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Review: The Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 Android Smartphone

May 7, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Intro:

Today we get to look at the long awaited Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 from Rogers. This phone was announced in fall of 2009 and was released in North America on the Rogers Network in mid April. Some reviews and comments have been negative towards Sony’s first Android Device but we will look at the device from a user standpoint and see how it stacks up. There was a lot of hype regarding this phone since it was first announced and there have been some high-end handsets released that have caused the buzz for this phone to simmer.

Looks

If there is one thing Sony Ericsson does well is style…and this phone has a lot of it!!

Our review unit came in Glossy White piano finish and when you first see it, you are taken back by its size, it is a larger than average phone, measuring in at 4.7 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches and weighs 4.8 oz but it still fits in the palm of your hand very nicely. The back of the phone has a smooth sleek finish to it. It has a small chrome power button at the top of it and a fold away usb jack for charging and a standard 3.5mm headphones jack. The front of the phone has a solid design and looks simple to use with only three buttons (power, main menu and back button). On the side of the phone are the standard buttons for volume. This phone while not totally unique in design has a very high quality finish and is well built and sturdy.

Hardware

The power of this phone is noticeable right away when you turn it on. It has the same 1 GHz Qualcomm snapdragon processor as many of the high-end android devices. It has 1GB onboard storage and comes with an 8GB micro-sd card for additional storage. The phone is incredibly fast in terms of CPU power as it zooms through most functions. The phone has 348MB of ram, WIFI 802.11b/g and Bluetooth of course.

Screen

The Xperia X10 has a TFT Capacitive touch screen with 65k colors, measures 480×854 pixels and spans 4 inches. It has a scratch-resistant surface and accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate. The display is very vibrant and has wonderful color. One feature in the settings that we do recommend turning off (disabling) is the auto-brightness feature, as it displays way to dark and takes away from the vibrancy of the screen. As most Smartphone’s these days, the screen is easily prone to finger marks, but the X10 seemed to really show the finger marks more than most phones, so it might require a little more cleaning.  The phone does lack multi-touch and is really hard to understand why this was not included on this phone, and all we can do is chalk that up as a mistake on Sony’s part for assuming it was not necessary. The lack of multi-touch is a huge design flaw for which Sony has received a lot of negative press, so we hope they will not make the same mistake twice.

Battery

The Battery is a Li-Po 1500 Mah, which is rated to have up to 8h of talk time on 3G networks. There are conflicting reports among users of the battery life with some complaining of a very short battery life. We placed a few phone calls on this phone and played with a few features and applications and we noticed the possibility of a short battery life. The rating for this battery on our unit seemed to have about half the time rated and because it seems to vary from device to device we recommend that if you notice short battery life with your unit to call SE or Rogers to get a replacement battery.

Operating System

The operating system on this phone is Android 1.6 which runs very smooth and very fast and the phone handles it with ease, making it obvious that the phone has the power needed to handle an Android 2.1 OS. We feel that a phone aiming for the high-end android market should have the 2.1 OS as it is readily available. There are features of the Android 2.1 OS that people will miss out on with this phone. We can compare it to buying a new computer running Windows XP, and you know you should be getting the newer version of the Operating System. In my opinion, this phone would have had a better chance in the Android high-end market if they could have delayed this phone a few months to make sure they were releasing it with 2.1 OS. The good news is that Sony did announce that they plan to release an updated version with 2.1 OS or possibly 2.2 OS in November of this year.

Software

We definitely have to give credit to Sony Ericsson for they created a User Interface with some serious style and functionality. The UI is fresh and smooth and sleek, its design is that of which no android phone has seen before. It has a really simple but refreshing flow to its design and unique feel. It has serious eye-candy with the helpful add-ons of applications they integrated into the phone such asTimescape and Mediascape .The floating 3D apps and smooth scrolling and gradient looking features really make this phone one of the best looking devices once you turn it on. Even though, the UI and some of the functionality of the phone has a few bugs and some questionable functions features, Sony Ericsson is on the right track with the software and with some tweaking ,tuning and updates this may very well will be their flagship User Interface.

Applications

The big features on this phone are obvious, to start with, Timescape allows you to sync your twitter, facebook, SMS, MMS, emails, phone calls and other interactions in beautiful 3D floating architecture on the home screens. Mediascape also allows to you do the same with your audio, video and images and can sync with online information of your media. Timescape is a feature that has visual appeal but needs more refining to become a function that will replace other applications on your phone. Mediascape will become your go to application for your media needs.  While using the phone, there were times that both of these features were lagging but hopefully will be refined as the software matures. The phone comes with GPS navigation, Moxier suite for mail and calendar sync, in addition to your standard Google android applications found on most android phones. Applications included are the Rogers apps for ringtones and their new handy my account feature to check on your Rogers wireless account.

Key Board

The keyboard on this phone is terrible, and you would be better off replacing it with a keyboard from the android market. The sensitivity to touch seems almost not calibrated properly and lacks the finesse and functionality of other keyboards that have a much smarter design and layout.

Web browsing,  camera and video

Web browsing is done with ease and it has a nice widget for the home screen and bookmarks. The lack of the multi-touch in this area is a huge problem but it does have a zoom in and out feature to make navigation a little easier. One of the finer points of this phone is the camera, we already know Sony makes great cameras and they brought that technology over to this phone. With the 8.1 megapixel camera you will be hard-pressed to find a Smartphone on the market that provides better picture and video quality. This is a Smartphone and point and shoot camera all rolled into one which makes it a great selling feature.

Call quality

Call quality on this phone is great, although it was missing a noise cancelation feature that a lot of the higher end phones do have.

Pros:

  • User Interface design is amazing
  • High quality finish
  • Timescape and Mediascape software
  • Great Camera and Video quality

Cons:

  • Lack of 2.1 OS
  • No Multi-touch
  • Some of the software can be buggy
  • Keyboard

Conclusions and final thoughts

Sony Ericsson did a lot of great things with this phone but also made some serious mistakes. Six months ago this would have been an android super phone but now it is a midlevel android phone. We are going to chalk this up to inexperience with the android platform for Sony Ericsson. It is their first android device and a great phone but in the very competitive android phone market you need to bring your “A” game. We will cut them slack and hope that they have learned from their mistakes, and hope that it will not affect their sales in the long run.  On the other side of the coin they have made a very FINE phone that some other manufactures have yet to come close to. Regardless, this is presently the best android device Rogers has to offer for now and a phone anyone would be happy to own. For most consumers this phone will do everything you need and provide a wonderful android experience that will sure impress your friends with its fancy features. Hardcore android fans will like some of the features this phone has to offer but might pass it up for now, until it matures to meet their needs. If you are new to android or mid-level Smartphone user you cannot go wrong with this terrific android Smartphone. You can purchase this phone online or at your local Rogers store for the current price of 149.99 on a 3 year contract with data plan or buy it outright for $549.99 and is available in two colors white and black.