Sony Ericsson Xperia mini review: Small is the new big
The usual gallery, still downsizing the photos
The Xperia mini uses the traditional droid Gallery, which hasn’t really seen much change in Gingerbread. It has good functionality, cool 3D looks and nice transition effects, but unfortunately only shows a downsized version of your images.
The different albums and folders appear as piles of photos, which fall in neat grids once selected. If you have online albums over at Picasa those show up as separate stacks as well.
Alternatively, your photos can be sorted by date with the help of a button in the top right corner, which switches between grid and timeline view.
In grid view, there’s a date slider, which can also be used to find photos taken on a certain date.
The gallery supports finger scrolling or panning so you can skip images without having to return to the default view.
Just swipe to the left or right when viewing a photo in fullscreen mode and the previous/next image will appear.
Thanks to the Xperia mini's multi-touch support pinch zooming is also available here.
The Android gallery still shows only downsized version of you images, though if you send one from here the full-res shot is received on the other end.
Images can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS also comes in handy.
Limited codec support for the video player
There is no dedicated video player app on the Xperia mini as in most of the droids out there. Fair enough, maybe a fancy UI for picking a video is not that important, playing videos is what really counts. Well, that’s another disappointment – the video player supports only 3GP and MP4 videos.
To its credit, the Xperia mini did play a 720p MP4 video though (it records 720p videos, so it's expected to). And the 3 ” HVGA Reality screen is a pure joy to watch.
You are welcomed to download a capable video player off the Android Market and make your life easier though.
Eye-candy music player
The music player on the Xperia mini is quite a looker. The interface is laid out in four tabs for the available sorting options: all artists, all tracks, playlists and albums.
If you hit the menu key you’ll get send and delete options. There is also a dedicated search bar at the top.
The Now Playing screen offers nothing but the standard music controls, shortcuts to the library, the current album and the Infinite key, which allows you to quickly look up a song or album on YouTube.
The only available visualization is the album art.
The music fans will appreciate the equalizer: it’s a rich selection of presets. There is also an xLOUD setting to enhance the device speaker volume.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini is also equipped with an FM radio, which has a really neat and simple interface. It automatically scans the area for the available stations and places “notches” on the frequency dial for easier scrolling to the next station. Or you can mark some of them as favorite for easier scrolling.
The TrackID service for song recognition is also available and works within the radio app.
Audio quality good as expected
Having reviewed its QWERTY-packing brother, we knew pretty well what to expect from the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini. It would make little sense for Sony Ericsson to produce the two devices with different hardware.
The output is especially convincing when you use the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini with an active external amplifier. As you can see from the table below the mini got great scores across the board in that scenario.
Naturally, there's some degradation when headphones are connected, most notably in terms of stereo crosstalk and intermodulation distortion. Still, the mini remains quite a lot better than average and, in general, performs better than you could probably expect given its price tag and focus.
And here come the full results so you can see for yourselves:
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.