Sony Ericsson P1 review: A smart sharp-shooter

GSMArena team, 08 May 2007.

The Sony Ericsson P1 is an exciting new smartphone that is to undoubtedly reign in the current Sony Ericsson portfolio. Powered by Symbian OS and featuring a QWERTY keyboard, a touchscreen TFT display with QVGA resolution and a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus, it represents the next level of the development of UIQ smartphones. As such, it seems that the Sony Ericsson P1 will be the flagship of Sony Ericsson smartphone line overrunning even the Sony Ericsson P990 and we were more than curious to find out how it performed in real life.

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Sony Ericsson P1 official pictures

Key features:

  • Symbian 9.1 OS with UIQ 3 user interface
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • 2.6" 262K colors TFT touchscreen display
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus
  • Memory Stick Micro M2 memory card slot
  • UMTS, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, USB, Infrared
  • Secondary camera for video calls
  • Walkman-grade MP3 player and FM radio with RDS
  • Jog Dial navigation

Main disadvantages:

  • Awkward keyboard
  • No HSDPA support
  • No EDGE support

A P-series or a M-series one?

The Sony Ericsson P1 bears the design line of the already available Sony Ericsson M600. The same form factor but without a QWERTY keyboard was used in the music-oriented Sony Ericsson W950, too.

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Sony Ericsson P1

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Sony Ericsson M600

Naming the device P1 seems rather logical, since the next SE super smartphone should have come as P1000. But 1000 sounds really trite, so choosing the device model to be P1, is a good move. Rumors had it that the device would be called P700, and even our test handset reported being P700. We guess that the decision must have been taken in the last moment. The Sony Ericsson P1 seems more of an upgraded M600, but then again we suppose that the wide range of features it boasts motivated including it in the P-series. So the P1 would definitely be the flagship among Sony Ericsson smartphones, but hardware wise, it seems to be powered by the same 208 MHz processor as seen in M600, W950 and P990.

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The P-series evolution

We were very excited when we got the opportunity to make a review of the eagerly awaited Sony Ericsson smartphone P1. It turned out though that the test handset is obviously a rather early prototype since we experienced frequent crashes in various situations and applications. Nevertheless, we have a great deal of confidence that these will be fixed in the final version.

The retail package will include a desk stand, a USB cable, a stereo headset, a protective pouch, a spare stylus, and a 512MB Memory Stick Micro M2 card. Of course, as with any other mobile phone, the contents of the retail package remain strictly market and country dependant.

The Sony Ericsson P1 is an exciting new smartphone that is to undoubtedly reign in the current Sony Ericsson portfolio. Powered by Symbian OS and featuring a QWERTY keyboard, a touchscreen TFT display with QVGA resolution and a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus, it represents the next level of the development of UIQ smartphones. <#AdRectangle#>

Silver framed

The P1 smartphone measures 106 x 55 x 17 mm and weighs 124 g. The central place in the body is taken by the large 2.6" touchscreen TFT display. Above the display you can easily see the eye of the frontal VGA video call camera. Next to it, right in the dead center is the in-call speaker grill. Below it is the QWERTY keyboard that is almost a Sony Ericsson trademark - we haven't seen a similar design in the common mobile market. Three or four characters share each key and it depends on your pressing its left or right side or pressing it in a combination with the ALT key, that determines which character gets printed. A clever design, no doubt about it, but we would see if it's user-friendly enough to serve its purpose.

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Video calls camera Sony Ericsson P1 keyboard

The left side of the Sony Ericsson P1 features a hand strap eyelet, a Jog Dial and a hardware back key, which comes in handy when used in combination with the Jog Dial. The Jog Dial wheel itself is a three-way navigation solution - scroll up, scroll down and press to select or activate.

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Left side view: strip eyelet, Jog Dial, Back key

The bottom side of the device is bare - it hosts only the usual Fast port and a microphone aperture.

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Bottom side view: Fast Port and microphone

The right side incorporates the camera shutter key, the Memory Stick Micro card slot and a shortcut key, which can be assigned several available applications. The default one is to start the Web browser.

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Right side view: camera shutter key, memory card slot, personal shortcut key

The top side of the device features the Infrared port and the On/Off key.

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Top side view: Infrared port and On/Off key

Just below the On/Off key is the slot for the stylus. It's more obvious when you take a look at the back of the handset.

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Sony Ericsson P1 stylus

Speaking of the back, there is a certain thing down there that can really attract your attention. We are talking about the lens of the 3.2 megapixel camera which features autofocus and as you may have probably noticed, a dual LED flash. We saw that kind of flash used in Sony Ericsson K550. Obviously, Sony Ericsson are keeping the xenon flash for their high-end cameraphones only. Right above the camera lens is a silver line that in fact covers the loudspeaker.

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Camera lens loudspeaker cover

When you remove the battery cover, you will see the standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 950 mAh Li-Polymer battery that is rather frequently used by the manufacturer in a number of different handsets. According to official numbers, the battery should provide the P1 with enough power to keep it going for up to 350-440 hours of standby time or up to 5-10 hours of call time depending on whether you would use it in a UMTS network which takes its toll on battery life. Unfortunately, we could not test the phone's battery life since we used the phone heavily during our tests and thus the battery life we experienced was not indicative for the real-life performance of the handset. The SIM card slot of the P1 is not your regular Sony Ericsson one and the card itself slots into a place next to the camera lens.

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Removing the battery cover and the battery

The Sony Ericsson P1 is nice to work with both your left and right hand. If you use the Jog Dial you would need the stylus rarely since it represents a rather adequate navigation solution. We enjoyed using the P1 and it surely feels nice when held in hand.

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Sony Ericsson P1 held in hand

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