The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 recently got an upgrade from Android 1.6 to Android 2.1. Is this enough to put it among the contenders for top smartphones for 2010?
Look and Feel
Weighing 130g, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is a pretty slim device, with a sharp, sleek design. At the front, it’s quite angular and at the back, it’s curved to allow for it to slip into your pocket easily.
Its huge 4-inch WVGA display is rather crisp and clear. The phone has a 3.5mm jack for headphones and a micro USB port for connectivity. It also has the standard main buttons which appear on most Sony Ericsson phones – the menu, home and back buttons.
With its update to Android 2.1, the phone has access to many new features. It has five homescreens to customise to your liking. Notifications can be dragged down from above the homescreen for quick access, which is handy.
The phone book now automatically links your contacts to all forms of their communications, including phone numbers and Facebook details.
Its 1GHz processor means it’s generally a pretty speedy phone to navigate through, too, though there is a half a second lag when you activate the phone from standby mode. The menu can be slightly jutty, as well, at points, but overall, it’s very usable.
The keyboard for texting has improved, but it’s still not perfect. I found myself hitting wrong keys at points a good few times.
With an 8MP camera, the X10 produces a high quality image. Photos are quite crisp and sharp. There are numerous different settings too, such as activating the “touch to take” option and switching to modes like night, beach and snow and sports.
It has a flash, however, it doesn’t work as you think it would. It’s more of a “phone light,” where you need to go into advanced settings and turn on the torch and then take the picture. It seems like a bit of an awkward way of doing this and I wonder why it couldn’t activate like a normal flash.
With the upgrade, users now have access to 720p HD film for video capturing. Its continual autofocus moves quickly, adjusting its focal length fast when you move an object right in front of it.
The 1GHz processor shows its strengths again, and the built-in browser is fast for going online. However, there is still no pinch and zoom functionality, relying on double tapping in order to zoom. It’s quite a pity, as a phone with both the Android 2.1 update and a speedy processor should be more than capable of handling this.
The X10’s Mediascape app update has a new coat of paint, supporting numerous browsing modes and providing support for album art. It holds music, photos and videos within this.
The main three screens of the app shows what has been recently viewed or played for each medium. Drilling into each one further provides more options.
The music app sorts your songs by artist, album or track. It also has a search option. The sound is excellent, which is usually the case for Sony Ericsson phones. It also includes an Infinity button for each artist, to help users search for more information through Google.
Video mode sorts media alphabetically and there is also a search mode provided. The videos look great onscreen and you can tag your favourites for quick access.
The phone comes with Sony Ericsson’s Timescape app, which shows all forms of communication from contacts on one line, such as texts, Twitter updates and missed calls. While it’s a nice idea, the images for people on each tile can look pretty low res, which is a shame.
The upgrade now has a back-up and restore app, for saving your media, contacts and messages to your microSD card. It’s very straightforward and very handy.
The update to the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 certainly solves a lot of the issues that plagued the phone before, however, it should’ve went a bit further to fix them. While it may not be able to compete with some of the real top-end phones, it can still stand up as a pretty sleek Android smartphone with some great media capabilities.
The Sony Xperia X10 costs €549 on prepay and from free on 3 and Meteor.