Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 review: Larger than life
Sony Ericsson have been working on the X10 for quite a long time, taking the utmost care to make sure its software offers the best user experience possible. They wanted their first droid to be perfect and perfection requires time. That’s right – the XPERIA X10 is the first Android to roll off the Sony Ericsson assembly line, hard as it might be to believe. But it certainly is not the kind of the phone to quietly disappear in the crowd of first-generation droids.
Androids just keep coming and a look at our front page will tell you any newcomer will need big ideas to make a splash. The popularity of Google’s mobile OS is reaching unprecedented levels and the handsets adopting Android grow in number every day. And while Microsoft will try to unify their Windows Phone 7 and limit customization, Google favor the opposite approach.
Sony Ericsson immediately took on board the possibilities offered by customization and really ran with it. Their blue-themed interpretation breathes new life into the familiar Android OS and tries to give the user a whole new experience. But they didn’t stop there. The unique Timescape and Mediascape interfaces are supposed to give the XPERIA X10 a much-needed edge in the high-end class. Trying to compete with the HTC Sense is a tough job, but Sony Ericsson have managed to offer something completely different – giving media and communications a central place in their UI.
XPERIA X10 comes with top-notch hardware to meet its software demands. Here is the impressive specs sheet along with some potential drawbacks.
- Quad-band GSM and tri-band 3G support
- 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA support
- 4" capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 854 pixel) resolution and scratch-resistant surface
- 16M-color ready (65K effective colors under Android OS v1.6)
- Android OS v1.6 with complete Sony Ericsson UI customization
- Timescape and Mediascape UI
- Excellent social networking integration
- Excellent build quality
- Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon 1 GHz CPU, OpenGL ES 2.0 support; 384 MB of RAM
- 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, touch focus, image stabilization, geotagging, face and smile detection
- WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) video recording @ 30fps
- Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS
- 1GB storage, microSD slot, bundled with an 8GB card
- Accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
- Document viewer
- Li-Po 1500 mAh (BST-41) battery
- Great audio quality
- No DivX and XviD video playback
- No smart dialing
- Limited storage available to the user on the system partition (you are left with only 512 MB for installing apps)
- No secondary video-call camera (or videocalling whatsoever)
- No free GPS navigation solution
- No Flash support for the web browser
- No FM radio
- An extra xenon flash would’ve made the very good camera perfect
- Feeble loudspeaker
Most of the XPERIA weaknesses are hardly deal breakers and most people could live with them. Sony Ericsson have done enough though to reassure everyone that the XPERIA X10 will be on a par with its Android rivals at the time of release. Don’t underestimate the amount of hard work put into the X10 during the long manufacturing process. The delay was definitely worth it.
Sony Ericsson have also promised that Android 2.1 will at some point be available for the XPERIA X10 enabling the full use of the 16M color-ready display. Despite the capacitive technology, the X10 display won't be getting multi-touch support even with the latest OS. As it turns out, there are hardware obstacles to enabling multi-touch, so Android 2.1 can't help here.
But no more small talk. Head to the next page where we start our traditional hardware inspection.