Sony Ericsson G900 preview: Touch and go

GSMArena team, 21 February 2008.
Pages: 123

The Sony Ericsson G900 measures 106 x 49 x 13 mm and weighs only 99 g - those are the exact same dimensions as the G700, which makes us wonder how Sony Ericsson achieved the same weight and dimensions given the extra features.

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Sony Ericsson G900 all over

Sony Ericsson G900 360-degree spin

Design and construction

The Sony Ericsson G900 uses the same 208 MHz processor as previous Sony Ericsson UIQ smartphones. It's also got 128MB of RAM - much like the Sony Ericsson W950, W960 and P1 smartphones. The user interface clicks quite fast and turning off the available transition effects makes it even faster.

The G900 display is not as large as the W960 but proves good enough for its purpose (and its price tag). Above the display there is only the video-call camera and the earpiece.

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The touchscreen display is not that large as the one of W960

Much like the G700, the Sony Ericsson G900 surprised us with its transreflective display. As a result, the legibility under direct sunlight is great, way above any other previous Sony Ericsson smartphones. It still has poorer colors and contrast than most high-end Sony Ericsson feature phones, but in terms of sunlight legibility it comes really close to the all-time champions Nokia and Apple iPhone.

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But it's really good under sunlight

The keypad of the G900 is nice although not as texting-friendly as the one of the G700. The alphanumeric keys are quite large. The navigation D-pad and the soft keys around it offer pleasant response too.

Speaking of soft keys, with the G700 we had two context keys just below the display that allowed supreme one-handed stylus-free operation of the handset. With the G900 we don't have these anymore - what's more, they haven't been replaced by other keys - the G900 is simply two soft keys short. Maybe that's where they shaved off the extra weight (just joking, of course). Now you're left with the virtual keys on the display only.

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The keypad is nice with sufficient key elevation

At the sides of the Sony Ericsson G900 there are further changes to the UIQ smartphone style used so far. There is no scroll wheel for example - a beloved feature by all UIQ fans. But even this way single-handed operation still remains easy enough.

There is also a dedicated lock/unlock key for the keypad - the old-fashioned way of using a key combo is still present though, so the hardware key is just an option.

A flaw with the design is that the camera key is too sunk and with almost no tactile feedback. Effectively, that makes it a nonsense to use.

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There is a hardware lock key on the right side the camera key is really uncomfortable to press

Next to the charger slot on the left side you will also notice a tiny status LED much like the one on G700 - it blinks to indicate missed calls and unread messages, and lights constantly when the battery is low or while the handset is charging.

Unlike the Sony Ericsson G700, where the M2 memory card slot had a nice rubbery cap and was accessible from the outside, with the G900 the slot is on the same spot but under the battery cover (shaving more weight, aren't we?). Removing or inserting a memory card without the help of a sharp pointer such as the stylus still proves almost impossible - the card sinks really deep.

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The memory card slot is nowhere to be seen, you have to remove the battery cover to access it there is also a tiny status LED just beside the charger port

Speaking of the stylus - it's tucked in at the upper left corner of the handset. It's almost the same as the one of the G700. It again is not telescopic and proves a little short.

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The stylus is nice but rather short

Removing the back cover proved somewhat hard. It's the same pry-it-open type that we saw in our recent Sony Ericsson lower mid-range roundup, as well as in G700.

The G900 has a standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Po battery with a capacity of 960 mAh. It's rated at up to 380 h of standby time and up to 12 h of talk time. Those figures seem rather optimistic for a battery of such modest capacity, but we couldn't confirm the real-life performance.

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The back panel is really nice to touch but really hard to open

In conclusion, the Sony Ericsson G900 comes a little short of achieving the ergonomics and user-friendliness of G700. The design has been sacrificed too, to stay faithful to the conservative trend. But overall we are pleased with its size, form factor and usability.

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The Sony Ericsson G900 held in hand

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