Mobile messaging of all kinds is important to the P990i, and there is an integrated messaging area which brings together the usual suspects of email, MMS and SMS and adds in a link to let you call your voicemail. If you or your employer are keen on push email, this is catered for alongside ordinary POP email.
Document editors for Microsoft Word and Excel and a reader for PDF files are built in. You can use the mini keyboard or write onto the screen with the stylus and let the handwriting recognition take the strain. There is also a business card scanner which works in conjunction with the camera. During testing it captured data from cards quite accurately and is certainly more fun than entering their information manually.
If this sounds too serious there is the media playback and gaming to consider. 60MB of built-in memory sounds like a lot, but on our review unit a little under 20MB was actually free. You will need to use Memory Sticks for your tunes, and our review handset came with a rather measly 64MB card. At least you don't need the card to listen to the FM radio, and sound quality was fine. Just as well, given the proprietary headset connector.
Our review handset came with two games -- Tetris clone QuadraPop and Vijay Singh Pro Golf 2005 3D (showing off the P990i's 3D gaming capabilities)
The Web browser is great -- one of its best features is that you can push it into landscape mode using all 320 pixels of screen width for viewing, and opt for 'full screen' mode which takes away a lot of the non-Web info. If you don't want to browse over the air you can use Wi-Fi if you have a suitable network. Bluetooth and infrared are both also here.
Other applications include a diary and contact book, a calculator, a converter, a stopwatch, a timer, an RSS reader, an image viewer, a sound recorder and MusicDJ for creating your own ringtones.
There are some serious usability problems though, not least that you don't have access to every feature when the flip is up -- eg the touchscreen and the Control Panel. When the flip is down and the touchscreen is available, some of its tappable icons are very small. You are going to need to put some effort into learning to use this handset -- and probably read the manual fully -- if you want to get the best from it.
Voice and video calls were both fine, the camera produced clear and sharp shots, though perhaps a little darker than we'd like on the auto setting.
Battery life was above average and if you are fairly frugal with wireless and 3G usage you should be able to last a few days between charges.
Thanks to Expansys for providing a review sample of this phone.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield