Comparative review of Sony Ericsson P1i and Samsung i780

p1i-i780

I was once asked by an acquaintance who owned a Sony Ericsson P1i and was eyeing the Samsung i780 for a comparison of the two devices. I owned and used both the P1i and the i780 at two different times in the last one year, so I was able to provide him the comparison he needed. I am publishing the comparison here for public benefit. The inserted picture displays the P1i on the left and the i780 on the right.

The P1i is a Symbian UIQ 3.0 smartphone, while the i780 is a Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional device. From the word “Go”, this gave the i780 an edge in terms of availability of 3rd party applications. There are just much more titles available for Windows Mobile Professional than UIQ 3.0 can begin to dream of.

But on to the comparative review:

Internal Memory

  • i780: 170mb storage space
  • P1i: 160mb storage space

Comments: In addition to the internal space, both devices have expandable, external memory slots.

RAM

  • i780: 128mb
  • P1i: 128mb

Comment: Here, the two devices are equally matched.

Data

  • i780: GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA (7.2mbps)
  • P1i: GPRS, 3G

Comment: The i780 is obviously two steps ahead of the P1 here, since it has EDGE and HSDPA, both of which the P1i lacks.

Connectivity

  • i780: Bluetooth, Wi-fi, USB
  • P1i: Bluetooth, Wi-fi, USB, Infra-red

Comment: In addition, both the P1i and the i780 have their batteries charged when connected via USB cable to a PC, which is a good thing. The lack of infra-red on the i780, however, gives the P1 an edge here.

Weight and Size

  • i780: 120g; 115.9 x 61.3 x 12.9 mm
  • P1i: 124g; 106 x 55 x 17 mm

Comment: Well; nothing much to comment about here. Both devices are small and handy. It is just a question of one being slightly taller or wider than the other.

Camera

  • i780: 2.0 Mega-pixel camera, 1600×1200 pixels, autofocus, video
  • P1i: 3.2 Mega-pixel camera, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, video, flash

Comments: The P1i camera delivers much better shots both in daylight and in darkness, but the i780 camera does a good job anyway for a 2mpx camera. P1i wins hands-down here.

Keyboard

Comment: The i780 has a regular QWERTY keyboard with a letter assigned to a key. The P1i, on the other hand being a smaller device, sports a QWERTY keyboard, but which works slightly different. Each key rocks horizontally and has two letters on it. You type by pressing either side of a key.

With my big fingers, I was sceptical of how efficient the P1i keyboard would be for me, but guess what – it works fine. It is almost unbelievable, but I have to admit that the P1i rocker keys are a job well done.

The i780 keys are small too, for example in comparison with the keys on the Nokia E61, but thay are domed Treo-style and also work very well, even with my big fingers. I’m hard pressed to say that one device beats the other in this category.

Navigation

  • i780: Stylus, fingers, mouse
  • P1i: Stylus, finger, scroll wheel

Comment: This is an area where the i780 impresses me a lot with the well-implemented mouse functionality. This makes it a device that can be used completely one-handed, and the usability is incredible! I haven’t touched the stylus or used my fingers on the screen since I received the device. Copy, cut, paste, click, print, beam, send, delete, and print are all commands that are available by holding down the mouse on any file or document.

The mouse works by sliding your thumb or anything across a central “navi-pad”.

The P1i, though largely usable without handling the stylus, just does not come close to the i780’s usability here. And honestly, the taste of the pudding is in the eating.

Multi-media

Comment: The i780 beats the P1i in video playback. There is no competition here. The i780 actually plays back DVD-grade videos without having to convert them, and without any glitches.

However, in audio playback, the P1i is the clear winner. Volume is louder. Usability is tops.

Miscellaneous

Besides the above, the i780 also comes with built-in GPS navigation and A-GPS support (if you can put those to use here in Nigeria at the moment). It also has a beefier battery. But it lacks the FM Radio on the P1i. The speakerphone on the P1i is also much louder than that of the i780.

My Verdict

If you are a music person or an excellent camera is important to you, then I recommend that you go the way of the Sony Ericsson P1i. But if an overall experience of usability, power and functionality are what you are after, I doubt if you can go wrong with the Samsung i780. Of course, it needs mentioning that the Samsung i780 is the more recent of the two devices, so it makes sense in general that it offers more advanced features than the P1i.

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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