Sony Ericsson P1 Review
The camera's interface is in landscape mode and starts for 3 seconds. It gives information for the settings chosen, and you can change them with the touch screen or the jog-dial. There are four resolutions available (3,2,1,0.3(VGA)MP) with three compression levels. The options for white balance, color effects and frames are nicely present as they were with other camera-oriented Sony Ericsson phones.
The auto-focus locks for a second and another 5 are needed to save the captured image and start shooting another one. The images from the camera are pretty good and are definitely usable, when taken in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, even then there is noise when you preview them in full size, but the detail is also good for a phone. Like the P990, the P1 takes very good macro shots and gives lots of detail from tiny objects. Indoors, the quality decreases due to the lower light amount. More noise appears even if the flash is turned on (it can be on or off, lacks AUTO option) and the latter will be usable to illuminate the object you are capturing if it is nearby.
Like the P990 and just new SE non-smart-phones (K850, W910), the P1 can capture video clips in QVGA resolution which is 4 times less than N95’s VGA but can still do the job. Like in the U100 and U300 by Samsung, some artifacts appear due to the compression but here the colors are realistic and the videos look better. The quality is high enough for online usage, for example in a blog like YouTube.
Sony Ericsson P1 sample video at 320x240 pixels resolution
The captured images are previewed in the Picture Gallery which has fullscreen mode, for more convenience. The phone is pretty fast and opens the preloaded images almost instantly, while the camera shots (which are larger) took a moment more. Still they rendered pretty fast, and previewing them is not slow and boring operation.
The Music Player isn’t branded with “Walkman” name but is better than the one used in non-smart-non-Walkman phones. It offers the standard filtering by Artists/Albums/Playlists/Tracks/My recordings but the now playing interface is improved: On the top is the album name, below are the controls which unfortunately are with rather small buttons and you may press a wrong one if not using the stylus. Almost half of the screen is occupied by the album cover and the file name – artist – album and the soft keys. There are 10 equalizers, including Mega Bass, Loudness, Treble boost and others. The player can be left to work in the background and in this case the homescreen will indicate this with a line of the song currently played.
Strangely, the player didn’t show the album cover image of songs we transferred through Windows Media Player from computer with Windows Vista. Later, those songs had an album cover image, but not the one they have in the Windows Media Player but an image stored on the phone’s card memory – image that has nothing in common with the songs.
The sound coming from the phone’s speaker is neither the strongest nor the one with best quality, but could do the job for using a song as a ringtone. Playing music on it, it will suffer from distortion when at maximum level and has typical “phone-speaker sound quality”.
For listening to your favorite music, headphones will be more suitable. The ones from the box are with mediocre quality and average volume, so when you want to replace them you will need an adapter to connect standard ones (with 3.5mm jack) or just use Stereo Bluetooth headphones. As the phone supports A2DP profile, we connected wireless speakers with no problem. They sound with much more power and clearer sound with higher quality.
The Video Player is exactly the same as the one on P990. There is no problem previewing a QVGA video encoded with MPEG4 H.263 but when additional features like changing the volume for example are applied during playback, the video and sound lag. Like with the Music player, we transferred the sound to Bluetooth speakers. The higher quality H.264 compression is not supported.
The P1 also has a FM radio built-in but in order to use it, you must connect the headphones, to be used as antenna. Once started, it will propose you to automatically scan the whole frequency range and save the found stations. You can then transmit the sound to the phone’s speaker or to Bluetooth device, which we did. The supported RDS has options for displaying AF (Alternative Frequency), News announcements and Traffic announcements and once it retrieves information about the station’s name, automatically adds it in the saved list.
Like the P990, the P1 comes with a couple of games preloaded: QuadraPop (Tetris like game) and Vijay Singh Pro Golf 3D (3D golf game). You can add additional games and applications, either written for UIQ phones or JAVA games for phones with QVGA resolution. We installed an Instant Messenger for UIQ, as the phone doesn’t have one preloaded.