Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini

The Xperia X10 mini runs on a smartphone operating system, but is actually more suited for people who want a simple yet robust device that's also a little versatile when it comes to looks.


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The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini was announced in February at the Barcelona-based Mobile World Congress. It may be two generations behind with Android 1.6, but the pint-sized package sheds the heavy features of the original X10 and gets back to basics along with a snappy processor.

Design

The mini has the smallest footprint in the Xperia X10 family. It's so small we could palm the entire phone in our hand, and with space left over. The mini's tiny footprint is suited for those who like to hang their phone around their neck on a lanyard.

The plastic back has a convex shape and can be swapped out with six snap-on covers in different colours. The shiny plastic on the front picks up fingerprint smudges easily, but the same could also be said for phones with a touchscreen that's almost the size of the entire front area. The display measures 2.55 inches and screen sensitivity was excellent in our tests.

On button placements, there are three hardware slits for the contextual Menu, Home and Back below the screen. These are raised significantly from the chassis and have decent tactile feedback. On the right are the volume buttons and camera shutter, which are styled in a similar fashion as the main control strip. The main power button and key lock are at the top and nearly flush with the surface. We suspect this was intentional to minimise accidental presses. The 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB port are along the bottom. Removing the battery cover at the back reveals the SIM and microSD card slots. Note that the battery on the X10 mini isn't replaceable.

Features

As the release cycles of Android shorten, devices are undoubtedly going to be launched with older versions of Google's OS. Hence, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether there will be a firmware upgrade and when. For the X10 mini, Sony Ericsson has said it will provide an update to version 2.1 in Q4 this year. The mini pro and original X10 will also get the software upgrade during that time. Sure, the mini may be left out of the upgrade for now, but this Sony Ericsson nails it for someone seeking to buy a basic, compact Android smartphone.

Sony Ericsson's custom interface for Android features four customisable quadrants for placing applications at each corner of the home screen. There's space for only one widget per home screen due to the limited screen estate. We noticed that the mini started to lag as we added more widgets (we had a total of 12) and eventually gave up at one point with a force quit pop-up message. The home screens don't loop, so when you get to the last one, you'll have to make several swipes in the opposite direction to go back.

One of the issues we encountered with the small display on the mini was that we had to jump in and out of the alphanumeric keypad when filling in text fields. For forms or menus that have only one or two boxes, we could memorise what we needed to key in and use the Next option to get to the following field. But if it was anything more than that, we had to click Back to exit the keypad and know which field we were filling in. It's a minor inconvenience, but could be frustrating for some people.

The application icons and text don't look particularly sharp given the QVGA resolution and there aren't many fancy graphics transitions, but 320x240 pixels are adequate for a screen this size. It also helps that many of these labels are enlarged for better legibility on the small display. Screen legibility under sunlight is passable. We could make out on-screen text, but the reflections did take a few points off the overall experience.

We like the text input method, though. To get to the number and symbol pads, we simply drag out the columns on either side of the display and push them away once we're done. This is where both thumbs come in very handy with switching panels. We also like the font size, which is easy on the eyes, and we rarely had to squint to see what's on the screen. The mini doesn't have an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, which is fine since the limited panel size wouldn't be able to accommodate for one, either.

The mini doesn't support multi-touch. In the WebKit browser, you use either the magnifying glass to zoom or the overview option to quickly pan to a particular section on the web page. Flash is also not supported on this browser. In the picture gallery, you zoom on an image by double-tapping it.

Sony Ericsson's proprietary Timescape was a hit and miss for us. It presented Facebook and Twitter updates, messages and missed calls in a visually attractive manner, and that was it. We didn't find it particularly useful since there are apps that can manage these newsfeeds better. You can choose to show all or display updates from a particular source. You can also post status updates to Facebook and Twitter, as well as associate your contacts in the phone book with someone from these social-networking accounts. Unlike the X10, the X10 mini doesn't come with Mediascape for aggregating multimedia content. This is another area where the mini hogs less of the phone's resources.

The 5-megapixel camera is just as basic and probably can't get any simpler with only options to toggle the flash modes, switch between still and video capture, and four scene (auto, macro, twilight, sports) settings. It's dead simple to use with almost nothing to configure. In our field tests, there was a good amount of resolved details in the images and the mini certainly delivered the goods for a snapshot camera. The mini also records videos in VGA resolution at 30fps.

As can be expected of an Android smartphone, the mini comes with the usual repertoire of Google applications including Gmail, Latitude, Maps, a YouTube player and Android Market. Wisepilot for turn-by-turn navigation and DataViz RoadSync for synchronisation with a Microsoft Exchange server are also pre-installed.

Performance

The X10 mini is powered by a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor. This may be less powerful than higher-end smartphones fitted with the 1GHz Snapdragon processor and more RAM, but the mini managed to deliver a very smooth and snappy experience. This is probably due to a smaller, lower-resolution screen and less demand on the system resources compared with more advanced and power-hungry devices. To sum it up briefly, the X10 mini flies.

On call quality, the party on the other line reported that our voice sounded muffled when we were at a busy cross junction with music blaring from a nearby shopping mall. The quality was better when we tested the phone indoors at the CNET Asia office. The volume was also adequate when we switched to speaker mode. Note that the mini doesn't support video calls.

The 950mAh battery is rated for four hours of talk time and slightly less than 12 days on standby. With push email from Gmail and Exchange ActiveSync enabled, the mini lasted only slightly past a day.

Conclusion

The Xperia X10 mini will probably end up as one of the most easily misplaced phones in our book. Despite its small footprint, the mini doesn't compromise on usability. The interface is fast and the fonts suit the tiny display. The mini won't compete with higher-end Android smartphones, but with all the basic smartphone features included and an affordable retail price, the X10 mini may hold out on its own against the trend for large touchscreens and advanced features, for people who just want things simple.

Via CNET Asia

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DanielN Facebook
1
Rating
 

"****test phone ever!"

DanielN posted a review   

The Good:Good music player

The Bad:Everything

This phone is a piece of crap! Camera is very bad, the loading is incredibly slow.....
Using Facebook for this phone is incredibly slow, horrible, and kept on going off!!!!
The ringtone did not make an alarm when someone is trying to call me! Not happy! This phone needs to load much faster and the camera has to be more clear and powerful and also needs to have a camera zoom as well.... This phone is always lagging, even when I play games or go to different apps, and the internet connection is **** as well. But the music player is the only thing that is good for this phone

stabilo274
1
Rating
 

"Message problem - Do not purchase"

stabilo274 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:The phone itself is actually pretty good

The Bad:But the phone can't receive text messages (crazy huh)

DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. When I receive a new message it inserts old messages halfway through. Who wants a phone that can't receive a message properly? Many people have this problem and have tried everything to fix it. Sony Ericsson knows about the issue and hasn't done anything. This problem makes the phone basically useless. I would recommend you STEER CLEAR OF SONY ERICSSON ALTOGETHER

porkchoppromotions
8
Rating
 

"Great phone. compact size. love it!!!"

porkchoppromotions posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Size, packed full of features

The Bad:nothing

I have this phone and its great for anyone who isnt into one of these great big iphone or galaxy size phones, the battery life is fine. I dont get why people keep saying it only lasts a day mine always lasts 2 days sometimes 1 if im using it heaps.the camera is fine for a 5mp. bluetooth pairs well to our car. If you dont want or need a big phone this is perfect

kem2011
1
Rating
 

kem2011 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:nothing

The Bad:everything

The battery life is crap also the touch screen doesn't always work so I get very frustrated writing msgs or trying to end a call or trying to snooze my alrm when the touchpad doesn't work. You can't zoom in on a photo when you take it only after in the edit mode. You can't save pictures from your msgs. You can't send a business card I dont' think . Doesn't have mac compatible software. Battery drowns easily I think this is because the keys press up in my handbag and this turns the screen light on thus draining the battery even quicker.

bluetooth doesn't work so will need usb cord to transfer anything...

k800i was so much better then this piece of crap

rami24t
7
Rating
 

rami24t posted a review   
Other

The Good:small , easy ,

The Bad:Battery life ,Battery life ,Battery life .

nice mobile ,small , smart , easy , fast , some time freeze ,
the only real problem is the BATTERY LIFE , it's not logical to charge a mobile once or maybe twice aday in (2010 - 2011 ) although I dont use the mobile very much , these may cause problem .Sony Ericsson must to solve this problem , otherwise this is not a MINI mobile .

alisha3885
9
Rating
 

"Much better then x8"

alisha3885 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:smooth, easy to use, very cute

The Bad:a little to small pro would be better

I really loved this phone but it was a tad too small, the mini pro would be better as buttons external but great little phone.

David.k
9
Rating
 

David.k posted a review   

The Good:Size, performance, wifi, Android 2.1

The Bad:Hanging up, Battery life

This phone is awesome, but if your now prepared to charge it everyday this mobile isn't for you. Its tiny, but the screen is easily big enough to see what you're doing clearly. I have downloaded and use many android apps without any lag or crashes. Android 2.1 looks good and its easy to use. Making and accepting calls is easy, but hanging up requires you to re activate the screen, then tap one of the corners. A button would have been much easier. Overall awesome phone though.

mammu
1
Rating
 

mammu posted a review   

The Good:looke, size, camera is fantastic

The Bad:battery life,alarm, phoning, reception

Battery lasts only one day, even on standby and all internet draining options disabled. It's OK,if you treat as a mini computer to access internet but not as a phone... Very difficult to end the phonecall as the screen needs to be reactivated before you can find the icon in the corner to end the call. The same with the alarm. Radio function is VERY basic, very bad reception, no station list available to create. Although camera is very good, no editing tools available. In short, I hate it. Regret I asked to receive as a present.


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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini

  • DanielN

    DanielN

    Rating1

    "This phone is a piece of crap! Camera is very bad, the loading is incredibly slow.....
    Using Facebook for this phone is incredibly slow, horrible, and kept on going off!!!!
    The ringtone..."

  • stabilo274

    stabilo274

    Rating1

    "DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. When I receive a new message it inserts old messages halfway through. Who wants a phone that can't receive a message properly? Many people have this problem and have tried ev..."

  • porkchoppromotions

    porkchoppromotions

    Rating8

    "I have this phone and its great for anyone who isnt into one of these great big iphone or galaxy size phones, the battery life is fine. I dont get why people keep saying it only lasts a day mine al..."

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