Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 review: Larger than life

GSMArena team, 26 March 2010.

8 megapixel camera

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 sports an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash capable of taking photos at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels.

Sony Ericsson have designed their own camera interface from scratch and it takes us back to the golden days of Cybershot.

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The camera interface

At the left viewfinder bar you will find five options - capturing mode, resolution, scenes, focus mode and camcorder switch. On the opposite you can set the exposure compensation and go to the camera album.

There are four capturing modes - normal, scene recognition, smile detection and touch capture. Scene recognition is essentially auto mode whereby the X10 will determine what setting to shoot in.

There are five focus modes available - single or multi autofocus for focusing on more than one spot, touch focus, macro mode, face detection and infinity for capturing landscapes.

Finally, there is one really handy addition - the recent shot tray. It appears at the bottom right corner and shows the last pictures taken as small thumbnails.

The camera interface puts a lot of options on the viewfinder so they’re a touch away (they can be hidden of course), but to get to the rest you need the extended settings menu. It includes options like geotagging, image stabilization, self-timer, even “smile level” to tweak the sensitivity of the smile detection.

One pitfall is that the LED light needs to be turned on manually each time you need it and that setting is buried into the extended settings menu.

A cool, iPhoto-like feature is the face recognition. Snap a photo of someone (it works with up to five faces in a photo) and their face will be tagged – automatically if you’ve already tagged that person, or you can do it manually if you haven’t or the automatic recognition fails for some reason.

After that’s done, when viewing a photo with you can tap the name tag, which brings the options to view the contact, show all photos with that contact, or change or delete the name tag. Viewing all photos for a contact is available through the contacts entry in the Contacts app as well.


The face tagging feature in action

Image quality

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 takes pretty good photos with excellent detail and colors. There are no visible problems with the lens or processing algorithm. There are some things here and there that need polishing, but we are more than satisfied with the results.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 takes pretty good photos with very low noise levels – the noise reduction algorithm does its job well and thanks to the 8MP sensor there’re plenty of pixels to work with.

The color rendering is good, the only thing to note is the X10 camera tends to leave the shadows slightly underdeveloped.

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Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 camera samples

Update 08 Apr: We also took a couple of shots with the XPERIA X10 camera to see if the new firmware affects the image quality as well. The results turned out identical to the initial photos and subtle differences can be attributed to the lighting differences, rather than image processing algorithm modifications. Check them out below.

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Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 camera samples

Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. You can see how the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 image quality compares to that of some of the other handsets we have reviewed. Clicking any of the following three images will take you to our dedicated page for some pixel-peeping pleasure.

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Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 in the Photo Compare Tool

WVGA video recording

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 captures video in WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels vs. 720 x 480 for D1) at 30fps. In reality the frame rate is a bit lower because of occasional doubled frames. It hovers around 27fps, which is good enough by our books.

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Camcorder UI

Videos are captured in MP4 format with AAC audio. The resolved detail is lower than on 720p videos, but it’s the next best thing. It’s more than enough for snapping basic movies on the go.

Here is a sample WVGA video clip by the XPERIA X10.

Connectivity: 3G, Bluetooth file transfers and all

Connectivity is strong with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 – quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, three localized versions - each with tri-band 3G, 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 2Mbps HSUPA.

Local connectivity is well covered too – Wi-Fi b/g with DLNA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and file transfers. Now, that’s quite a rarity for the droid folk – especially at ver.1.6. There’s also a microUSB port for connecting with a PC (including mass storage mode).

As we already mentioned the available microSD memory card slot is not hot swappable, as you have to remove the battery to access it.

Flashless browser

The Android web browser has always been good, although the newer version we’ve seen on Android 2.0 has a better, more intuitive UI. Still, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 browser renders most pages flawlessly and is very snappy.

The XPERIA X10 doesn’t have pinch zooming, so instead it relies on the +/- zoom buttons and the magnifying glass feature.

Double-tap zooming is missing as well (it was added in Android 2.0).

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Browsing GSMArena.com on Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10

The magnifying glass zooms out until the page fits horizontally on the screen and then gives you a virtual magnifying glass, which you move with your finger. It’s perfect for navigating large, content-heavy pages or you could use the find on page feature.

There's text reflow and keeps the columns of text exactly as wide as the screen – essential for comfortable reading.

There is of course support for multiple tabs – hit the Windows button to view a grid of the open pages displayed as thumbnails. The thumbnail feature in the bookmarks is missing however.

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Multiple tabs are supported • No thumbnails in the bookmarks

Typically, Flash support is missing in the browser, though the YouTube application partially makes up for that.

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No Flash in the browser

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