On the back of the P900 unit, you will find a camera lens and directly below it a very tiny mirror that you can use to frame self portrait photos. The battery door comprises most of the rear of the phone. As with most other GSM mobiles, the SIM card is located under the battery. There is an external antenna connector next to the lens which is protected by a tiny rubber cover that you can easily remove using the stylus. On the left side of the unit, you will find a stereo headset connector, a jog dial, IR port and the power button. On the right side of the P900, you will see a camera button that will activate the CommuniCorder application so you can take pictures or videos. Below the camera button is an Internet button that activates the browser. There is also a Memory Stick Duo slot on the right side.
The stylus solo is on the top and right of the P900, and the sync and charging ports are on the bottom of the unit. Unlike the P800, the P900 comes with a real stylus rather than the unergonomically designed pop-off plastic side rail that acted as a stylus.
What comes in the box?
The package includes the P900 smartphone, a 1260 mAh Li-Polymer battery, a SyncStation cradle, a travel charger, stereo ear-bud + mic headphones, a protective case with strap and belt clip, an extra stylus, a cover and screwdriver for replacing the built-in flip, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo card with an adapter that allows you to put the Duo into a regular size Memory Stick slot, a printed User manual and 2 CDs (one with PC Suite for syncing and the other one with Multimedia applications).
What are the basic phone features?
There are two modes of operation: keypad flip closed and flip open (or removed). In flip closed mode, you control the P900 like a traditional cell phone using the keypad and the jog dial. The display is not touch sensitive in this mode, which means you can not use the stylus to control the unit. When you move the jog dial, you will see icons scroll by for messages, contacts, call list, calendar and All Apps. You can navigate and activate these applications with your jog dial. When the flip is opened or removed, you can control the phone using the stylus and jog dial for a more PDA-like experience. You can dial calls using an on-screen virtual keypad.
The P900 has a full set of phone features that include profiles, voice dialing, voice answer (use “answer” or “busy” for incoming calls), call forwarding, call waiting, speaker phone, flight mode as well as personalized ringtones and a picture phone book. The ringtone support includes MP3, AMR, AU, iMelody, MIDI , RMF (Beatnik) and Wave files.
It also supports speed dialing using the keypad and dialing from the phone's address. Conference calls are supported for users who subscribe to that service.
As a security measure, the P900 provides you with the ability to restrict calls made from or to your device. You can set restrictions on roaming calls, international calls or all incoming or outgoing calls. The P900 also gives you the ability to lock the device with a code, lock the keypad to avoid accidental key presses and lock the screen to hide sensitive data.
Battery Life and RF
The P900 is a middle of the road in terms of reception. Using both T-Mobile and AT&T SIMs in northern California, we got between 2 and 3 bars of signal strength indoors. Call quality was always good, with no static, distortion or dropped calls, even when the signal meter was at 1 bar. Similarly, we were always able to get a GPRS connection in our area.
The battery life is excellent when running PIM, Internet, messaging and multimedia apps. We didn't get the claimed 16-hour talk time and 480-hour standby time, but the P900 outlasts most smartphones. Given the array of power-hungry features (Bluetooth, camera, large color display and fast processor) we were impressed with battery life, and only charged it every two or three days when making use of all features.
What are the “smart” features?
The P900 has an extensive set of features built into the device that makes it an excellent choice for productivity, connectivity and multimedia. For input in PDA mode, you've got JOT (handwriting recognition) and an on-screen keyboard. The personal information management (PIM) features include the usual suspects: Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Jotter (for jotting down notes). The document viewer works with Microsoft Office apps and PDF files. The Internet, email and messaging apps take care of your connectivity needs while movie player, image editor and music player provide a playground for your multimedia content. Sony Ericsson provides a very nice file manager interface with various shortcut buttons as well.
PIM and Office Apps
Contacts- There are many ways you can build, import and transfer contact records to or from your P900. You can sync the device with your Windows PC via Bluetooth or the USB connection on the SyncStation cradle using the included PC Suite software. PC Suite allows you to sync with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Organizer 5 & 6 and Lotus Notes 5.0 and 6. Mac users can sync using iSync under Mac OS X. You can also import contacts via Bluetooth, beam with IR, or save incoming phone numbers into your contacts. You can use the SIM card to store your Contacts database as well when you change phones, but the contacts on the SIM card won't be synchronized via PC Suite. You must move them to the internal memory for synchronizing with the PC. The Contacts database is well integrated with other features on your P900 so that you can use the records in the database for other phone features such as making calls, surfing web sites, sending emails, etc. The Contacts database has alphabetic tabs for quick access and you can sort the records in four different combinations. Very convenient!
Calendar- There are three views in the Calendar app: Day view, Week view and Month view. The interface on all three views is clean and easy to see, not fancy. When you set up new appointments you can specify the type of event, date, time, location and set up an alarm or repeat entry. Just like the Contacts records, you can sync and send or receive calendar items as well.
Tasks and Jotter- The Tasks application allows you to quickly create To-Do items and set due dates, priorities and alarms. You can send these To-Do items to other people via Bluetooth, text messaging, email, IR and move them to the Calendar to schedule reminders. The Tasks apps is integrated with Jotter so that you can write down notes for your tasks. The Jotter is an on-screen writing recognition program where you can write normally on the empty area and the program will digitize your writing. The handwriting recognition works very well and is very fast to digitize letters. If you launch Jotter directly (as opposed to using the one in Tasks), you can even draw pictures in your notes. Both Tasks and Jotter items can be synchronized to your desktop PC.
Document Viewer- The Viewer program allows you to view MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat PDF documents. If you have files stored on your P900 or the Memory Stick Duo, they will show up on the list in the Viewer. You can open, copy, rename or delete these files, but you cannot edit these documents. For a full-featured Office suite solution that does allow you to edit Office docs, check out Quickoffice by Mobile Electronics.
Synchronize and back up- There are two ways you can synchronize the information on your P900. Using PC Suite you can sync your device with your desktop PC, install new software, as well as back up and restore your P900 via SyncStation. You will need to go through a quick installation process using the PC Suite CD included in the package to set up the synchronization, back up and restore data functions. You can also synchronize your P900 over the air using GPRS service. You will need to set up the Remote Sync preferences with a valid account and you will probably need info from your IT folks to get through your corporate firewalls and sync servers.
Internet- The P900 comes with an integrated browser labeled Internet that does quite a decent job of rendering web pages. This built-in browser supports HTML, WML, WBXML, xHTML basic and mobile profile, cHTML, WAP (version 2.0), WCSS stylesheets, SSL/TLS and WTLS Class 1, 2, 3 for secure web pages. Cache: 15-120K user-configurable with 30K as default. It also has Java support. You can bookmark web pages, save web pages to read while offline, view push content such as stock quotes, weather reports, etc., and you can view web pages in full screen mode. You can use the jog dial to scroll the pages. If you wish to get a browser that supports even more features, check out Opera, which is available for free on Sony Ericsson's web site.
Messaging- The P900 messaging apps support three types of messages: SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multimedia Message Service) and email messages. The Message app puts all the messages in one place and provides a centralized account set up and management window. Before you can receive and send messages, you must set up appropriate accounts for each type that you use. MMS supports GIF, JPG, BMP, WBMP and PNG formats for images, AMR, AU, iMelody, MIDI and Wav for audio messages and MP4 for video messages. Email support includes POP3, IMAP4, SMTP, and SMTP authentication, SSL-encrypted IMAP4 and SMTP for secured emails. You can also receive and send attachments.
Bluetooth- The P900 has a built-in Bluetooth radio that allows you to use the device with other Bluetooth enabled devices and accessories. To turn on/off and pair the device, launch the Control Panel and click on the Connections tab. The Bluetooth connections manager on the device also allows you to set visible/invisible to other Bluetooth devices for security. The P900 easily discovers our Bluetooth PDAs, access point, desktop PCs and Bluetooth headsets. We tested the device with NextLink Bluespoon headset, Logitech Mobile Bluetooth Headset and Anycom HS 700 Bluetooth Headset and found all worked well with the P900. You can synchronize via Bluetooth to your computer as well. We use a Belkin Bluetooth adapter on our PC, and it works well with the P900 Bluetooth. We paired the P900 with a Sony Clie UX50 and used the phone as a wireless modem for the Clie without a problem (it worked with both the Generic GSM and SE T610 scripts and AT&T service).