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Sony Ericsson X10 mini review



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Review Price £349.25

We must admit to being highly sceptical of the X10 mini when we first heard about it. The full-size X10 fell well short of the mark and merely shrinking the device certainly wasn't going to fundamentally fix any of its issues. Things weren't helped by the gimmicky nature of the TV ads for the device with silly break-dancing fingers – like that's how people interact with their phones. However, we must admit to being pleasantly surprised now that we've actually got our hands on the device.

First and foremost, it really is mini! With dimensions of 83 x 50 x 16mm, it's not just small for a touchscreen smartphone but simply one of the smallest phones of any type that we've seen. It does seem (and in fact is) a bit thick, but for the most part this is just the proportions of the device making it look thicker than it actually is.

As with the full-size X10, the mini's styling is nice with a relatively uncluttered fascia, but given those slightly chunky proportions and the sheer fact that so many buttons and other bits and bobs have to be shoe-horned into such a small space, it's certainly not the most elegant. This isn't helped by the choice of a glossy plastic surface for the screen and front section, which gives it a slightly cheap feel and also makes fingerprints particularly noticeable.

For fans of making your mobile match your personality, you'll be glad to know you can remove the backplate and replace it with a variety of alternatives. You get six covers in the box, which comprise soft-touch matt black, eggshell red, glossy metallic silver, eggshell pearlescent white, eggshell lime green, and glossy pink/silver finishes. Being boring old curmudgeonly blokes, we of course opted for the matt black one, but all the alternatives still looked quite nice.

The main controls sit underneath the screen, which from left to right are the context sensitive Menu button, Home button, and Back button. Whereas the back button can feel somewhat superfluous on some phones, the addition of a physical back button on this phone makes particular sense given the tiny screen. Sony Ericsson (SE) has thankfully dropped the dedicated search button, though: instead search is included as a widget on the desktop. On the top edge is a power/screen lock button.

Surprisingly for SE, which is famed for using proprietary connectors long after most other manufacturers have moved to universal standards, the company has included both standard microUSB and headphone sockets on the bottom edge. This is doubly surprisingly being as we wouldn't have put it past SE to simply drop the headphone jack to save space. As ever, while we appreciate the potential benefits of covering the microUSB socket, we find these flaps more of a hinderance than a help in everyday use.

We're also surprised to see a dedicated camera button on the right edge along with the volume control. What's more, the camera even has an LED flash, autofocus, and can take shots up to five-megapixels in size. Even half-decent video is supported with a resolution of 640 x 480 and framerate of 30fps. Of course, viewing your photos and watching video on that tiny screen is going to be of limited enjoyment, but load the photos and videos on to your computer or straight to an online service like Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube and you can see them in all their glory.

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August 24, 2010, 4:39 pm

Cool. Didn't notice your cellphone carrier comparison before. Nice addition, TR.


August 24, 2010, 5:18 pm

It's about time Sonyericsson added Micro USB and also Micro SD card slot wow! That's a big move for Sonyericsson. The thing that lets this phone down is battery life.


August 24, 2010, 7:02 pm

@Zero and a very bad Bluetooth implementation. Know of two people with these, the first the BT is switched on, and cannot find anything, nor can it it be found.

The second has a problem with the BT turning itself off.

Apparently there is a fix coming along soon.


August 24, 2010, 8:00 pm

I'm very curious about what You said about X10, Ed.

I recently bought one, the screen is glass and it's jolly to use. Keyboard is sharp, accurate and fast, build quality seems ok (though it's a shame that chrome bezel is actually lacquered plastic) and general responsiveness is very good. Is there any chance of You grabbing hold of newer version of X10 that's now on the market? I think they've updated the screen on newer models, it's now even scratch-proof. But the most important thing that's different from Your review came when i tried to draw few straight lines on mt Paint, and they were indeed straight. When i look under certain angle i clearly see dots separating conductive layer of the screen, it looks as same technology used in HTC big guns, so it seems that actually it is capable of multi-touch (Or is it completely unrelated?).

Would SE inform you if such a change like screen technology took place?


August 24, 2010, 10:22 pm

@Randy I have had the X10 in the looking glass for a while myself, but haven't picked it up yet. As I understand the increased sensitivity and accuracy of the touch screen is because of a firmware update Sony-Ericsson released a few months ago.

Remember that this is their first attempt at an Android phone, so a few kinks was to be expected. I believe this may explain some the differences in Yours and Eds opinions of the phone.

For myself, I am holding off with my X10 purchase, until they release the advertised Q3 update to version 2.1. It should bring along DLNA capabilities, and perhaps even integration with Sonys TV sets.


August 25, 2010, 2:47 am

I got one of these for GF a couple of months ago.

To be fair, I find that most reviews are quite critical against this. When compared against bigger Smartphones, HTC Desire, iPhone etc, yes, its failings are apparent.

But taking it based on what it is, its a great phone. Its an ideal first Smartphone for someone who is moving from a traditional mobile phone but does not want the bulk of an HTC etc.

She wanted an iPhone at first, but is so glad that she didn't. Since getting it she has not put it down since.

Been built on Andriod, its totally customisable, if you don't like the standard interface then ditch it, look on the market place and try another one!

The review appears to infer that at £20 a month is expensive. Well, I am paying £15 a month, 100 minutes, 500mb internet and unlimited texts and the phone was free! Ideal.


August 25, 2010, 3:55 pm

Nice balanced review Ed.

This is what is great about the Android platform it can cater for lots of different form factors.

Chris Beach

August 25, 2010, 4:33 pm

It's biggest let down has to be Android v1.6, it's just too out of date. And you just know that they'd release a new 'model' before upgrading the OS on this one.

The customizers need to work with Google so that they can do their customization and port it to later releases in a timely manner. Not sure if the blame is on Google for moving too fast and changing too much each release, or on the manufactures for not supporting their products.

Woo jae

August 27, 2010, 9:59 pm

i don't know how i'm going to use this phone if i get it, because for me, i need bigger and high resolution screen like iphone or htc desire, and android 1.6 is also a let-down.

non-removable batteries are sort of bad thing as well, as you need to change the whole phone if battery goes bad like on an iphone.

but i do like that you can change the back if you want to, does the extra back covers come for free?


August 28, 2010, 4:51 am

@Woo jae: Yes free covers are included. In Denmark however, you only get three, depending on your operator. But I guess that may vary from region to region.

@cjb110: For what it is worth, S-E has announced a "up to 2 years of software updates" for their phones. I know that doesn't say much, but as far as I understand, they have a slower release cycle for their phones, and they have promised a 2.1 update in Q4.


August 30, 2010, 12:48 pm

Would love to see a video review of the X10 Mini Pro. The issue of Android 1.6 is a slight concern, but if Dell can release the Streak with 1.6, I'm sure SE have made a good choice on which to build a phone of this type. Having been a Palm OS user for many years, I made the move to WinMo in late 2008, but I'm now tempted to moved to Android and the X10 Mini Pro seems like a good place to start.

Geoff Richards

August 30, 2010, 1:02 pm

@T800 - err, the video review is right there...


August 30, 2010, 10:28 pm

@Geoff, X10 Mini Pro is a different model that comes with a hardware QWERTY keyboard.

Geoff Richards

September 14, 2010, 4:21 pm

@T800 - sorry, I missed the "Pro" part in your comment.

The good news is we have one in for review, and it's getting the Video treatment also. Keep an eye on the site.

Bobby D

October 13, 2010, 11:44 am

I've had this phone for a few days and I'm very impressed. Battery life is great after updating the software - you can easily get two days out of it. It's very quick, the call quality is great, and it is so small! The keyboard is fine if, like me, you're coming from a three year old Nokia. Good predictive text and plenty of room for even my chunky thumbs to be swift at bashing out messages and emails. You can get an unlocked one for £170 now from a major high street chain. Recommended.

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