Sony Ericsson P990 review: A coveted smartphone

GSMArena team, 04 August 2006.
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Unlimited contacts

The Sony Ericsson offers an extensive phonebook designed to suit everybody's needs. There is virtually no limitation in the number of contacts that it can store. You can choose to filter your contacts by groups; by the location they are saved at or separate them into individual folders that later on you can use for calls management. The default filter applied shows the contacts saved in the phone's memory. Generally speaking searching through your contacts is almost impossible without the stylus.

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Contacts list • applying list filters • a contact's options • filtering calls

The details that you can save for a given contact are abundant and include several numbers and email addresses, job title, office and home postal addresses, voice commands for the individual phone numbers of the contact and finally you can associate a ringtone and a picture to the specific contact. There is a field to enter the contact's birthday, but unfortunately it doesn't get transferred to the Calendar. Interestingly enough though, when you enter a birthday in the Calendar the phone allows you associate it to one of your contacts and the date gets saved under the contacts details automatically.

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Contact Dexter's details

You can even add a note for every contact. As usual the font size throughout the most of the smartphone's interface can be zoomed in. That's a great feature for people that no longer enjoy full-strength eyesight. Otherwise the smallest of the font sizes is pretty legible.

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Adding a sample note for Dexter • available note font sizes

Call management

The Call log lists store all the information about the calls received or made.

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Outgoing calls list • a specific call details

Now, when it comes to call management, besides call filtering there are also two nice options. The first one is to set the smartphone to send a SMS with a predefined text whenever you have to reject a call. The second one is to automatically store a callback event in the calendar every time your reject a call. In case you choose that option you can set the how many minutes after the call should the call back event alert you.

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Setting up the Reject with SMS option • setting the call back option

All the messages in one Inbox

Usually the messaging department is one of strongest ones in any smartphone. Sony Ericsson P990 doesn't make any exception to the rule. It offers rich functions combined with several text-input options. Generally speaking, you can enter text with the numeric keypad the usual Multi-Tap way, use the QWERTY keyboard, use a virtual QWERTY keyboard with the stylus or simply write with the stylus on the screen. As regards handwriting recognition, the phone manages very well. The handwriting system used is CICs JotPro. Basically, the way it works, is you write numbers in the upper part of the screen and letters in the lower one. If you feel uncomfortable with it you can always turn on the virtual keyboard which is rather easy to use and offers different layouts. The Sony Ericsson P990 also offers an enhanced version of the T9 dictionary - its thesaurus is expandable - you can add your own words and it can even remember whole messages. You can separately set whether you would like to use the predictive text input method in the flip-closed or the flip-opened mode, or both.

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Setting up text input options • setting up predictive text input

The messaging menu combines all messages in one inbox. The supported messages are SMS, EMS, MMS, email, and RSS feeds. The last one is available through a dedicated application. Writing a sms with the plethora of input methods available is rather easy. Furthermore you have a lot of emoticons to express graphically your feelings.

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Shared Inbox • using the virtual keypad • SMS emoticons • EMS emoticons

The email client is not really a separate application. It has extensive settings but setting it up to work with your email account is rather easy. It supports the POP3, IMAP and SMTP protocols, as well as SSL and TLS encryption. The P990 also supports Push Email through 3rd party applications from companies such as Extended Systems, Intellisync, JP Mobile, Research In Motion (RIM)/Blackberry, Active Sync, Seven, Smartner and Visto.

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Email account settings

Writing an email is simple as writing a standard sms message. Usually the client downloads only the email headers or you can set it up to automatically download the whole messages if they don't exceed a predefined limit in kilobytes. Adding an attachment is easy as usual - all you have to do is open the corresponding tab in the "new email" editor.

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Email inbox • reading an email • writing an email to our friend Dexter

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