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Sony Ericsson X10 mini - Messaging, Performance and Verdict

By Edward Chester


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User Score

Review Price £349.25

Elsewhere, much of the interface is standard Android except for the keyboard and the addition of Timescape. Timescape is SE's social networking hub, and it provides a one stop shop for viewing all your friend's messages and status updates from Facebook and Twitter in one long stream. It's a bit of a hassle to setup and once done it adds little to the user experience, but if you desperately want such a thing then it's there.

As for the keyboard, SE has heavily customised it, completely dropping a QWERTY layout and sticking with a nine button keypad. This obviously slows progress, but the text prediction engine is reasonably powerful so you seldom have to go back and correct mistakes.

An intriguing addition is the way you access the alternate characters. Instead of tapping a button to toggle what characters are displayed, you swipe left and right moving from a letters screen to a numbers screen and finally a special characters screen, the latter of which you can scroll down to access all manner of emoticons and other odd symbols.

It again sounds a little odd, but works well in practice. However, what doesn't work so well is having the backspace button in the bottom left hand corner – almost exactly opposite where you'd normally expect to find it on a keyboard – and the screen's lack of multi-touch. The latter means the screen can't cope if you have more than one finger on the screen at one time, so if you're typing fast with two thumbs and you inadvertently have them both in contact at once then no press is registered causing you to mistype words. This limits you to a fairly slow typing speed, which is probably fine for relatively slow texters, but for people that are used to bashing out emails and SMS messages in quick time on a QWERTY keyboard, it will feel positively glacial.

Overall performance of the phone is impressive, though. It generally feels quite nippy when flicking back and forth between programs and when running apps, like the aforementioned web browser. Connectivity is also impressive with HSDPA and HSUPA, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth all on-board. What's more, despite its small size, battery life was a decent two days for average use and call quality was more than acceptable.

As for cost, while this is a relatively budget phone compared to true high-end smartphones, at around £250 SIM free and free on contracts of £20, it's not entirely budget either. Nonetheless, it's one of the cheaper fully fledged smartphones available and certainly the smallest!


As with the HTC Wildfire, the X10 mini is not going to be for most smartphone fanatics as its small and low resolution screen will simply feel too restricting. However, it's surprisingly usable and if size is your primary concern there's simply nothing out there that matches it.

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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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