Reading stories on touchscreen mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, could boost literacy, particularly among kids from disadvantaged areas, a survey of parents of young children in the UK suggests.
Dublin: 12.03.2014 06.12AM
The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
The new Sony Ericsson Xperia mini is a nifty little Android smartphone that’s incredibly easy to use. The beauty of this ultra-portable, 3-inch touchscreen phone is it fits so snugly in the palm of your hand, it's highly interactive, plus it takes great photos!
This phone is compact enough, yet bulky enough, so you can grasp it easily – making the Xperia mini especially handy for whipping out of your pocket or bag when you want to take a photo via its 5.0-megapixel camera, which also captures video in high definition. Sony Ericsson has also been working hard to integrate this phone with social media, so you can access sites such as Facebook and upload your own videos or photos easily.
To look at, the phone is very stylish, with its back having a matte, rubberised coating. It also comes with two other shinier backing options, and a lovely silver sideline strip – this is a very streamlined phone.
But let’s get down to the basics, firstly:
The screen itself features icons in each of its four corners on the touchscreen. This phone is incredibly easy to use and would make an ideal gift for someone who wants a small smartphone that can access the Android Market. You can also personalise your homescreen, be it with YouTube, Facebook, Google Search, UEFA.com, or your favourite apps.
The touchscreen is very easy to flick through. The Xperia mini is also very visual, so it’s very useful for sifting through the widgets at ease.
Via this phone, you can choose from more than 200,000 apps on the Android Market.
The Email icon is also the lower-most icon on the touchscreen, making it easy to access Gmail, or such accounts, while on the move.
Since using this phone for the past few weeks I’ve also found the Google browser very handy, and always working at high speed. I have been using the phone under an O2 billpay plan and it has been working mostly perfectly, except sometimes it was hard to access Gmail. Whether this had anything to do with the revamp of Gmail in recent times, I don't know. Gmail is now working without a bother.
You can also personalise your own Music Player on the Xperia mini. I've found the phone’s instant access to YouTube a great draw, especially when I was on a recent oversea trip, and on the move.
The phone has also been designed with the environment in mind. Its headset has been partly produced from recycled plastics, while the charger complies with the Energy Star level V and has a standby power loss that is less than 30mW, according to Sony Ericsson.
Another nifty feature on the phone is that it includes Google Voice Search.
Landscape photo I took at twilight using the Xperia mini
What I have most loved about this phone is its 5.0-megapixel camera. You can take your pictures with 3D Sweep Panorama and then view them on a 3D TV or on the multi-angle 3D display. The video stabiliser on the Xperia mini means you can avoid blurred photos that can sometimes be caused by slight hand movements.
The camera on this phone is so easy to use. You touch the screen to set the focus area and also to take a photo. Best of all, you can immediately send the photo you have just taken to your Facebook page, or email it or text it via MMS to a friend. The digital zoom on the camera is up to 8x.
Here I've included a few samples of photos I have taken recently, the first is a landscape photo taken at twilight in Kildare (see above) and the second is a close-up photo of the Ford Evos Concept car, taken during a recent press trip to Ford Motor Group’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium.
All in all, I’ve loved testing out this mini smartphone, especially for its camera!
Up-close photo of the Ford Evos Concept vehicle taken via the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini at Ford's Lommel Proving Ground in northern Belgium