Performance and reliability
Early adopters have already discovered a very telling feature (or bug) with the P990i. If you play the demo video and then pause it, this disables the UIQ transitions. The result is a fast and responsive phone. It makes the UIQ woes all the more apparent, for the underlying system seems well up to the tasks it's asked to handle, such as contacts look-ups, and fetching and rendering web pages. The 208MHz ARM processor processor running Symbian OS 9.1 was much more responsive than devices equipped with a 400MHz Xscale processor, lumbering under the burden of Windows Mobile.
But more immediately troubling is that even after all the delays, and using firmware refreshed only a week ago, the production model was incapable of being relied upon to complete the most basic tasks.
This is the buggiest production device your reviewer has ever encountered. The only similar experience was with the Nokia 7710, where the problem was performance: it took a lot of tuning and two major firmware updates to bring it up to an acceptable level.
In its current state, the P990i hangs when, in flip-closed mode, you choose to add a new contact, task or appointment, then open the flip - which you might want to do to create it with pen input or the keyboard. The phone remains in this state for several minutes, which may as well be considered a system crash. A reboot requires the battery to be removed, as the white screen doesn't allow a graceful shutdown.
Opera on UIQ 3 doesn't show much text...
... while full-screen mode isn't much better
The phone regularly hung when retrieving email, when surfing, or when fetching RSS feeds. WLAN configuration was mercifully simple compared to Nokia recent implementations - but the phone often failed to retain the settings for our closed network between reboots.
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