Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro

The X10 mini pro is at its best as a music player and short message handset, but its tiny size comes with sacrifices.


7.5
CNET Rating
6.9
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


They say good things come in small packages, and when it comes to phones, they don't come much smaller than Sony Ericsson's X10 mini.

Design

It really is quite an astounding feat; Sony Ericsson follows up its Xperia X10, one of the industry's larger phones, with a mini version and succeeds in creating a truly unique, pint-sized smartphone. At only 90mm tall and 52mm wide, the mini pro looks like a small, black pebble and fits in the palm of our hands. Sony Ericsson has told us that this design encourages single-handed use with your thumb in position for all menu navigation. For the most part, this works exactly as described. In combination with the user interface design, most menu surfing is possible without needing to hold the mini pro in one hand and poke at it with the other.

Sony Ericsson's UX user interface has been modified from what we saw on the original Xperia X10 for use on smaller devices. The most notable and necessary adjustment is its four-corner user-definable shortcuts. Though users will also get four home screens to customise with widgets and application hot-keys, the four corners of the home screen constantly display the same shortcuts for one-touch access to the apps you use most. You can also access the Apps Drawer on the phone with a vertical swipe anywhere on the home screen, rather than having to hen-peck at a tiny on-screen button.

This press image shows the four-corner shortcuts
(Credit: Sony Ericsson)

At the end of the day, though, there's no overlooking the fact that the display of this smartphone is only 2.6 inches big, which is tiny compared with similarly capable smartphones, and its QVGA resolution is much lower than we're coming to expect from phones of this ilk. The mini pro's form factor may fit better in your jeans pocket, but when it comes to viewing web pages or multimedia, we're talking about thousands of pixels difference. For most everyday tasks this screen is fine — reading messages, selecting contacts from your address book — but if you rely on your mobile browser for lengthy sessions of web surfing, the mini pro is not for you.

If messaging and social networking is your focus, then you will appreciate the mini pro's decent QWERTY keyboard. Hidden beneath the screen, this keyboard is definitely shorter length-wise than the keyboard you'd get if you choose the LG Eve instead, but it's nonetheless usable for thrashing out a quick SMS or typing a URL into the browser's address bar. We wouldn't want to be conducting a day's worth of email on this pad, but it'll do the trick for anything else.

Features

Making a working phone this size is a remarkable enough accomplishment in and of itself, but what's truly amazing is that Sony Ericsson has managed to cram in everything else you'd expect to find on a modern smartphone. For web browsing and data transfers, the mini pro features HSPA technology (high speed uploads and downloads) and Wi-Fi with support for 802.11 b and g network protocols. On the back of the phone you'll find a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash, a 2GB microSD memory card inside, 3.5mm headphone socket and a video player supporting H.264 MP4 video files.

There's an accelerometer and A-GPS for orientating the phone locally and globally, with Google Maps installed to make use of the GPS hardware. The mini pro runs on Google's Android version 1.6, so you can expect to find Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and the Android Market pre-installed and ready to play with out of the box. Also installed is a YouTube client and an FM radio player, though you'll need to plug in headphones to tune in to FM radio stations.

As part of Sony Ericsson's UX interface you also get access to Mediascape and Timescape, though the versions of these apps on the mini varies from what we originally saw on the first X10. You could consider them "lite" versions of the software, Timescape in particular has been pared back to improve performance, and both apps now make use of the four-corner shortcuts you find on the home screens. Mediascape is still a winner for us and is probably the standout feature on both the X10 mini and the mini pro. The UI is attractive, easy to use and takes your music further than other players with a direct link to YouTube videos of your favourite bands.

Timescape Lite: pared back for improved performance
(Credit: CNET Asia)

Performance

If there's one area of smartphones that truly suffers after being miniaturised, it's the battery's capacity. The battery in the mini pro is a non-user removable 930mAh unit, which is 25- to 50- per cent smaller than the batteries we tend to see in regular-sized smartphones. The results are pretty obvious, even when we employed our best battery-saving tips we still needed to charge the X10 mini pro every night after a day of low to medium use. The upside is that this tiny battery charges like its been struck by lightning.

We also struggled a little more with the tiny touchscreen than we would have liked. For broad strokes of the screen, for example, swiping between screens in the menu, the touchscreen seemed to be responsive. But for fine object selection, the usability takes a dive. Trying to select the pull-down Android notification bar can be very tricky to do quickly, but it was perhaps most notable when we played Peggle during our tests, a game that requires fine movements, and we found it very hard to position our shots as accurately as we'd expect to on another devices, like the iPhone. You often have to move your finger slowly over the screen to ensure your accuracy and this is less than we'd expect.

Making calls is fine with this tiny unit, with a loud, clear earpiece speaker, though receiving calls is a little trickier. We found the ringer volume to be far quieter than we'd like, even at full volume, and often we'd miss calls with the phone in our pockets. The irony to this point is that the mini pro has a startlingly loud external speaker, which you can use for hands-free calls or music playback, so we're guessing the quiet ringer must be a software issue, rather than a hardware one.

Overall

The Xperia X10 mini pro is an engineering feat, but we don't buy phones because they are a certain size, shape or colour — performance always has to come first. The X10 mini pro includes all of the features you'd expect from a smartphone, fast web speeds, Wi-Fi and GPS, a good suite of apps and an online store to expand its functionality, and it packs it all into a unit that is about half the size of a standard phone. But the size of the phone does come with drawbacks, its smaller battery capacity and more importantly its smaller, low resolution screen. Both are issues that challenge the everyday use of the X10 mini pro as a phone.

At its best, the X10 mini pro is an excellent portable music player and short messaging handset. We don't love web browsing with the itty-bitty display, but it's fine for browsing sites with clean, minimal layouts, like Facebook mobile.

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Post comment as
AliB Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Basically, this phone is ideal for me as I love the slideout qwery keypad in an android phone"

AliB posted a review   

The Good:slideout keypad, good performance so far

The Bad:battery life, top row of keys in keypad a bit too close to screen

Before this, my older phones include a Symbian-operated Nokia N97 mini, and a Sony Ericsson W8 phone, all smart phones on a lower budget.
I love the keypad on the Nokia but hated the limited application & surfing capacity of a Symbian phone. I enjoyed the experience of an Android phone but disliked touch-screen typing.
So basically, this phone was the ideal combination of the 2 things I wanted.

I've only had this for a few days and I am loving it. I am a big user of social media and gps travel, so I love the availability of numerous apps in an android phone.
the camera has been decent so far, havent tested for serious shots yet.
I like they keypad, although I think the top row of keys are too close to the screen, I keep bumping against the screen when I type too fast.

 

Faa07 posted a comment   
Indonesia

@Benghong,

You just need to go to the 'messaging' menu then tap Menu key.
There will be displayed three options; 'Delete Several', 'Search' and 'Settings'.
So then you have to choose the 'settings'. Once you tap on, you will see the 'delivery report' menu at very first one. Then uncheck it !

benghong
8
Rating
 

"great little phone"

benghong posted a review   
Australia

Can someone tell me how to turn off the SMS Delivery Report? I am getting charged for this.
Also, using the browser, can't find the log off and getting charged for it too, in all my bill was over a $100, when normally I only use around $12 a month.

wikkidawsmbro
9
Rating
 

"WIKKID AWSM"

wikkidawsmbro posted a review   

The Good:QWERTY keyboard, touch screen, camera

The Bad:battery :O, camera zoom

this phone is awsm ftw. looks great and the keyboard is easy to use. u hav to cram ur hands ovr it at first but u adapt to it after a while. best to get it as a kid while ur hands dont get too big for it.the battery sucks but if u charge it every night u shud b fine

android cud b better but not crap so there u are. the camera is gud 2 bu a bad zoom so u hav to get up close to wat u r taking. its also small so u dont carry a brick in ur pocket. i highly recommend dis phone so 9/10 it is.

Bec_28
10
Rating
 

"Really good phone for anyone"

Bec_28 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Everything SMART tech phone

The Bad:zoom on the camera

The only bad thing i found about this phone was the zoom. Even though it does take really good photos you do have to get up and close to the subject you are taking the photo on.

Bluetooth for me on my phone was not allowed to be accessed but that was on the version 1.6 i upgraded to the version 2.1 only last night (does not cost money) and i am allowed to access everthing on my phone now!

VERY SMART PHONE

The keypad is extremly good to use and quick and easy... but i do reconmmend if youcan't type using a small keypad to NOT buy this phone! Touch screen is PERFECT not hard but not too sensitive to use

Overall i am EXTREMLY loving this phone!!!

 

Disappointed posted a comment   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

Very disappointed, the user interface takes me back 10 years in terms of usability

FTW
7
Rating
 

FTW posted a review   

The Good:Compact, music, camera

The Bad:battery life

I've had my X10 mini pro for about 2 months now and as a kid still in high school this phone is pretty crap. Sometimes my screen blacks out and I have to take the battery out to restart the whole phone, sometimes the touch screen won't work, the bluetooth only works for hands free (i.e doesn't work for photos, music etc) and sometimes it won't let me answer the call.

However, there are some good things about the phone like it's 5MP camera, the speakers are loud and the keyboard is handy.
Overall this phone is okay but there are better phones out there

manu
10
Rating
 

manu posted a review   

Excellent phone with lot of adavanced features----- really like it

Rolly
8
Rating
 

Rolly posted a review   

The Good:size, easy UI

The Bad:battery

Didn't buy it to browse the web, but as a phone with some extra features if needed. Also fits in my cycling jersey without the bulk. Good things come in small packages.


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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro

  • AliB

    AliB

    Rating9

    "Before this, my older phones include a Symbian-operated Nokia N97 mini, and a Sony Ericsson W8 phone, all smart phones on a lower budget.
    I love the keypad on the Nokia but hated the limited ..."

  • Faa07

    Faa07

    "@Benghong,

    You just need to go to the 'messaging' menu then tap Menu key.
    There will be displayed three options; 'Delete Several', 'Search' and 'Settings'.
    So then you have..."

  • benghong

    benghong

    Rating8

    "Can someone tell me how to turn off the SMS Delivery Report? I am getting charged for this.
    Also, using the browser, can't find the log off and getting charged for it too, in all my bill was..."

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