Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
Newest Review: ... up the phone like the other versions of the phone it does feel that it should slide out this is the only unusual thing about the appearance... more
Putting the 'smart' into smartphone
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini
Member Name: magenta23
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini
Advantages: Cute and small, easy to use, everything you could want at the touch of, well, a screen!
Disadvantages: Can change to loud without disabling keylock, some obvious features not included
Smart phones - why are they called smart phones? I presume it means smart as in clever and not smart as in they look good, because for the most part, they don't. Big, bulky and frankly downright ugly most of them. It took me a long time when looking for a new phone to find one that looked stylish and wasn't the size of a house. Now, I understand why phones seem to have got monstrously big recently - people want a large screen for surfing the internet, watching videos and viewing pictures etc but I have a laptop for that, I want a mobile that is just that- mobile, something a can put in my pocket and carry around comfortably and I only need one hand to hold! Rant over, because Sony Ericsson came to my rescue with the Xperia X10 Mini. (Though I think mini is in fact a normal size and the standard X10 should be called X10 massive.)
About the X10...
Sony Ericsson released the X10 Mini, part of it's successful Xperia range of phones, in May last year, and it's still pretty up to date despite the rate that mobile phones seem to progress. It runs on the Android system- I only vaguely understand what that means, though my technically minded other half informs me this is a good thing!
You can get an astonishing amount of apps for Android and after owning it only a number of weeks I've downloaded a collection of useful tools such as Wikipedia and BBC news as well as an app for the ATP tour which keeps me up to date with the latest tennis scores whilst at work. (Fancy making people work when Wimbledon is on.. pfft!) I have also downloaded a collection of pointless time wasting games which are giving me equal measures of enjoyment and frustration. The X10 comes loaded with quite a few standard and not so standard gadgets when you first get it. The obvious being calendar, calculator, alarms and timers but also facebook app (which now appears to be a must have feature of everything you own), you tube, navigation programs and an assortment of games which you need to be connected to the internet for a consequently cost a fortune. It seems with smart phones they assume because you can get an app for everything from checking the stock market to decided what to have for dinner they overlook including some relatively basic features. For example, I was looking through my phone trying to find my converter to find it doesn't contain one. My old non smart (stupid?) phone had this, so why doesn't this presumably far more advanced one? I found and downloaded an app with no real effort however because all these companies that make the apps want you to download theirs instead of their competitors, they try and make them all singing and dancing, meaning the converter I have is ten times more complicated that I'd like it to be.
Easy to use even if you're not smart...
For those of you, like me, who haven't used a smart phone before the X10 mini is pretty easy to get to grips with. Most functions are done by the phone's touch screen where you can flick through the pages of features and pick the ones you want with ease. It's easy to to arrange the phone how you wish and picking up and dropping the icons where you wish a particular feature to be. For speed and ease of use, I think smart phones brilliant. Often when changing model, and especially brand of phone it took at long time to work out under which of the many menus what you were looking for was hiding. With everything being an icon, laid out as you choose it couldn't be easier to simplify and have your phone organised in the way that best suits the individual. In addition to the page of apps, you can have four widgets (or shortcuts) on the main home screen which you can change to the things you use most (by the same dragging and dropping method.) I've got messages, contacts, keypad and tennis scores - obviously the most important things!! In the centre of the home screen is a nice big time and date, brilliant as, like a lot of people, I use my phone as a watch and quickly being able to see the time just by lighting it up is key to me. Of course you can change this too if you wish and have a picture of cat or something instead.
There are a number of keys too, three at the bottom of the screen which act as a function button, menu button and back button. At the side are the volume up and down keys, camera key and at the top the off/on and lock button. You press this button once quickly to lock the phone and press and hold to turn off where it will ask you if you are sure and you need to confirm on the touch screen. I like this as I was forever turning my last phone off my accident and it took forever to load up again. The X10 mini does boot up in seconds after turning on which is also great.
I won't list the whole boring specification because even if you know what half the stuff means I certainly don't, if you want to view it it can be found here -
I guess with a smart phone, you can use it for whatever you please and listing everything it has the potential to do would take all day, however I'll give you a run down of the main features and specifications, or at least the ones I feel are most important.
TOUCHSCREEN- Pretty standard way of doing things with all newer models. I'm sure something amazing will come along soon like airscreen or something and anyone using a touchscreen will be deemed very old fashioned, but for now anyway this is the norm. I'm pleased with the touchscreen on the X10, it's pretty sensitive, not so much as you engage things when you even get close, but unlike other touchcreens I've used you don't have to batter the thing half to death to press a function either. It is a smallish screen for a touchscreen and I see a little now why the big screens have an advantage. It did take a little while for me to get used to using it and often pressed the button next to the one I was aiming for, particularly annoying for texting and sudoku (one of the very useful apps I downloaded.) Some of my friends got some odd texts when I was getting used to pressing the right buttons and learning how the predictive text works, however with everything it's all about getting used to it and I'm now texting stuff that makes sense and I think I've managed to persuade them that I'm not crazy. The sudoku, however, just proved far too annoying.
PHONEBOOK / CALL RECORDS - I love the fact that there is practically infinite amounts of names, numbers and call records you can store on this phone. Not of course, that that's really a problem for me, though it nice to be able to list all the local cabs and takeaways... You can add mug shots, multiple numbers and email addresses to each contact as well as creating a favourites list which is probably the function I use most. Of course there is also the old fashioned keypad for making calls the long way.
MEMORY- The phone has 128MB of internal memory and a slot for a micro SD card, it comes with a 2GB card but can hold up to a 16GB.
SOUND QUALITY - The phone takes a little getting used to for calls due to the size and you have to wiggle a bit to get the speaker in the right place, after a bit of getting used to though I've had no problems. I turn the earpiece sound up all the way and can hear clearly even walking along a busy street. Indoors I tend to use the loudspeaker to avoid a sore arm and that is also clear as a bell. You can easily adjust the volume mid call with the buttons on the side of the phone. The phone has all the standard irritating ringtones which are loud and clear enough to hear in a bag, of course you can change these by adding your own sound files.
CAMERA - The X10 has a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with flash. I do wonder why with all the amazing things phones can do now they still fit them with rubbish cameras. Ok for snap shots and for when you have no camera to hand and not bad as far as phone cameras go, but still no match for even the lowest budget digital camera. Also capable of recording video which is actually more successful than it's still photos.
MUSIC- The X10 has both a music player and FM radio and even better a standard 3mm jack so you can use whatever headphones you choose and not the crappy ones supplied, hurrah! I have my ipod that goes with me wherever I go and because my old phone used earphones with it's own special connector, I never used it, however I've put a bit of music on this for back up when my ipod runs out of juice! As with most features on here, the music player is easy to use, obviously the amount you can store will depend on the card you have in but with the ability to hold a card of up to 16GB there's the potential for a pretty extensive library.
INTERNET- Perhaps the sole most important use for a smart phone user. This phone has Wifi capability which you can have set, to inform you when Wifi is available. Good for me as I don't have an unlimited data use on my contract so make the use of Wifi when I can. It's very easy to switch on and off and find signal. Otherwise it uses both 2G and 3G mobile internet, which I've found in most areas is quick though of course this will depend on a number of factors such as location and network. The browser is easy to use with the ability to store favourite pages as you would do on a PC. There is the android market at your fingertips if you ever want a new app which generally download quickly and you are notified of this at a bar of the top of the screen. This bar also contains notifications when there are updates for your phone, which you can set to do automatically or as you choose. You can link up multiple email account to your X10, to check your inbox(s) quickly on the move, and while I have my Yahoo! Account linked to my phone which I had no trouble with, it just did not want to know with my hotmail account. There is a hotmail app you can download to get around this problem, but it does mean I don't have all my emails in one place on the phone.
BATTERY LIFE- A feature I think is important to know about when choosing a phone. The official specifications state that the battery should provide 360 hours standby and 3.5 hours talk time. Obviously it depends on how much you use your phone and what for to how long the battery will last. With my old stupid phone I could get away with charging it once every three days, but as with human beings the more you do you more energy you need which is why smart phones like to guzzle battery power. I have to charge my X10 everyday, but I use it a lot. Also it still performs quite well on a low battery. My battery was down to 15% and I needed to make a call. I was wondering whether I'd get the whole call done before it gave up, but 30 minutes of talking later and I had only used 6% up. After my recently deceased phone went full battery- half battery- off, this is quite a novelty! There are apps you can get that claim to prolong battery life but I'm a little suspicious of these, surely adding more things to your phone will only guzzle more power? I would be interested to hear if anyone has had any joy with these apps. The battery charger is a slim design and is compatible with a number of other phones of different makes which is very useful. Full charge takes about an hour.
This phone is cute. I reckon one of the nicest lookers on the market. Not only is it dinky (or what I'd call normal size) measuring 83 x 50 x 16mm it's simplistic and non fussy. The finish is gloss black and you can change the back cover. There are a number of colours to choose from including G
gold, silver, red and lime green. I have stuck to black so far but it's nice to know it can be switched if this one gets tatty or I just fancy a change. The screen is supposedly scratch proof though I have used a screen protector so far. I don't know how long this will last as it's coming up at the corner and driving me crazy. Replacement screen protectors are very expensive for what they are are with this as will all phones.
I think one thing that bugs me about the design of the phone is the way in which you change ring from silent to loud. You can do this while the phone is locked by sliding your finger across the screen. Don't get me wrong, I like being able to switch between silent and loud quickly as I change it often depending on where I am, however if I'm at work in a meeting or in the library I don't much like it's ability to turn itself to loud so easily in my pocket. Why Sony Ericsson did you design this so it can be done without unlocking the phone? Crazy! Having said this the phone is nice and loud when you want it to be and I can hear it very clearly, the vibrate however is a little weak and I often don't feel it even in my pocket.
Most importantly, what is this thing going to set you back? Well you can get it free on a number of networks with various overpriced contracts! Cost alone through O2 at the moment is £149.00, other internet sellers are selling at £110, our local Cex were selling an unlocked model in good condition for £100 but the best and cheapest place I found was Ebay. They are popular so prepare for a bidding war and make sure you check out they are trustworthy sellers as always before and protect yourself and pay through paypal. The reward should be that you get one for around the £80 mark though, either new or as good as - a worthwhile saving. I think a lot of people sell these after a brief use or none at all because they just can't get used to the size having had bigger phones and so often you can pick them up nearly new. Less popular networks also bring down the price but bear in mind these phones are difficult to unlock. I looked into this before buying mine.
In conclusion a good looking, small phone that does everything it's big brothers do, all at a reasonable price. A true 'smart' phone.