In the P990i, a combination of poor hardware design choices and confused thinking in the evolution of UIQ 3 makes for a frustrating user experience. In both hardware and software design, it's often trying to offer too many choices, while making common tasks more cumbersome. If cars were as hard to drive as the P990i is to use, traffic congestion wouldn't be a problem.
Here are a few examples of unnecessary clutter.
UIQ 3 now features a Task Manager. But, incredibly, it's a dialog box with two tabs - Recent and Open - the actual task list being on the second, obscured tab. The Task Manager presents you with links to the Main menu, an Activity menu, and a list of your most recently used applications. So you need to get out the stylus to... er... operate the task list. The ability to view the current weather conditions in Ulan Bator from the Task Manager only just missed the cut, we understand.
Even if you're an experienced P-series user, you may be surprised by the avalanche of menus and dialogs. In addition to the main applications deck, there's a My Shortcuts list - similar to the quick-and-dirty, configurable shortcuts list on some recent Sony Ericsson's feature phones such as the K800i - and an Outlook-style Today menu, giving you a count of recent calls, unread messages, and tasks and appointments. In flip-closed mode, there's a yet another permanently accessible pop-up menu that manages connections, prompts you to start a new task, or manages alarms and the sound volume.
The My Shortcuts screen is one tab of a two-tabbed dialog box. The other tab is Activities. Why? We have no idea
It took some time to get comfortable with this over-abundance of choice, and to discover the endless shortcuts. For example, in flip-closed mode, you can navigate to another two-paned screen - a truncated selection of shortcuts, and the Today menu - with a long press on the D-pad's right selection key.
It's as if UIQ's designers decided to incorporate every feature of every third-party utility into the platform. And Sony Ericsson, unable to decide what was important, simply included every feature.
The "Task Manager" is another two paned dialog. But if you want to manage some tasks, you have to get to the other tab. Have a biscuit, UIQ!
In addition, some of the design decisions look petty, if not outright sadistic.
For example, as before there's a menu 'carousel' of five choices on the default screen. And as before, rotating the jog dial cycles through these choices. But for some reason, UIQ's designers don't now label the currently selected icon. So are those yellow blocks the icon for the Today screen and the round balls the icon Applications menu, or the other way around?
You'll just have to guess.
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