Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro review

£260
Price when reviewed

So many manufacturers are joining the “me too” touch-phone brigade it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Sony Ericsson is one of the few offering something different and, with its dinky Xperia X10 Mini Pro, appears to be setting out to create a completely new genre.

Despite running Android 1.6, this is definitely not what you’d call standard smartphone fare. The size is the most noticeable thing. It’s small and chubby – a Wee Jimmy Krankie of a phone – and has a tiny 2.6in TFT screen, but there’s something likeable about it nonetheless. It’s very pocketable, for a start, and the resolution of 240 x 320 plus a sensitive capacitive front means using it is actually quite a pleasant experience.

Part of the reason for this is that Sony Ericsson has made the most of the restricted screen size. Instead of a widget and icon view, the main home screen consists of a clock and four finger-sized touch areas in the four corners of the screen. These lead to contacts, music, the dialler and text messaging screens.

Swipe up from the bottom and the application grid sweeps into view, and the notification area is still there at the top, ready to be pulled into play. The X10 Mini Pro also features Sony Ericsson’s TimeScape social networking tool, which displays texts, missed calls, Facebook updates and tweets in a chronological list.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro

The X10 is chunky (it measures 18mm at its thickest point) because there’s a Qwerty keyboard stuffed under that diminutive screen. It’s surprisingly usable, with four rows of well-spaced, clicky keys – perfect for quick texts and emails – and the way the screen thunks solidly up and down on its sliding mechanism is mighty satisfying.

There’s a surprisingly full complement of features too, with a 5-megapixel camera, LED flash, and VGA video shooting at 30fps. The quality of stills was good, with reliable autofocus and quick operation, but we weren’t so keen on the video, which was a little murky and soft for our liking. Wireless networking, meanwhile, encompasses 802.11g, Bluetooth and 3G, plus you get an FM radio tuner, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

The 600MHz processor ensures snappy performance and in our Wi-Fi test it rendered the PC Pro homepage in an average of 16 seconds. The SunSpider JavaScript benchmark was dispatched in 46 seconds – quicker than the A-Listed HTC Wildfire, and one that translates into snappy scrolling and responsive panning and zooming around web pages.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro keyboard view

So far, so good, but where it comes unstuck is battery life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the size, the battery is only 930mAh in size and in our tests it didn’t fare well, retaining only 30% capacity after our 24-hour test. And while Sony Ericsson has done its best to maximise the potential of the small screen, there are inevitably occasions upon which it frustrates. Selecting links from tightly spaced lists can be fiddly, and some games and apps just don’t work well on the small screen.

Those issues mean the Xperia X10 Mini Pro won’t appeal to everyone, and they prevent it from gaining top marks. But it isn’t expensive and for the core tasks of email, messaging and social network interaction it isn’t a bad device at all. If you prefer a physical keyboard to an onscreen one, take a look; you might just be surprised.

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £20.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.mobiles.co.uk

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 4hrs
Standby, quoted 15 days

Physical

Dimensions 51 x 18 x 89mm (WDH)
Weight 120.000kg
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 128MB
ROM size 2,000MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.6in
Resolution 240 x 320
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android

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