Sony Ericsson P900 review
Nov 4, 2003

I have been using the Sony Ericsson P800 daily for almost one year now, and had high expectation of what its successor could be capable of. I have finally been able to get my hands on the new model, but be ware that the P900 unit in my possession not was the final product. Therefore, some features may distinguish with the box you can buy at your local mobile phone distributor. I do not think it is possible to write a review of the Sony Ericsson P900 without pointing out the two models and many features are compared against the P800.

Placemet of buttons are the same as on the P800.
(Click to enlarge).

Improvements over the Sony Ericsson P800
Some of the new features found in the P900 compared to the P800 are: better screen (65536 colours), lighter and smaller, 48 MB memory (16MB available to user) compared to 32 MB (12MB for user) in the P800, new flip, T9 text input when flip is closed, video recording, MMS preview in full screen mode, MP3 files as ring tones, new MP3 player, File Manager application, themes, FTP transfer method with Bluetooth.

One of the first things you notice about the P900 is the robustness of the exterior. On the P800, there was room for an extra SIM-card or Memory Stick duo between the battery and the back cover. Because of this extra space it was possible to bend the back cover slightly if force was used. There is no room for extra cards on the P900 because the back cover is sitting very tight to the battery. My guess is that both models are made of the same material, but the P900 feels more solid than the P800. Maybe I should blame the rough one-year usage, but the P800 feels a little bit squeak compared to the brand new P900.

Placemet of buttons are the same as on the P800

The familiar four Internet, power, camera and jog buttons are placed on the exact same location as on the P800. Some of them are more sensible and easier to use with my male keyboard fingers. The Jog Dial is easier to roll because of the more sharpened wheel tags. P900's camera button feels easier to click due to a different layout.

I have worn out one of the P800 stylus, but have been lucky enough to never loose one of them and have never used other stylus then one included in the box. One major drawback with the position of the P900 stylus is that it is not possible to release it with one hand. You will need real fingernails to remove the stick from the holster and this was never a problem with the P800. Despite this problem, I find the round form of the P900 stylus very pleasant to use. The P900 preview unit I tested did not have any way to calibrate the stylus with the display. Hopefully the commercial P900 release will have this option, or even better; be calibrated correctly before shipment. Because of the wrong calibration I had to click above what I wanted on elements located to the top of the display, and click further down on elements at the bottom.

Comfortable keypad on the P900

The new Sony Ericsson P900 keypad is comfortable to use. The keys look small but the feeling is good in use. The Sony Ericsson P900 number keys are slightly larger than the P800 keys and this makes it easier to type in fast. T9 (predictive text) is something P800 owners are missing, and it is a satisfying surprise to see that this essential function is embedded into the P900. Another good reason to keep the flip attached to the phone. While the P800 keypad has a plastic look and feel, the P900 hardware feels constant and solid. The reason for this is because you don't have to push the buttons onto the display. The P900 does have a touch screen that only the stylus should touch. While the only tool needed to remove the P800 flip was the stylus, you will need the included screwdriver to remove the flip from the P900.

A 65536 colour display makes the P900 better to look at in some applications. While viewing standard items like text or menu items, you won't notice much difference from the P800 in regards to number of colours. Some of the icons are modified slightly, but they are still only using a couple of diverse colours. It is in the picture, video and game applications you'll notice most of the improved display capabilities.

Comparison of the P900 and P800 screen
The display is clearer and the contrast is very good. The P800 display still very good compared to other phone models, but the P900 is better. And with the smaller flip more of the nice screen is visible to the user. 208x208 pixels are now visible compared to 208x144 on the P800 model. The 64 extra pixels make room for 3-4 more lines of text.

The last thing to report about the exterior of the P900 mobile phone is the rubber covering the headset socket. This is a very irritating and time-consuming thing to remove every time I want to use the headset. I like to use the stereo headset because it is two ear speakers keeping background noise out. I use the P800 with the headset when I'm in the office, but remove them every time I am going out. I usually forget to plug in the headset before someone calls and with the P900 this will take 3-4 seconds when the rubber protection has to be removed first. You will need fingernails for this operation as well.

I haven't been able to test the battery performance on this unit. It was only used two days before I got my hand on it and the included battery was of the older P800 type (1000mAh). The P900 you will buy in the shop will have a 1260mAh battery. Both batteries are called BST-15.