When I think of Sony Ericsson and smartphones the first thing that I think of is that they were all late. The P800, was late, so was the P900, P910, etc all the way to the Xperia X1. Now we have the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, an Android phone. On paper it’s a nice phone; 4″ 854×480 display, 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. SE also launched it in a timely matter. So how is it? Read on.
As I just mentioned the display measures an impressive 4.0″ with a resolution of 854×480. Compared to the Google Nexus Ones which has a 3.7″ 800×480 displays you get an extra 54 vertical pixels. While 0.3″ doesn’t sound like much I can really tell that the display is larger. That said I don’t really notice the extra resolution. Sometimes the X10 uses really small text which can be difficult to see; particularly at the top of the screen. I think it’s a Sony-ism; they think small text is cool. That’s why some of their laptops have relatively high resolutions for their display size. It’s an LCD display (as opposed to a OLED one) so compared to my Nexus one the X10′s screen’s colour isn’t as intense but at the same time it works better outdoors in direct sunlight.
Check out my first impressions which includes a quick tour of the device.
The X10 feels lighter than it looks which makes it feel slightly cheap but really build quality is fine. The back is covered with rubberized paint.
It has slight curves on it and fits well in your hand.
I only have 2 minor complaints, first off the micro USB port has a cover on it. I’m not a fan of those. Secondly none of the physical buttons light up! For the 3 menu buttons in front there is a light behind them but it only lights up the space between the buttons so you can’t see the markings above them when it’s dark. Basically it’s like light seeping through on a cheap phone.
The keyboard is slightly different from the default Android keyboard. The X10′s keyboard has more keys along the bottom of the keyboard including left and right buttons which are useful since the X10 doesn’t have a navigation pad. There is also a smiley button. When you’re typing the predictive text has up to 2 rows of guesses. There is an option that will vibrate the phone when you type (it was off by default on mine). There’s also an auto-correct option which didn’t work for me even though it was turned on – That was really annoying.
Given the size of the X10′s display I wish the keyboard was a little bit taller but this is really a minor thing. One problem I have with the Nexus One is that its sides are too curved which makes it difficult to type on – the X10 back of the X10 is curved but the front isn’t so it’s easy to type on.
The X10 comes with Google customizations so you get Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail. On every Google customized Android device I have tried signing into a Google service automatically populates my phonebook and calendar. On the X10 you can choose to sync with Google or Sony Ericsson (or presumably you can use Moxier to sync with Exchange). You have to pick which one you want to choose before you can sync.
Sony Ericsson is really touting their Mediascape and Timescape applications.
Mediascape is basically a media player with some extra functionality. It will let you view pictures/video/music on your device.
The X10 has facial recognition so it recognize faces (up to 5 per photo) so once you’ve tagged a photo with someone’s name it will automatically recognize them in the future so you view all pictures with that person in them. You can also view pictures by date plus there is a section where you can view your Facebook (wall, profile and albums) and Picasa photos.
When listening to music Musicscape can go out and download album covers (provided you’re connected to WiFi) plus you can search Google and YouTube for similar content. Particularly you can search YouTube without having to leave the application. It will launch the YouTube app if you click on a result. The Rogers X10 has integration with their music store (which apparently has some DRM free music) so you can buy music from there. Music can be viewed or searched by Track, Artist, Album and Genre.
Another thing I like about the X10 is that you can move skip forwards/backwards by pressing and holding the volume buttons.
Mediascape is a very cool program and reasonably well thought out. My only comment is that sometimes I don’t want all the features turned on; it would be nice if there was a ‘simple’ mode which is just a music player.
Timescape is an even more interesting program. Basically it takes your SMS, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Call History and even photos and music and ties them together. It’s sort of a history of what’s going on with each. There’s a list of what happened to each of them in chronological order. So let’s say you got a SMS from someone then you listened to some music and then a friend updated their Facebook. Timescape will have in order the Facebook update followed by the song you listened to and then the SMS.
You can sort the list by each SMS, Email, Facebook update, etc or you can view them all on a list as they’ve happened. It actually a really efficient way of managing all of them since you can do it all from within the Timescape.
Like I mentioned the X10 automatically runs photos through facial recognition so photos will automatically be associated with their specific contact.
If you click on a list item there’s a context sensitive list of things you can do; you can call them, send SMS, etc.
One thing I noticed about Timescape is that there is no instant messaging support plus it doesn’t integrate with the Gmail app (I’m not sure if it integrates with Moxier) so you’re stuck using it with a POP3, IMAP4 or Hotmail account. Of course you can always enable IMAP on your Gmail account.
Overall Timescape is a really useful application. It’s a real time saver since you only have to open one program instead of separate Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Email, etc programs.
You get the Android web browser which works well. It’s good if you like to browse multiple webpages at once. The X10′s version of this browser doesn’t support multi-touch which is a shame since some HTC Android devices, the Motorola Milestone and Nexus One all support it.
As far as Email goes you can check your Gmail/Google hosted email using the Gmail app. IMAP and POP3 can be checked with the mail app while Exchange functionality is courtesy of Moxier Mail. Moxier also handles Exchange calendar syncing thought I didn’t test Moxier.
The camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels and is capable of capturing some decent pictures. It does fine outdoors but it’s not that great indoors. Indoors it uses very slow shutter speeds so pictures have a tendency to be blurred. I’ve noticed this problem on pretty much every single Sony Ericsson phone I have ever used. It really needs its flash indoors but I noticed that you have to access the menu if you want to use the flash as opposed to just pressing a flash button on the screen. And when you want to use it you basically leave it on or off all the time so it’s kind of annoying. It would be nice if the X10 could decide when the light is need and when it’s not.
In camera mode the display has icons for resolution, scene ,modes and whether you want to touch the screen to trip the shutter. You can toggle between photo or video mode plus there are thumbnails of recently taken photos/videos. There’s also EV compensation. I wish there were more icons because there’s a lot of room on the sides of the display for things like flash control, self timer, etc. My guess is this camera program is also meant for lower end Sony Ericsson Android powered phones with 480×320 displays (that’s just my speculation). so they can’t cram too many icons in there.
Video can can be captured at 800×480. I found video quality isn’t terrible but there seems to be too many compression artifacts. I also found the microphone picks up a lot of handling noise (noise your fingers make when they move against the phone). There is image stabilization but the catch is that IS doesn’t work in the highest video mode. I don’t know about you but when I’m taking video I prefer to capture it in the highest quality and then shrink it if I’m going to send it. I do understand that the X10 doesn’t have optical IS and that digital IS degrades quality a little but still…
As far as call handling goes the X10 I’m not sure if the X10 has a presence sensor because it doesn’t shut the screen off when you put it to your face (at least not for a while). However, once the screen is off it seems to know when I’ve moved it away from my face because the screen turns back on (I’m guessing it’s using the accelerometer to sense when you move it away). Anyways this is really annoying if you’re using the dial pad since you can accidentally dial numbers when you put it to your face. Anyways I was annoyed when I had to use the dial pad. Of course if you’re using a headset then you don’t really need to worry about this.
I compared the X10′s RF performance to the Motorola Milestone. I found the Milestone cut in and out less in areas with low signal.
Compared to the Milestone the X10 sounds more natural but has noticeably more hiss.
Sony Ericsson likes to point out that they won’t design a plain jane Android phone. This isn’t a bad thing but it means the X10 only ships with Android 1.6 (Milestone has 2.0, Nexus One has 2.1) since apparently Timescape and Mediascape aren’t compatible with newer versions (or so SE have told me) which makes the X10 kind of dated compared to the existing completion. That said both Timescape and Mediascape are pretty useful applications. Timescape especially is a really convenient and a big time saver. Indeed if you like them than go out and buy an X10.
I was surprised that the X10 has is no multitouch support – the Milestone has it, the Google Nexus one has it, the X10 which launched after them doesn’t. There’s also no presence sensor so the screen doesn’t shut off when you hold it to your face (Though it will time out eventually). The fact that the buttons don’t light up is also pretty cheesy.
Other thoughts; the 4″ LCD is nice and it works in sunlight. That said I’d rather have an OLED display. The 8 megapixel camera doesn’t have the greatest camera software. It’s not efficient to use and video looks very compressed.
In the end I liked the X10 and am happy Sony Ericsson managed to launch it on time but I thought it looked better on paper.
Rogers Wireless has officially launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia x10.
Experience a whole new level of connectivity with Sony Ericsson’s flagship Xperia X10. The signature Timescape™ application pulls all your emails, texts, Facebook or Twitter updates into one place so you can intuitively flick through. Mediascape allows you to manage photos, videos and music easily – jump from your favourite song on your X10 to instant YouTube or Google search results with one quick tap.
Featuring a 4″ high resolution touch screen, 8.1 MP camera, WI-FI, GPS, and Google Android (v 1.6) operating system the x10 is currently listed at $150 on a 3 year term with voice and data.
3-year contract: $149.99 (voice and data)
2-year contract: $449.99
1-year contract: $499.99
No contract: $549.99
The X10 has a 4″ 854×480 LCD display with a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 8 megapixel autofocus camera and an included 16GB Micro SDHC card. It’s powered by Android 1.6 (an upgrade should be available before year end) and includes Sony Ericsson’s signature Timescape and Mediascape applications.
Timescape is a program which ties your address book, phonebook, SMS, photos, music, Twitter and Facebook together so whenever someone from your phonebook tweets, updates facebook, sends you an SMS or appears in a picture it will show up in chronological order within Timescape. Timescape does not support Instant messaging. The X10 can take your photos and recognize up to 5 faces in each and automatically sort them based on your phonebook.
Mediascape allows you to watch videos, listen to music or look at pictures. It has built in links to Google search and YouTube so you can search for related content as your listening/watching. It also has integration with Rogers UrMusic service.
When I was looking for an upgrade for my HTC Tytn 2, the other phone that I was considering other than the HTC Fuze/Touch Pro was the Sony Xperia X1. I was really excited when Howard asked me to review the Sony Xperia a few weeks ago. Everyone was envious when I tweeted that I finally got my hands on it and was ready to review it. At first glance, the first thing that comes to mind when you look and touch the Xperia is that it is very stylish indeed. It’s got very streamlined lines.
Unlike the Fuze, the Xperia actually feels very solid. It’s a good weight. I’m one of the few people who don’t really care for a light phone. I like my units with a little heft in them. It’s mostly metal with the exception of the silver edge around the phone. Another thing that’s really interesting about the Xperia is that it’s the most un-Sony like phone I’ve ever met.
It takes a standard Mini USB cable to charge it, it takes standard MicroSDHC cards for memory and it takes a standard 3.5 mm jack for headphones.
Once the unit is turned on, it works like any standard Windows 6.1 device which is unfortunate. After being used to TouchFlo 3D on the Fuze along with other add-ons from other Windows ROMS, it makes the Xperia experience almost inadequate. The one thing that really didn’t work well for me was the design decision for this device to be a stylus- driven device. First is the physical aspects. While the unit itself is beautiful to look at and beautiful to touch, I really didn’t like the fact that the raised edges of the screen. It made it very difficult to get to menu items close to the edge of the screen. This problem was compounded by the very small size of the standard menus. Another thing that didn’t work well for me was how cumbersome it was to get to common apps like email, contacts and calendar. I either had to click on start menu and select the app I want or press the panel button, select a panel that had quick access to the information I want and then click on the icon that represented the information I want.
When I first looked at the keyboard for the Xperia, I was really looking forward to using it because in comparison to the cramped keyboard configuration on the Fuze, the Xperia looked like it was going to be a lot easier to type with. I quickly learned this was not necessarily the case. Granted, it takes a bit of adjustment to get used to a new keyboard but I found typing on it a bit clumsy. A couple of things I really missed when in comparison to my Fuze was arrow keys and shortcuts to apps like contacts, calendar and email. I found having to take my fingers off the keyboard to access apps very inefficient and resulting in a lot of frustration. Sony also implemented a feature called the optical joypad. The joypad basically sits on top of the directional pad giving the user the option of either using the raised edges as a standard directional pad or the recessed plain as a touchpad. Unfortunately I found myself constantly selecting the wrong menu choices because my fingers would accidentally slip just before making the selection causing me to do something unexpected frequently. The good news is that you can turn off the option. I can’t really think of any circumstances where the joypad would actually be usable because of the raised edges for the directional pad.
Outside of the hardware and operating system issues, the default software that comes pre-installed with the Xperia is both old and unimpressive. Outside of the standard Windows Mobile offerings (i.e. Microsoft Office for Mobile), the only 3 applications that come preinstalled – Handango InHand, Google Maps and Opera. The problem I have with Handango InHand is that it doesn’t allow you to try the software before you buy. There’s only the option to purchase. I love Google Maps and Opera but the version installed was about a year old and so was Opera. Given that it’s supposed to be a premier phone, I would have expected that newer versions of both those software would have come pre-installed. The Panels concept is great in theory but the implementation of it was really poor especially when you compare to other choices that you have in terms of Today Screens like SPB Mobile Shell and PointUI. I didn’t like any of the default panels and the one most useful for me was the Facebook panel.
My impressions on sound, RF and screen were neutral. I liked having the standard 3.5 mm jacks for headphones but the sound quality while playing MP3s were neutral. This is partly because I’m not much of an audiophile. Testing RF on the phone is tough because it’s not one of the things I notice with my phone. In my day-to-day life, I get constant signal or it doesn’t degrade enough for it to make a big difference for my use. The spec on the Xperia X1 screen is a mind-blowing 800 x 480. Unfortunately, it was quite underwhelming. My impression when I first go the Fuze was that I was completely in love with it. I didn’t get the same feeling looking at the Xperia.
But all is not lost. There are several things that work really well. The GPS on the Xperia was incredibly fast. This is the first phone I’ve had that I was able to get co-ordinates while not being outdoors or sitting next to a window. Another qualitative thing about this phone is that it seems to download information much faster than any of the other phones I’ve had. RAM usage for this phone is really low. It typically takes only about 40% of available RAM unlike the Fuze which takes close to 51% on boot up. Since I usually have my phones charged all the time, I was quite surprised when the Xperia reported about 50% use of battery after the end of the work day.
In summary, I don’t regret buying the Fuze for my use. It’s much better suited for how I use my phone. The hardware is quite nice and the drivers that come with the device drivers make this an exceptionally quick phone. I also like the fact that it’s an HTC built device so the community support for the phone should be good. Hopefully most of the issues outside of the raised edges can be dealt with through community developed apps.
Last week we reported that the Sony Ericsson X1 and C510 were being shipped to stores and would be launching in the coming days. Well this morning both devices and are the Rogers website, with the Sony Ericsson X1 available in both French and English.
Click the “more” link for features and pricing of the Sony Ericssion X1 and C510.
The X1 features a 3.0″ touch screen, slide out full QWERTY keyboard, 7.2Mpbs download speeds, and built in WIFI and GPS. Pricing for the newest full QWERTY available through Rogers Communications is below.
3 year term: $249.99 (voice and data over $45/month)
2 year term: $449.99
1 year term: $549.99
no term: $599.99
The C510 on the other hand has embedded YouTube and Facebook Applications, 3.2 MP camera, and is a 3G world phone.
3 year term: $79.99
2 year term: $129.99
1 year term: $179.99
no term: $229.99
For more information on the Sony Ericsson X1 or C510 head over to Rogers to learn more.
The Sony Ericsson c510 is currently shipping to retail location and should be up for sale in the coming days. Featuring a 3.2MP camera, a high resolution 2.2″ screen, built in accelerometer, 1 GB memory included (supports up to 8GB memory stick micro (M2)-the c510 will be able to take advantage of the 7.2Mbps download speed on Canada’s Fastest Network.
Featuring a huge 3″ touch screen display, WI-FI and GPS (support for TeleNav), 3.2 MP camera, and WM 6.1 Professional-the Sony Ericsson is the latest phone on the Rogers network to support 7.2 Mbps. The X1 is currently shipping to retail location and should be up for sale in the coming days.