Sony Ericsson P1i Review - Whip-smart Shooter

By: Darren Evans

Sony Ericsson's highly-regarded P-series smartphones have long been the device of choice for many looking for an all-in-one office solution, especially those not looking for a Windows Mobile device. The Sony Ericsson P1i is the latest addition to the range.

With the P1i, Sony Ericsson looks to be consolidating this position and branching out further by adding increased functionality and some additional features that may establish the P1i as a full multimedia device as opposed to just a highly-competent smartphone.

Though the P1i weighs in at a hefty 120g, the overall feel is of a very sturdy, well-built handset with very-good proportions. Design wise, the first thing that will catch your eye is the unusual structure of the keypad. Though it is a full QWERTY keypad on the P1i, there isn't one key assigned to every letter. Instead, to save space Sony Ericsson has used the half-QWERTY keypad. In this case each key represents 2 letters with the letter located on either the left or right of the key and a small dip in the middle of each key.

In practise this is a very awkward solution as ease of use in many other aspects of this handset is a very strong-point, but definitely not with the keypad. Whilst the majority of the keypad is raised, for some reason the bottom row of keys is not and (strangely) this feels easier than the raised keys that are employed elsewhere.

With the rest of the control layout any other worries over ease of use are put to rest as there are numerous options in controlling the device and these are very user-friendly. One feature that P-Series veterans will be pleased to see is the 3-way Jog-dial on the left-side of the device which enables easy-scrolling through the menus. This works perfectly well and coupled with the responsive touch-screen there doesn't seem to be much need for stylus' in PDA smartphones anymore, especially when the alternative control options are so much more user-friendly (barring of course the awkward keypad design).

The 3.2 MP camera is also worth a mention as it can be favourably compared to dedicated cameraphones such as the K800i. Coming with auto focus and flash, it is probably fair to say that the P1i is well-equipped enough to trounce all other smartphones in the imaging department.
Though the lack of Xenon flash means that the K800i just edges ahead, the P1i puts up a brave fight and can be easily classed as the best camera in a smartphone, eclipsing its nearest rival, the HTC Tytn II.

All in all, the P1i is an extremely capable smartphone which has almost everything. Great build quality, intuitive user-interface and a nice surprise in the form of the high-quality camera. The only let-down is the QWERTY keyboard which somewhat spoils the otherwise great experience that can be had using this handset. Though it may not be for everyone, the P1i would be more than worth a try for those in the market for an all-round device.

The Sony Ericsson is available on the and networks.

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