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Review SonyEricsson P910

Sony Ericsson P910, live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Smartphone
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Cradle
  • 2 CD with software
  • Chamois rag
  • Case
  • MS Duo 32 Mb
  • Extra stylus
  • Manual

The phone with a code name Layla became famous long time before official announcement. First pictures were made based on the words of people who saw the phone several days before smartphones announcement, first official pictures also appeared in the Internet.

As a passing product the P910 is interesting by its features, let us try to review all of them. It is necessary to understand its predecessor Sony Ericsson P900 was and remains the most advanced smartphone on the market by functions, and that it why it was taken as a base of the new P910. The same situation was with P800 and P900. I recommend you to read the review of P900 if you are not acquainted with this product, because in this review we will speak only about differences between two models, we are not going to describe all functions of the phone in details.

The phones design was slightly changed, the phone became lighter, one can see it if compares P900 and P910. The digital keypad on the removable flip became different. It has similar design to K700 and other last models of the company. In our opinion the new keypad is more convenient because of larger keys size.

If you compare P900 and P910, you will not see many differences; even the dimensions of both phones are the same. The main difference is the flip, but you need to open it to understand it. The first impression after using the P900 is not very pleasant; you need to make a small effort to open the flip. The spring, which helped you in the P900, is absent in the new model. But now you can notice a QWERTY keypad on the inner side of the flip. The keys are very small and closely spaced to each other. It seems that the keypad is not very convenient at first sight, but in reality it is not so. Even people with large hands dont have any problems with this keypad. Just take the phone with two hands (the flip is reliable, the hanging phone will not broken in this position) and begin text typing. The speed of this text typing is comparable with the text typing on the touchscreen. You can select which variant you prefer most. I think it is more convenient to use the keypad on the move or in the public transport, where it is difficult to use the touchscreen. This keypad is an excellent extra way of text input. Do not forget that today P910 is the only device which supports all ways of data input (touchscreen, usual digital keypad, QWERTY keypad). There are no other models which have all these possibilities.

I know that admires of other brands will speak that it is possible to switch larger and more convenient external keypads to several smartphones. It is really so, but you will need to spend extra money to purchase this keypad. The second shortcoming, namely the profile of smartphones, is not so obvious. These devices are mostly used to display information, keep data, transport them but not input large volumes of data. Smartphones owners can input a new contact, some important but small phrases, short answers on e-mails. Thus, we consider that appearing of the keypad is an alternative to a touchscreen, besides it is targeted to small users group which really needs this accessory (on reality there are only few of them).

Video clip with the example of text input using QWERTY-keypad (AVI, 7.4 Mb)

Sony Ericsson is not going to produce a full-size keypad for the P910. It means that other third companies will offer such kind of accessory very soon. Technically it is very easy to create the keyboard for the P910 (the flip can be easily removed, all contacts are well-known). But do you really need a full-size keyboard having touchscreen and internal keypad? Lets wait and see the future sales of such devices, I think that they wont be high.

It is assumed that they will be 5 modifications of the P910 with different keypads (languages on QWERTY-keypad). Unfortunately, it is impossible to place characters of two languages on the keypad. Several kinds of localization are available - QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, Russian and Greek.

Many users expected that the P910 would be equipped with 1 mega-pixel camera, but the company refused to do it to have more possibilities in the future. The next model also should attract users by several new features. VGA-camera of the P910 is not a copy of the camera in the P900, rather it is more similar to the camera in K700. The quality of VGA-pictures became a little bit higher, though it is difficult to see the difference between them on the screen of the smartphone. You can see several pictures taken by the P900 and P910 below.

  • The picture taken by P900, the same one, taken by 910
  • The picture taken by P900, the same one, taken by 910

At the first sight the screen in the P910 remains the same, it has the same dimensions and the same resolution. You will not see any differences in the color rendering of the picture until you place two phones near each other. In this case you will notice all advantages of the P910, the picture on this phone looks brighter, it is more vivid. It is not a considerable difference of the phone, just a slight improvement. The manufacturer claims that the screen is capable to support up to 262000 colors. Id like to comment this announcement. The display of the P910 can not be comparable with the screen in Samsung D410 (262K), the latter one has much better display. We can say the same about the other usual phones, for example, models from Samsung, Motorola (even with 65K displays). But if you compare smartphones (for example, Nokia), you will immediately notice all advantages of Sony Ericsson. None of the smartphones has such brightness of the display and excellent color rendering (all products from Nokia and Motorola are worse by this feature). This comparison will be more logical, we cant compare P910 with usual phones.

The information on the display of the P910 is more visible in a sunny day than on the screen of its predecessor.

Now let us turn to the inside part of the phone, which remains the same from the technical point of view, only the RAM was increased. 64 Mb is now available for the user instead of 16 Mb. There is also an extra memory card (32 Mb in the standard kit), theoretically the phone is capable to support up to 1Gb memory cards. Standard memory pool will be enough for most of users to solve their tasks (though if you need an mp3-player, it is better to purchase 128 Mb MMC cards and even larger).

The battery remained the same in the phone, although a new memory capacity and ameliorated screen seemed to imply less duration time. I was surprised to see that this was not the case. Having used P900 and P910 simultaneously with the equal amount of made calls, I discovered that the working time turned out to be almost the same. That is quite an advantage for this model since the new function could totally have a negative effect on the energy consumption. Luckily, that did not happen.

In some way, the new interface might be the key to this. The user will see a new interface (UIQ 2.1) with the altered rows of icons; the differences are noticed right away. The menu became more fitting for the everyday use; you save you energy now while working with it. For example, the bonus scroll lines were rejected for some of the screen so that all the information can fit the screen now.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to find out whether P900 would support the new interface and it would be possible to download it. Careful and thought through answers coming from the specialist say that the introduction of this novelty would be possible. Many details are not revealed still.

The range of the offered programs and applications from the additional disk was traditionally expanded. Among the most useful ones, the utilities for review of the documents such as MSWord, MS Excel, PDF Reader should be highlighted. Some of the other programs, that do not call for such excitement, are Avantgo (reading of the saved web-pages), Media Viewer (the direct access to the news, to Financial Times, for example), and Promyzer (the data base on stock-exchange ratings and trade in shares in the real time mode).

One of the noteworthy programs is HP Runestone that allows you to print out messages, images, calendars and memos from the phone book on the HP printers that support the Bluetooth technology. Now all you have to do is to send the needed information to the printer and get it in the hard copy in less that one minute.

Wayfinder recorded on the CD is also found in the delivery kit. Wayfinder is the automobile navigation system showing the automobiles way on the map; the program is connected to the GPS-receiver with the Bluetooth interface. In the nearest future, P910 may become a serious rival to the smarphones under the guidance of Microsoft, which are primarily used in the navigation systems.

The Opera browser, that is not needed to be introduced to the reader, is also included into the kit. This is a de-facto standard for the mobile devices today. The rejection of these browsers of the Nokia Company seems to be a serious mistake.

The new RIM BlackBerry support, which is a standard form for mail messages very popular in North America, is a great shot for Sony Ericsson. Today, P 910 supports the maximum number of technologies. Here is a short list of them-Smartner, IBM, Extended Systems, Visto, RIM BlackBerry, Seven, and IntelliSync.

Impressions and conclusions

Taking into account that during all the time of its existence P900 was and still is the most powerful smartphone among all the ones offered on the market, it would be fair to suggest that P910 would also be of success. As a user of P900, I do not see what to substitute my phone with P910; the new model is rather to appeal new users having offered a new functional level (as compared to the rivals). It is difficult to talk of rivals in the case of P910 since they actually do not exist; presently there is no phone with similar abilities on the market and it is not likely to appear any time soon. This allows saying that the pricing of P910 would remain in its stable and rather high level during one year and a half after its entrance to the market. The price would be 550-600 Euros, which is comparable to the price of P900 after its emergence. P910 should be expected in the middle of September; the production of this model was started in the factories of the company in July. Three versions of the smartphone are to be expected:

  • P910i Three bands: 900/1800/1900 Mhz
  • P910c Three bands: 900/1800/1900 Mhz for the continental part of China
  • P910a Three bands: 850/1800/1900 Mhz for North and Latin Americas

The appearance of P910 should influence the decrease of the price of P900 by 100-130 Euros. This immediately makes the cost of the phone 375-425 Euros (460-510 dollars). By the end of the year 2004, the cost of P900 should become minimum (approximately 400 dollars) and the phone will vanish form the market. I can actually acknowledge that such a radical price fall may not happen and the leftovers of P900 would be all bought for the higher prices before the price fall. As for now, in Russia only the demand for P900 is realized by 15% from the overall price, which talks of the smartphones popularity.

One of the biggest advantages of P910 is that it is manufactured on the base P900. This implies right away a big amount of applications (somewhat 600 at the moment of this review writing), the stable functioning of the operating system and the minimal problems number of problems. The model is almost perfect for the first smartphone; will suit everybody looking for great functioning and convenience of the device.

P.S. It would seem at first that the minor changes in the new smartphone should not call for much attention. However, this is exactly the evolutionary development that shows gradually that the product from Sony Ericsson is very close to ideal. It would be a bit strange of me to marvel at the model reminding so much of P900 that I have been using for a long time. However, for the fledglings in this field, the model would be the realization of almost unreachable dream. This is the most impressive smartphone out of all the existing ones (I can prove this fact at the request!)

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova, Maria Kapustina (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 15 July 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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