First impressions are of a very bulky phone, but appearances can be as deceptive as our highly scientific graphs.
From the chart, you'll see the P990i - out of the box, with its flip attached - weighs in on the fat side and certainly looks it. But this is deceptive. It's actually a millimetre smaller in each dimension than the P910, and once in your hand certainly doesn't feel any heavier than its predecessors. It shouldn't - it's 5g lighter.
A major change to all three of Sony Ericsson's new UIQ phones is an impaired jog dial. The P990i's dial can only be moved in one plane. This sounds like a trivial issue, but it has an enormous knock-on impact on usability. As mentioned earlier, the P990i now sprouts all kinds of buttons, and UIQ lots of additional specialised software controls to compensate for this, yet the result is that many tasks are harder to use.
The familiar Applications menu. You can choose to view by list. But you can't sort built-in applications into your own folders
What the five-way jog-dial allowed designers to do was create a mental representation of the menu hierarchy - a trick Nokia pulled off with its original Navikey. This spatial navigation helped put the new user at ease, as they could not only figure out where they were in the menu system much more easily, but were also able to use the same technique to navigate different contexts. Spatial navigation helped make a success of the original Mac desktop, and certainly made one-handed flip-closed use of the P-series rich and fluid. I've met users who never used the full-screen applications, but who were attracted to the design because of this one-handed ease of use. And in flip-open mode, a back push cancelled, and a pull brought up the application menu. No more, alas.
Lots wrong in this review.
Yes, I missed the jog-dial stuff a bit. But now I'm used to this new phone. But other things about this review are plain wrong: crashing adding a contact and opening the flip? Not me. Speaker phone? Press the middle key twice. It's the "More" key and it's the top option. No mention of the landscape mode in the browser! And the ability to turn off fit-to-screen. Pretty basic omissions I reckon.
Perhaps I'm just lucky and I've got one that works, or maybe the review was more interested in volume and weight ratios than actually reviewing it properly.
Sony Ericsson Update Service
To reply to the above comment SE have updated there update service software to version 1.2.15 it now incorporates the firmaware upgrade service.
On reading the thoughts and views on the my-symbian site, the new version is an improvement.
However there is still some way to go with regard to all the issues with the P990 ram management being the most importiant.
Though I am not concerned , because with good 3rd party software ram control many apps can be run at the same time.
Not withstanding Nokia who in arecent firmware upgrade to an N series phone improved ram management by 3/5 ram.
Future firmware updates
Have users actually been able to update their P990 firmware using S.E's cranky software, and is it now a straightforward user experience? I've been unsuccessful with upgrading my P910i to newer firmware ever since I bought it as an 'early adopter' - I still try every so often but it's too damn tricksy, and eventually give up.
I'd like a review of 'the other half' of P990 ownership - P.C. side. How well does the new S.E. updating software work, how many third party app's does S.E. install on your HD and where, how many irritating .Net Passport style hoops one has to sign up to just to fix your glitchy firmware, and how easy it is to control and remove the clunky icons that SE insist on splattering all over your nice minimalist Desktop, Systray, Startup, Logon etc., before parting with a week's wages.
S.E. haven't yet contacted me to say the P990 is available, so (ruling out sheer incompetence) perhaps numerous glitch fixes are impending. Is S.E.'s updating software up to the job, or is it not?
Some context here is important. Sony Ericsson considers this phone acceptable for sale to the general public - but won't release one for examination by journalists for professional review.
By all means use the comments here to vent your spleens, or declare your love for your favourite vendor. But we have a duty to convey accurate information on the site - so malicious and misleading comments will be removed.
I have to say on reading this reviewers comments on the impending release of the P990, as I for one am still waiting for my P990.
There are in my opinion to camps those who love viq, symbian sony ect and those who want a business devise.
I fall in to both camps and without much of the tech know how, however Sony Ericsson do one thing right as being a previous P800 and P900 owner.
They respond very quickly to the issues that are raised by the owners so much so that there have already been 2 firmware updates improving the phone no end.
My opinion is that the P990 is the best alround smartphone and to learn more about the phone a visit to http://my-symbian.com/ is a very good starting place