• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Sony Experia X10 was massive, while the Sony Ericsson Experia X10 Mini is, well, miniature. Barely the length of a credit card, it elicits the same sort of reaction as a kitten or new-born baby – you can’t help going “aah”. But the X10 Mini is no lightweight when it comes to features; it has a batch of features that even the biggest of smartphones would die for.

First impressions

When we first held the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini, we were all set to slide the phone open, thanks to the fact that, despite its dinky size, it has a sizeable girth (the battery is built into the phone). But it’s actually all candybar, with control mostly coming via the 2.55-inch TFT capacitive touch-screen. There are also three thin, metallic hard keys right under the screen, including a menu key, a back key, and a menu key for the feature you are in.

Despite its small proportions, the Mini is definitely one of the Xperia X10 family, with its four corner UI. In each corner you’ll find shortcuts to music player, messages, dialling pad and phonebook. These four stay in place through the X10 Mini’s four home screens, which can be flicked from left to right, and right to left. The time and date is displayed on the first home screen, while the second has a Google search bar, which offers the option to search by voice (a feature that worked fabulously).

The third home screen offers a preview of your Timescape feeds, and the fourth has a User Support page. You can pull up any of the four main menus by either pressing the main menu key and swiping between them, or by using the virtual arrow at the bottom of the screen. The display is wonderfully crisp (there are 16 million colours on offer), but we had hoped the touch-screen would be a touch more responsive – our key presses weren’t always acknowledged.

Lack of accelerometers

We were also disappointed with the absence of accelerometers. It interfered with our web browsing because the presence of accelerometers ensures pages show better in landscape mode and you don’t have to scroll around the page as much, and we really missed having a virtual QWERTY keyboard – pretty much a given on touch-screen devices nowadays. Fair enough, the X10 Mini is tiny, so a keyboard would also be pretty tiddly, but Sony Ericsson could have fitted one in. So instead you’ll have to use the multi-tap keyboard for texts and emails, though there is a T9 dictionary mode.

On the plus side, it is simple to set up email accounts – particularly on Gmail – though we found syncing a hotmail account a breeze too. But we did have a problem reading emails with attachments. Not only did we stumble when trying to open Word documents, but the message itself took ages to open. You’ll notice that although Sony Ericsson has added its own skin to the X10 Mini, it does have a lot in common with Google Android – the notification bar at the top of the screen, for instance, which will let you know if you have a new email.

Keep up with Timescape

While you won’t find Mediascape on the X10 Mini, you’ll be pleased to know the excellent Timescape facility has been included. Log in to Timescape and a shortcut will appear on the home screen. This will bring you the latest “feed” from your Twitter or Facebook account, which can be set to update every 15 minutes. Click on the feed and get the full Timescape experience – that is, all your Twitter, Facebook, messages and missed calls being fed onto your screen. The user can then scroll through them all, pressing on any one to reply or go to the main site.

Connectivity wise, the X10 Mini has HDSPA and Wi-Fi. While we were easily able to log into the office network, returning to work the next day we found it a bit of a lottery whether we could automatically reconnect or not.

Good shot

Keen photographers will be able to capture some decent shots with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini. Okay, there’s not a huge amount in the way of camera features (there are four settings – Auto, Macro, Twilight and Sports) but the auto focus works well, and an LED flash is available for night-time and low-light images. But the camera is slow to start up, which is disappointing. It took three full seconds between pressing the camera button and the image finder getting into focus. However, once you’ve taken a shot it can be emailed, uploaded to Facebook or sent via MMS in only two steps. It’s also possible to upload video directly to YouTube

While the X10 Mini’s size makes it an unlikely sat nav for use in the car, pedestrians may well find it handy as the A-GPS offers a quick and stable fix, and there’s the added bonus of Wisepilot, which offers voice guidance along with a keyword search for places of interest. If that’s not for you, you can always pay a visit to Android Market to make your own choice of navigational app.

The verdict

While many people will buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini for its design (and that choice of coloured back covers), it still manages to pack in an admirable set of features. While there were some teething problems that irritated, if you’re looking for an Android phone that will fit easily in the pocket, while still offering a good feature set, this is a pretty decent choice.

Specifications

Specifications

Type of phone:

Smartphone

Style:

candy bar

Size:

83 x 50 x 16mm

Weight:

88

Display:

16 million colours

Resolution:

240x320

Camera:

Five

Special Camera features:

LED flash

Video recording:

Yes

Video playback:

Yes

Video calling:

No

Video streaming:

Yes

Music formats played:

MP3, MP4, WMA, WAV, eAAC+

3.5mm jack port:

Yes

Handsfree speakerphone:

Yes

Voice Control:

Yes

Voice Dialling:

Yes

Call records:

N/A

Phonebook:

Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Ringtones customization:

N/A

Display description:

N/A

Website:

http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/home

SAR:

N/A

Portfolio:

N/A

Standard color:

Black

Launch Status:

Coming Soon

Ringtones:

MP3

Radio:

Yes

Operating system:

Android

Connectivity:

MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A2DP

Announced date:

N/A

What's in the Box:

N/A

RAM:

128MB

International launch date:

TBC

Battery life when playing multimedia:

N/A

CPU:

N/A

FM Radio Description:

Stereo FM radio with RDS

Internal memory:

128

Memory Card Slot:

microSD

Messaging:

MMS, Email, IM, SMS

Internet Browser:

HTML

GPS:

A-GPS

Java:

Yes

Games:

Teeter

Data speed:

HSDPA

Frequency:

Quad-band

Talktime:

210 minutes (3G)

Standby:

360 hours (3G)

Display size:

2.55

Keypad:

Standard

Audio recording:

Yes

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