If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone
More pictures from my phone

Tuesday November 14 2006 at 00:56 GMT

Prompted by Andy's comment, I thought I'd better knock together a quick Sony Ericsson P990 review.

As with previous phones, I got mine on Orange. Unlike previous P-series phones, the software has been well and truly ripped apart by Orange and badly stuck back together. Several items shown in the Orange-ified instruction book are not on the phone, and Orange are in absolutely no rush to update the firmware to support them. I'm still waiting for my 'return call within 72 hours' on several questions about it. There's some screenshots in this thread. Sony Ericsson don't want to know about the problems either -- they referred me back to Orange.

The biggest problems I've found with the phone or fundamental ones. Looking at messages, viewing the calendar, opening the Web browser and a variety of other basic functions cause the software or phone to crash; both cases need a complete reboot.

Battery life is also abysmal. My P900 would happily run all weekend with serious voice and data usage. Twice I've now had my P990 completely run out of battery well within 24 hours of coming off a full charge. Having the less-powerful battery inside is not helping.

With the flip off, using the phone is a multi step process, far from elegant. I think this may be in large part thanks to Orange and their customisation.

Email, and particularly push email using IMAP IDLE, was one of the big draws of this phone for me. Again, it seems that Orange have managed to mess that up: it works for maybe one or two new emails, then stops completely.

The camera is ... alright. Compared to shots taken on a k800i at exactly the same time in the same lighting conditions etc, the P990 should stay at home.

The operating system is *far* from stable, with a lot of crashes of all kinds of software on a regular basis.

Moving to silent takes is a four-key process, which is a real pain for everyday moving between office and outside.

And did I mention it is slowww, and the constant out-of-memory issues?

OK, so the good side: it looks nice, wifi works most of the time and the screen is nice. Using the QWERTY thumbboard for typing out messages works quite well.

Would I recommend this phone to others? Mmmmmm, if they were either very undemanding users, who wouldn't need a daily reboot, or were techies and might be able to understand just how beta this product actually is. Allegedly there is a new firmware update coming at the end of November, although all the networks will need to first verify that before it can be downloaded and installed, so we could be talking mid-December before this phone gets anywhere near reliable, discounting of course the fact that Orange will most likely add some more of their own bugs at that point.

At the moment, this phone would probably get 4/10. Moving from the P900 which I had for almost three years and probably only had three hard reboots in that time, has not been a pleasant experience. Was it worth the wait and the hype? Not so far. Read some other short reviews here.


Thanks - you've just saved me £250! Think I will stick with my p910 for another wee while.
Andy | Tuesday November 14 at 07:23 GMT| Comment permalink

For the time being, anyway. ;-)
Martin Little | Tuesday November 14 at 18:27 GMT | Web| Comment permalink

Got my new phone and its an O2 Orbit XDA. Wifi, radio, GPS ( yes!), free navigational software, 2 megapixel camera. Windows mobile 5 software. Excellent exceptional battery life, very bright screen. No keypad and missing 5 way clickable wheel of Sony p910.
Andy Wallace | Friday December 15 at 17:44 GMT| Comment permalink

Hey, I've just returned my orange branded phone, mainly cause I received a better deal from 02. The OS is a bit unstable and found the UI irritating and annoying at the best of times. Phone crashed a few times too. Disabled 3G which seriously improves the battery life. Just hope the phone I get from 02 hasn't had it's OS rewritten...
bazzakay | Tuesday February 27 at 13:42 GMT| Comment permalink

got the new phone from 02. Still uses the 02 branding- o2 on top of screen but the OS is the original SOny Ericsson style. Updated the phone-recognized phone as 02-uk. OS seems more stable/responsive than factory default. All is good. Disabled 3G. Battery lasting long. Sorted.
:::bazzakay::: | Friday March 9 at 12:17 GMT| Comment permalink

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