Strong Late Starter

The P990i is the first smart phone from Sony Ericsson with Wi-Fi and UMTS.The test shows whether the latecomer can keep up with the competitors Nokia and T-Mobile.

Originally, the mobile PDA P990i should come already at the market in early 2006 and heat up the competition with features such as UMTS, W-LAN, 2-megapixel camera or the renovated UIQ 3.0 user interface.

T-Mobile Vario II and Nokia’s E61 offer same facilities already almost. In the test, we show whether the P990i belongs already to the old iron or whether there is Sony Ericsson the “P” for “Perfect” is.

Phone Features: Small Weaknesses In The Test

The Sony Ericsson P990i provides telephone comfort at first glance. Small blocks are missing on the exact look. Data functionality, it turns out more “up to date”.

Phone functions
The P990i has nothing on the hat–airplane mode for the funk-free usage on the plane with environment profiles, that’s it. A small for many but relevant vulnerability for the PDA phone by Sony Ericsson.

Our P990i also not recording telephone conversations and groups can be created in the phone book only for the common SMS sending. You can assign individual contacts, ringtones or pictures.

The trumps stuck somewhere else. The P990i provides enough space in a thick address book with umpteen information fields for each contact. It supports voice dialing, offers an antenna connection and works as a tri-band device in the United States. Good also the organizer with an attractive calendar and good event management we liked in the test. The P990i for video calling is good thanks to UMTS.

Message functions
Email-push only optionally supports as P990i. Otherwise, the Smartphone features, message leaves no wish unfulfilled. Incoming SMS, MMS and email bundle in a user’s Inbox. The P990i in the test could also handle email attachments easily.

Data functions
USB 2.0 (full speed), Bluetooth 2.0 including the advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) for wireless stereo headphones-the P990i gives all current data interface.Some notebook owners will be pleased: Sony Ericsson has not waived infrared also.Fleet Internet access worked in the test via UMTS or Wi-Fi standard 802.11 b (up to 11 MBit/s). For the development stage of g (up to 54 MBit/s), it has not sold despite perpetual tinkering on the P990i. Completes the data functions with a good Web browser that can handle frames and JavaScript are.

PDA/Multimedia: With Scanner

Don’t miss out the Office functions at the P990i. Music fans access to MP3 player or FM radio, photography, there’s a 2-megapixel camera with auto focus.

PDA functions
The P990i clearly entered the test with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF formats. En route, you can edit text documents and tables cost estimates on the pre-loaded Quickoffice. PDF files can at least consider themselves. You do not have on a voice recorder also. As a highlight, there is a card scanner: scan business cards with the P990i camera, the unit stores the data directly as a new contact. That worked reasonably well.

Nevertheless, we have points of criticism: the alarm only works if the P990i is turned on. The comparison with Outlook enthusiasts in the test bit. Although the software was quickly installed on the XP machine. Easily 1,000 test contacts, using the USB cable after about three and a half minutes, landed in the P990i. Also via Bluetooth and infrared, it worked reliably, lasted just longer. When synchronizing appointments, tasks, notes and email zickte our equipment however and did not take the data-despite fresh the test computer. Where the problem lies, we could not clear up to now.

Multimedia features
The 2-megapixel camera with auto-focus pretty rapidly triggered in our P990i. The test shots (see Photo Gallery) make a good impression for a mobile camera in this class, they are sharp and color fidelity. Videos turns the P990i in CIF-format (352 x 288 pixels) and is playing almost smoothly. Downloaded or streamed videos run something round about the clear touchscreen.

Music player with equalizer
Also music lovers don’t miss out at Sony Ericsson, you find a solid music player as well as an FM radio with RDS support to display the station name. It supports ID3 tags, playlists and can be adapted via a 5-band tone controls with umpteen presets to listen preferences. The sound using the included headset is okay. You can edit by the way about appointments thanks to multitasking support.

Great: In just four seconds our test-MP3 (just under 3 MB) was transferred from the XP computer to your Smartphone via USB cable–direct, via plug -and-play. Upon delivery, 83 MB (mobile plus memory card) were free to fill available. Who wants to extensively use the music player, comes to the purchase of a memory stick Pro Duo aren’t around. There’s also the adapter to plug headsets only optional.

Practice: Full Keyboard With Luminosity

At the P990i, Sony Ericsson continues to shut up. However, the full keyboard was newly placed and also reveals important new features in the menu.

Handling and display
How the P910i the P990i also offers many possibilities for one – and two-hand operation: mobile phone keypad on the flap side built-in steering wheel, pen input, handwriting recognition, QWERTY keyboard. However, Sony Ericsson has tinkered at the most controls.

So is the key mat on the back instead of behind the flap just below the display. In the test proved: with this solution, the user has the P990i when typing much better grip. Although fails by less than the touch screen. He offers still ample room for movies, documents or emails. The high resolution (320 x 240 pixels) provides a clear representation-we find a good compromise.

The typewriters keys responded when our P990i crisp and precise. Only the small, square keys heads for easy typing are too close together. The bright blue lighting convinced about it. Anders on the mobile phone keypad, whose narrow keypad we us also only had to get used to. The pen input via the touch screen worked well but we would have liked that the software would have reacted faster to our actions. A really sluggish pace of work shows the test device but only on reboot: after less than a minute, it is ready for use again.

User Guide
The new operating system Symbian 9.1 in the P990i brings mainly a revised menu structure with UIQ 3.0 user interface. It has clearer than its predecessor in the P910i and proved to be as clever in the test. Who wants to save some way through the tremendous facilities, can put important applications for direct access to the four points of the control button (mobile phone keypad) or in the specific shortcut menu.

Nevertheless. In the test slipped us initially just a “Huh?” from the lips. Several drop-down lists with many options, Task Manager, arrows here, symbols and register or “Tabs” there-this required first an orientation phase.

Annoying for those who already have a predecessor: who has fed the with many programs, can not use them on the P990i. The Symbian 9.1 version is not backwards compatible.

Acoustic
The clarity was good, the sound at the P990i Sony Ericsson could screw but still. He suffered small dropouts in the test call, had a treble-heavy and dull. The same image was also in the conversation partner on a landline. Many dropouts poor also in handsfree mode.

Conclusion: The Wait Was Worthwhile

Sony Ericsson P990i catapulted themselves right off the bat in the top 5 in our test ranking for smartphones. Above all thanks to its facilities, it proves true successor of the disused P910i.

The refurbished P990i tired features. It caters to business users with many data, PIM and Office functions. Multimedia-friends may have about the 2-megapixel camera to be happy with auto focus and a solid music player. The clear and relatively large touch screen will appeal to all.On top of that makes the new Symbian UI UIQ 3.0 for a new, clever menu structure that is also getting.

The Full keyboard provides a good pressure point. It is too small but for longer tip work and close down. This includes our test device showed deficiencies in the Outlook synchronization with the XP machine. Telephone functions, it shows that more gaps, so environment profiles are missing. Odds and ends, where a top mobile phone from Sony Ericsson actually not should wolves.

Alternative
Who wants even more data power under the hood of its smartphones, should take a look on the T-Mobile MDA Vario II throw. It works with Windows and also supports the faster HSDPA UMTS technology.