Focus on Sony Ericsson P1i: part two

We were informed by Sony Ericsson at the P1i launch that a QWERTY keyboard is the preferred text input method for Europeans while the Japanese favour touch-screen methods. Either way, the P1i covers all bases with the dual function QWERTY, a virtual onscreen keyboard and if you have the patience and skill to learn, handwriting recognition.

The dual function QWERTY basically assigns two letters to one key, relying on a rocker switch to differentiate. The P1i's design works better than the M600i and while you will be slower to begin with, takes a good few days pick up speed. Persist and it soon becomes second nature.

Just like its predecessor, the P1i has all the PIM, organisation and email trimmings for the business bod. You can either set up Push email manually (so have all those outgoing server setting ready) or easier still use the embedded email set-up wizard. The P1i supports the usually push email suspects like BlackBerry Connect, Visto, Seven etc but Microsoft's Exchange ActivSync 2003 already comes installed so you can easily sync up with your corporate IT set up.

The Quick Office suite and Adobe software lets you create, edit and read Word and spreadsheet documents or email attachments plus view PowerPoint and PDFs. On paper the built-in Business Card Scanner is a convenient business tool taking the hassle out of inputting contacts. Unfortunately in reality it's a bit of a disjointing affair. After firing up the app, you basically take a snap of a business card, letting it cleverly process the onscreen info (this takes around 15 seconds), then you'll be presented with a complete filled out contact. The picture needs to be taken under good lightning and shot in focus to get results but even with the right conditions it continually misread info, left phones numbers off and even got some fields mixed up. Only when Sony Ericsson fine tune this app will it become beneficial.

The P1i seems to have all the mobile business areas covered but can its new look multimedia feature set live up to the hype? Mobile Choice test its camera, music player and web browsing performance in our next and final 'Focus on Sony Ericsson P1i' instalment.

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