As the rest of the world waits to
get their grubby mitts on the iPhone, there are always the
alternatives. The Sony Ericsson P1i features a touch screen, a music player and camera, but is most
definitely aimed at the business or power user.
The trouble with
most smartphones is that they aren't as smart as they think they are.
They have a lot of features but you end up either not using them or you
find them too cumbersome to use. This doesn't seem to be the case with
The phone itself is quite study and rugged for a modern
phone. Some would say that it is the true successor to Sony Ericsson's
M600i The brushed aluminium and black casing is pleasing to the eye and
to the hand. It almost reminds me of a Blackberry, with its qwerty
keyboard and jogdial at the side. But it is the touch screen that sets
it apart from most business communications devices.
touch screen is quite intuitive with a few applications available on
the home screen (which apparently uses the interface UIQ 3.1). The
screen is also responsive and accurate. Information on the screen is
reasonably to the point. You can see how many emails are in your inbox
as well as any voicemail and text messages you might have received.
Tapping on the screen with provided stylus is by far the easiest way of
navigating around the screen and the phone's applications.
The great thing about this phone is the wireless connectivity. Being
able to log onto our secured wireless network was relatively
straightforward, although you do have to manually re-connect to the
network every time you restart the phone.
Web browsing is also very good for a smartphone and our website appears
to render fairly well. Although, it doesn't show everything from a
website (ads disappear – good if you are a surfer, bad if you run a
website). As this is primarily a business phone, it has a lot of
business type applications and you can use the phone to access a
BlackBerry server (so we've been told). There is also a handy business
card scanner that comes with the phone and we must say that it works
quite well! Better than we expected.
The scanner uses the phone's camera function, which at 3.2 megapixels
takes reasonably good photos. There is also a music player so you can
listen to your tunes. As usual, you have to make do with the phone's
earphones which are at best passable. There is also an FM radio too.
The phone supports A2DP for stereo playback through the earphones. The phone also comes with 512MB memory stick.
The phone seems to have a reasonably good battery life (around two and
a half days) considering how much computing power is packed into its
106 x 55 x 17 mm frame. The call quality is really good and regardless
of which network we used (either GSM or 3G) the reception was clear.
If you want a decent smartphone and can't wait for the iPhone then this would be a decent alternative.