Sony Ericsson’s hugely popular P series has been an evolving line of phones on the Symbian platform. With every passing product, Sony have continuously taken it to the next level. So, welcome the latest addition to the P series, the P1i.
Looks and Build Quality
Out of the confines of the boxy shape of the earlier P series (I’ll bet that you could take one, throw it on the forehead of your most hated celebrity and they would be dead on the spot. Headshot!!), we move on to something more svelte. The P1i is a hybrid of the P990i and an M600i, but then, who’s complaining. If you’re asking me, this is THE ideal shape for a PDA. It has a beautiful aluminum/matte black finish. It weighs a light (well, light enough for a PDA anyway) 124g.
On the outside, its got a jog wheel and a return button at the left.On the right we have a shortcut key, the memory stick slot and the camera button. On the front, there’s a tinny VGA camera for video calls, and on the back, a 3.2MP camera.
Input and Output
The touchscreen is the primary interface. The one on this unit is a 2.6-inch transreflective unit with a resolution of 240×320 displaying 262k colours. It’s beautiful to say the very least and is quite readable in bright sunlight as well.
While you can use your fingers for the larger icons, some are a tad too small and will require dual handed operation by means of the stylus. Handwriting recognition is also quite good and I so wish this phone could check my answer papers, it always seems to understand my garish handwriting. Stick to the stylus, thats my advice, you just cant go wrong.
It’s also got a full QWERTY keyboard which is slightly weird if you are new to the format. Its got 2 letters on the same key. To get, for e.g. ‘Q’, rock the key to the left and for ‘W’ rock the key to the right. A bit confusing at first, but simple once you get used to it. You’ll appreciate the fact that it saves some space and makes the phone smaller,keys larger and hence easier to type. Very much unlike the P990i which required you to have fingers as small as those of a little baby to avoid touching the other keys. The feedback is also good.
The phone features a 208MHz processor with 128MB of RAM alongwith 256MB of ROM and 160MB of internal memory, which give it enough juice to power the applications. One thing I noticed on the phone was that, despite opening loads of applications in the background, the one which was in use showed little or no performance dip. Do this on a Nokia, and it’ll choke, splutter and eventually hang its boots up in no time at all. Goes to show that the phone is an effortless multi-tasker and also the fact that clock frequency isn’t the last word.
The battery is a Li-Ion 1120 mAh unit and is rated for up to 10 hours of talk time and 440hours of stand by time. In the real world, the battery would last a good 2 days if your usage is like one hour of talking, an hour of music playing, a few shots on the camera and some file transfer on the bluetooth. I’d say a third day too, but usage patterns may vary.
Business and Connectivity
The P serie have always been known for their seamless business productivity applications and this one continues the tradition.
Quickoffice, as always, works like a charm. You can create a QuickWord and a QuickSheet file (which are stored in the universal .doc and .xls format). You can also view (not create, mind) Powerpoint slides with the option to transfer the output to a projector. You also have a PDF reader, a note making application, a to-do application, a wonderful and effective business card scanner and the option to use BlackBerry Connect. What more could even a CEO need? And they can spare their real assistants with some work or better still, fire them. Who needs a live one who eats, gets sick and shows inconsistency, when you can get the P1i to organize your life for a tenth of the cost.
On the connectivity front, the phone offers GPRS, Wi-Fi 802.11b, 3G, USB 2.0 , Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP and IR. And this also happens to be the first SE phone to support iSync to connect with Macs.
I would have liked the phone to have quad-bands, PTT, GPS and 802.11g as well. That would have made the phone the best connected phone on the planet. But sadly, that isnt the case.
Entertainment and Multimedia
The phone is supposed to be a business phone but renders all multimedia applications with impeccable ease. It will play your video’s, music files with that Walkman-ish interface. It also has an FM player with a really neat looking interface.
To the back is also the speaker which delivers a pretty crisp output. If you’re playing high bitrate media, there is little or almost no distortion even at the highest volume. But, the provided earphones suck with a capital ‘S’. Your ears will hurt in no time and their sound quality is abbysymal. I’m disappointed with SE. They should have rather provided the HPM 75 in-earphones. At this price point who gives a damn to a few hundred rupees.
The phone also features TrackID. What this does is sample a portion of the music, send it back to the main database and gives you complete track info.
Coming to the camera, the 3.2MP unit is one of the best cell phone cameras around. The images produced are clear and crisp. But the camera interface needs to be tweaked a bit, it’s slightly confusing at times. I would have liked a Xenon flash though, the camera deserves it.
Here are some pics (Pics taken in Auto mode. No change in default settings.)
The video capture is nothing to write home about. It takes videos at 320×240 @ 15fps. Unimpressive.
And for killing your time, the phone offers 2 games, Quadra Pop and Vijay Singh golf. While the former is a brick game rip off, the latter is a really sweet looking golf game which shows off the processors true strength.
- Slim and Sleek
- Large screen
- Good camera
- Good multimedia support
- Excellent multi-tasking
- Choice of input options (wheel, stylus, keypad, touch screen)
- Bang for the buck
- No EDGE, PTT or GPS
- Not Quad Band
- Tacky camera interface
- Awkward keyboard takes time getting used to
- Horrid ear phones
What’s in the box? Docking stand, extra stylus, charger, P1-choice.com software voucher, USB cable, manual, SE PC suite CD, HPM-62 handsfree kit and a carrying case.
P1i latest price (as of 27/04/2009)
- India Rs. 16000/-
- USA $440
Conclusion : Mixing business and pleasure isnt exactly an easy job to do, but the P1i manages both with amazing alacrity. It takes both these tasks quite seriously, and I think it’s the best phone in this category because its strengths easily outshine its weaknesses.