Written on: 27/03/2003 by Drachan.
Speed, Functionality, Aesthetics, Third Party Software, GPRS, Tri-Band, Handwriting Recognition Engine, Hot Swappable Media.
Screen Definition, Battery Life, Cost of MemoryStick Duo,
The P800 is a stunning phone.
I remember seeing original press releases in the second to third quarters or so of 2002 and getting very excited about this piece of kit. Everything about it screamed "breakthrough." It is, therefore, a real shame that Sony have done a bit of a "Nintendo" and released their piece of groundbreaking kit so late that it's *almost* run of the mill.. But All is not Lost.
I've owned a fair few gadgets in my time, I was the first person I know to get an Apple Newton (dead dodo, I know) Nokia 8210, Palm Pilot, Siemens SL45, DSL, not to mention games consoles before I matured to the PC arena. The Sony Ericsson P800 really does present itself as the best of the techno-widgets.
The interface itself is good, reminds me of the best parts of the Newton and PalmOS, which is neither surprising nor unwelcome.
The OS (Symbian, via UIQ) facilitates an "open page" type presentation, this means that things are saved as you write them.. Much like a Mac.
The only problem with this is if you mess up, you cry.. Not all areas have "Undo" yet.
There are a few things that could be improved.. It's a shame the screen looks so washed out, it makes camera pictures difficult to judge. It's also a shame that even without much use you really need to charge the beast every night.
Good thing that the docking cradle is so lovely then.. The phone just slides on, suspended as if in mid-air by the unique design. A satisfying beep emits from the phone and software (unless you disable it) asks if you want to back the phone up.. Nice touch for the business minded.
Games are still a premium.. Not many free ones around but $7 US (around £4 GBP) doesn't seem extorsionate for something to keep ones mind off a boring train journey for a half hour.
The audio player needs a tiny bit of tweaking, something I'm sure will be done soon.. The sound is very crisp and satisfying and the headphones are accurate, yet the closest you can get to shuffle is changing whether files are sorted by date, size, filename or type. The software could do with an equaliser too.. I like lots of bass for example!
POP3/SMTP access is pretty damned good.. As is web access either with the integrated browser or Opera.
The contacts list, call list etc. all work like a charm and the jog wheel is something I don't think I could ever live without.. It's a five way controller and works like a charm.
Pen accuracy far exceeds my old PalmV. It's just lovely.. Jot (handwriting recognition) has its flaws but does the job nicely. It's very very similar to Palm's "Graffiti" but with a few idiosyncracies.
For anyone that wants a palm pilot and a phone all in one, this is the solution. It may not have a 875682648283462 colour screen or come in 973497 different press-on colours, but who wants to lug an inconvenient pda around or a cellphone that looks like a VCR remote-contol designer's idea of a practical joke anyway?
The P800 is a wonderful, exciting piece of technology.. It is undoubtedly 6 months late (the screen says it all) but it's still years of design and innovation ahead of the rest. I just can't wait for Symbian to release a system update :D