Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
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Xperia X10 - Xcellent
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
Member Name: icetsunami
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
Advantages: Excellent 4in screen, quality 8.1mp camera, Timescape
Disadvantages: Dire battery
Sony Ericsson have a bit of a dodgy track record as far as I am concerned and this seems to be backed up by a string of complaints regarding build quality and reliability. Nethertheless I have still had a few SE handsets over the years and they do occasionally produce some great examples. Currently pushing the newest phones in their Xperia range (the Arc and the Play) they still have some premium handsets to choose from that now fall into the 'mid range' price category. One of these is the Xperia X10 which on the face of things is a very impressive phone.
This phone is large. There is no escaping that but this is due to being dominated by a huge looking 4in high quality capacitive touchscreen. Three physical buttons sit beneath it for shortcut, home and back functions respectively. The top of the phone has a power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB port secreted under a cover. To the right hand side are volume buttons and a dedicated camera hotkey. The phone is quite weighty but has a very solid feel and this denotes the great build quality. The rear casing is sculpted to a gentle curve which fits nicely in the hand and apart from branding contains just the camera and accompanying 'light'.
Initially shipped with the ageing Android 1.6 Donut, subsequent software updates have brought this up up to version 2.1 Eclair. This was supposed to be the last firmware upgrade available with many users dismayed at the lack of 2.2 FroYo support on the flagship handset but it is now officially confirmed that the newest version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread, will be released in Q3 of this year - possibly at the beginning of August.
SE use their own software as an overlay of Android but anyone who has used the open source platform previously will find it both familiar and logical. A big feature of this handset is the Timescape app which aggregates messages with social media such as Twitter and Facebook into a 3D rotating tab showing the latest details and updates in a flashy graphical representation. Similarly, Mediascape aggregates photos, videos and music, cataloging them in groups for fast access. It is more functional than Timescape but still a good way to handle media.
Recent software updates have also brought into play some features that were missing such as HD video recording (well 720p) and multitouch which is par for the course these days on high end phones.
Sony Ericsson have a tendency to incorporate some excellent hardware as far as optics are concerned though some may say they should concentrate more on the phone itself. The sensor itself is a 8.1mp one which takes excellent pictures, particularly when there is good ambient light. A host of software features include face recognition, smile detection, geo tagging and touch the focus. A stack of in-menu technical options are available but what I must mention is the LED flash that doesn't actually flash! The LED is essentially a light that provides a fixed point of illumination and needs to be turned on and off as required. Whilst the lack of a flash option is puzzling the light does a fairly good and is very bright.
The camera also captures video at WVGA resolution at 30fps going up to 720p with continuous auto focus. I found footage to be of good quality with decent image stabilisation and not overly sensitive to noise. Colour representation is good but perhaps slightly muted and when I outputted media to my 40in LED I was impressed by the overall standard.
The screen is the crowning glory of this handset and it looks excellent. A resolution of 480*840 gives a sharp, vivid look which shows off pictures and video very well, including fast moving footage. The screen is capacitive and has an excellent level of response and precision though the glossy finish is highly prone to finger marks. At the time this was probably one of the best displays on the market and it still holds its own but can't match the newer AMOLED screens which are stunning. It is also worth noting that it is hard to see in bright sunlight.
The 1500 mha battery is powerful but sadly the phone is more powerful meaning frequent charging is obligatory. Light use will see you through the day but data intensive tasks and GPS will kill it dead in no time meaning you need to keep a plethora of chargers at strategic points to maintain use. Switching off non essentials such as bluetooth and wifi will ease the pain but most people want to use the full functionality of their handset. Perhaps the 2.3 update will address power management?
Ease of use:
Generally the Android OS is well thought out and quite logical though does differ from the more basic (easier?)
systems such as Symbian used on Nokias. Messages tend to be held in feeds rather than having traditional in and out boxes but the majority is icon driven for apps and self explanatory headings in the menu sub system. You may find your first Android phone a little alien but within the first few hours everything just seems to make sense.
The physical dimensions of the phone don't make it hard to hold and the contoured back is comfortable. Buttons are sensibly located though I personally prefer the power point to be on the bottom of the phone. Everything feels quite sturdy and entirely functional though I do feel the camera hotkey is slow to respond, as is the accelorometer when switching between portrait and landscape modes.
Dimensions 119 x 63 x 13 mm
Weight 135 g with battery
Operating system (upgrade to Android 2.3 in late Q2 early Q3 2011) Android 2.1 (upgraded from Android 1.6)
CPU 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon
Memory 384 MB
Storage 1 GB NAND Flash in phone, up to 32 GB on microSDHC memory card
Removable storage micro-SD (up to 32 GB supported)
Battery Rechargeable and replaceable, Li-Po 1500 mAh (BST-41).
Data inputs Touchscreen (limited multi-touch), Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity and ambient light sensors, Headset controls
Display 4.0 inch touch screen, Hardware 16M Colors, 65,356-colour.
(480 x 854 pixels) (245 dpi, 0.39 Megapixels) FWVGA TFT
Rear camera 8.1 MP with Auto focus, Face recognition,
Geo-tagging, Image and video stabilizer, Smile detection and Touch focus,
Video WVGA (Android 1.6), 720p HD (Android 2.1)
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
3.5mm audio jack
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
A very good phone which at the time was the flagship handset for Sony Ericssons Xperia range. Today it is still great though would benefit from the imminent software upgrade. Display, camera, media and social networking are all top drawer as is the stunning display. The only downside is the appalling battery life which is only remedied by crippling functionality. Addressing power issues and finding a replacement, more powerful battery would make this a 5 star phone. As it is, it's a very strong 4 stars.
Summary: If you can live with frequent charging then its as good as most high end phones.
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