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Sony Ericsson P1i review

A few usability niggles, but will the P1i's features make up for it?

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Our Verdict

Some nice features make this look like a worthwhile investment, but its flaws seem to overshadow its better points

For

  • Looks good
  • BlackBerry Connect v4.0 software
  • 3.2 megapixel camera

Against

  • Not the most intuitive phone to use
  • Only compatible with Memory Stick

On paper, there are plenty of interesting features that might draw you to the Sony Ericsson P1i. It's a 3G phone with quad-band support that packs a 3.2-Megapixel camera and uses a jog wheel to navigate the Symbian menus.

You can also use the 2.5-inch touchscreen to control the functions of the phone and all in all the candybar design is reasonably attractive and slips in your pocket with the minimum of fuss.

Mix business with pleasure

Business users will be interested by the prospect of the BlackBerry Connect v4.0 software that enhances the email appeal of the P1i. This is great and should make this a more rounded device, as sadly, on the surface this comes across more as a multimedia phone than a business tool.

It's when you look more closely that you start to spot some questionable aspects of the P1i, starting with the inevitable Sony Memory Stick. In this case it's a Memory Stick Micro and our review sample came with a 512MB card, which would prove adequate for a fairly zealous music lover. The truth is, the world uses SD and not Memory Stick, but there is simply no support for it.

Then there's the pop-port type connector on the bottom of the phone which is used to charge the P1i, to attach a headset or to synchronise your phone with your laptop. You can only connect one cable at a time, so Sony Ericsson includes a docking station in the package which has a total of three connection points to get round this self-inflicted problem.

Although the phone has 20 keys on the keypad, it doesn't have the red and green buttons you might expect to use when you make or receive a phone call. Instead you have to use a tiny button on the touchscreen when you want to receive a call and another virtual button when it ends. It's a bad system that proves Sony Ericsson has forgotten the P1i is primarily a phone. Overall, this is a nice looking phone with a number of flaws.