.

Some other comments on the physicality of the phone. The sync station is nice, however it does require an external power supply for charging. It would be nice if it used power from the USB port. One other item of note: the duo slot is a bit quirky on my phone, the memory stick does not always want to stay in one you first push it in, but one in it stays. The phone itself is pretty durable. I have already dropped it and it suffered no damage (although the battery compartment flew open and spilled out the battery.

Some of the next experimentation will be with finding software for it as well as seeing if I can get it to sync via Bluetooth or with a Mac (sorry the included software does not work with a Mac). I also really want a larger memory stick so that I can get more MP3’s in it. The MP3 player works and sounds great and would like to use it more. It even works well with just the built in speaker, which can get fairly load for music; lets see if I can get it to do the same with ringtones.

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