Reviewed: The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini


13 Jul 2010

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The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini is a zippy and compact handset, good enough to compete with the big boys, despite barely being the size of a credit card, or 3.3 x 2.0 x 0.6 inches to be exact.

Loads is crammed into the 3.1-oz of customisable cuteness that you can navigate in one hand, using just your thumb. For starters, there’s 128MB of phone memory and MicroSD support for up to 16GB. The touchscreen user interface zips you through screens and widgets on a 240 x 320-pixel screen.

Lookswise, this little fella has a shiny front and matte back. Slivers of silver bars are for menu, home and back (on the front) and volume and camera (on the side), while the power/key lock button is on top of the handset and the 3.5mm headset connector and charger/USB cable connector is at the bottom. Flip the phone over, and there lies the camera lens and flash.

Sony Ericsson Timescape

Timescape is a feature of the user interface on Sony Ericsson’s new Android phones that pulls notifications from emails and social-networking sites into a homepage. You can then search individual threads, people or search terms.

Calling/Messaging/Email

You can send and receive emails through your regular email account on the X10 mini, though it comes with the Google Mail app already installed. This isn’t a handset to be used for composing lengthier messages, however.

Typing, which is done through a keypad on the screen that looks like the keypad on push-button phones of yore, would test the patience of a saint. If you want to type ‘c’, for example, you press the ‘ABC’ key and a drop-down menu with each letter on its own row appears, and you tap the letter (or even word, if it appears) you want. Once a message is typed, sending it is quick. There’s also the option of shooting and attaching a photo or video to a message.

Making phone calls simply involves tapping the keypad icon on the homescreen to access the keypad.

Internet

The tiny screen means the X10 mini is not an ideal device on which to view webpages in depth, although you can zoom in and out of pages and navigate through them relatively easily, thanks to the touchscreen interface.

Music

The quality of sound that comes out of the mini could be coming out of a top-notch Dolby stereo sound system – exceptional. The ‘infinite button’ pulls related video and other online content pertaining to an artist into one spot. You can listen to music with or without earphones and an alphabetised music library organises tunes into playlists, newly added, most played and never played music. Tunes can be shuffled from within the library as can setting a ringtone.

Camera

Photography fans’ pulses will start to race when exploring the 5-megapixel camera on the X10 mini. Why? It comes with auto focus, cropping, the ability to shoot as normal or MMS, and various modes to shoot in, specifically, auto, macro, twilight and sports. (The sharpest shots? From macro mode.)

Sony Ericsson Sync

You can transfer Contacts, Calendar, Notes and Bookmarks to the X10 mini from any other mobile by setting it up to sync with Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson Sync also lets you manage information in your mobile from the internet.

Battery Life

It takes about 45 minutes to fully charge the X10 mini from about a quarter of battery power remaining and once fully fuelled stays that way for up to eight hours, depending on how much you use the handset.

Extras

Other goodies on the X10 mini include a radio, which must be listened to with earphones (they came in the box), as they serve as the radio antennae. It’s pretty cool to see the phone automatically look for a station, although it kept finding the same one.

Practical apps are also included, such as an alarm, maps (and GPS), calendar, notes and even a stop watch and timer. One app takes you to the Android Marketplace, where thousands of apps can be purchased for your mini.

Covers for the X10 mini come in pearl white, yellow-green, pink, red and grey. Nice, although based on effort, affixing a cover to the handset apparently requires a college degree.

Verdict

Small but mighty. By far, the music and camera features rank highest, with texting/typing on the opposite end. In between, it’s fun to swish widgets around and have the X10 mini kitted out just the way you want. Bonus points, too, for the handset’s carry-anywhere-in-anything size.

By Tina Costanza