Sony Ericsson P900

The Sony Ericsson P900 is the new version of the P800 PDA phone and, like its predecessor, is a camera-phone as well.

The Sony Ericsson P900 is the new version of the P800 PDA phone and, like its predecessor, is a camera-phone as well.

It is pretty much a full-blown PDA, using the popular Symbian OS (version 7.0).

The VGA-quality camera hasn’t increased resolution, but does now have the ability to take video. The quality is limited, but does still use up 1MB of memory a minute. You can insert the video into an MMS message but I would be careful about the bill for sending a 10-minute video to someone else’s phone. As more phones become MMS-capable, this becomes more useful.

The screen colours have been increased to 65,536 from 4096, giving it the ability to display much better colours for viewing photos and playing games. I’m not into the game play myself, but it is becoming a much more accomplished gaming platform. It’s still cheaper to get your kids a Game Boy but the phone can be useful when you need to keep them occupied on the run — my son plays on mine while waiting at the barber.

Internal Flash memory has been increased to 48MB, and a 32MB Memory Stick Duo (the mini-me version of Sony’s Memory Stick) is included. It will handle up to a 128MB Memory Stick.

It includes an MP3 music player and can use MP3 tunes for ring tones. It could be a lot of fun to capture your own MP3 audio for ring tones — it would be way cool to use a sound from 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example.

As you would expect, it has a web browser — one built in as well as Opera on the installation CD.

Opera will reformat pages to fit on the screen, but I didn’t get a chance to test that. There are a number of other applications included on the CD, including productivity tools and games.

As a phone, it does a good job. The interface takes a little getting used to but the dial on the side is quite handy for scrolling through lists of options. It has a hands-free mode that would work in the office but not really in the car or outside. A GSM/GPRS phone, it has infrared, USB and Bluetooth capability. It has a flight-mode option so you can use the PDA functions without causing an air disaster; although convincing flight crew of the fact might not be easy.

Like most PDAs, it will synchronise with your PC-based organiser such as Outlook or Lotus V2.

At $1799, it isn’t a cheap camera phone or a cheap PDA, but it is a nice compact option for someone who needs both and doesn’t want to get tangled trying to communicate between two separate devices (like me).

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Rob Clarke

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