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Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 - Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



Our Score:


The Xperia's screen may be smaller than those found on other smartphones like the iPhone 3G, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in sharpness, as it has a stunning resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. This high resolution, plus the vivid colour reproduction, means that everything from films to web pages are reproduced stunningly and practically leap off the display at you.

One downer, though, is that as it's a resistive touch screen rather than a capacitive display like those used on the iPhone and G1, it isn't as responsive to finger presses as the screens on those handset. It works fine with the stylus, but as we often point out, we definitely prefer not having to use one.

Sony Ericsson has also managed to pack in plenty of other goodies. The X1 has good connectivity with support for Bluetooth, WiFi and HSDPA. There's a built-in FM tuner and the 3.2 megapixel camera has both autofocus and a flash and takes snaps that are a good bit better than your usual cameraphone fair.

There's also onboard GPS for use with the preloaded Google Maps software. Thankfully the battery doesn't buckle under the strain of all these extra features. In fact battery life was impressive - we got around two and a half days out of it for relatively heavy usage of all the core features.

Despite all these positive's the Xperia also has significant failings too. The biggest of these are due to the handset's software and user interface. OK, we're not big fans of the cluttered Windows Mobile menu system, but we haven't been won over either by the X Panel interface that Sony Ericsson has added over the top.

These panels can take on two forms - either dedicated home screens for specific functions, or all round interface tweaks that aim to hide away much of the main Windows Mobile interface. The panels that Sony Ericsson provides as standard on the phone are a real mixed bunch. One does little more than simply show Google's home page, while another simply acts as the interface for the FM tuner. In fact the only really useful one is the media panel that gives you access to your video and audio files via the same Cross Media Bar (XMB) interface seen on the Sony PSP and Walkman range of phones.

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January 14, 2009, 6:27 am

I don't understand why you gave 8 for the design, and 8 for the features.

i don't own this Smartphone, but my colleague has a Xperia X1, and i played with a lot, as a "hardware" its better then the iphone in my opinion, but the bad thing about it is the software(windows mobile) i think mac software are better, price is a bit high.

and the display is 10x better then all of those top smartphone.

my sores are:

Design: 10/10

Features: 9/10

Performance: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 8.75/10

I hope next time Sony will use Google Android insted of windows mobile.

BTW sorry foe my bad English, am not from UK and English is not my main language.


January 14, 2009, 6:41 am

@Ahlan - each to their own. I personally find this handset horribly dated and horrendously overpriced. Niall was kind in his scoring in my opinion.

Gavin Hamer

January 14, 2009, 6:59 am

Seemed like a fair review to me. I own this phone and would give it 8/10, because I specifically want the features it offers (keyboard, high-res) and am prepared for a bit of finger drumming now and then.

The X-Panels are not great. However, there is a pretty sweet one for Facebook though (free download), which shows what could be done. On the version of the Xperia X1 that I received from Vodafone, the variant of SPB Mobile Shell was pre-installed. This is a very nifty "desktop", which allows me to have easy access to a lot of things. Without it, the phone would be much less useful or usable in my opinion.

In fact, I think I'll bore you with the full list of what's on my phone's desktop (excluding the top bar), because you're not really that busy anyway: time, alarm indicator, message indicator, missed call indicator, flight mode switch, wifi switch, bluetooth switch, phone switch, speaker/vibrate/silent toggle, 4 rss feeds title & first line (drill to read without launching browser), 15 application shortcut icons, and 5 instant call photo icons. The application shortcuts are: Phone (always handy), Contacts (using iContact UI), Weather (using Forecast Daily), Windows Media Player, Opera Mobile (pre-installed), Messaging, Calendar, Tasks, Calculator (using YaRPMcalc), Iris Browser (web-kit based), File Explorer, Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, Google Maps, Live Search. I didn't find the Wayfinder sat-nav software useful enough to include on there, but there is a free trial of it available and it might work better in cities. Still, I would happily ditch it for Android given the option.

Using TCPMP, you can play downloaded torrent video files directly on the phone and it's normally smooth. It won't play HDTV downloads though, the processor can't handle scaling that many pixels. Adding a 16GB microSD card in there will help for media, and it's great to have that 3.5mm headphone jack.

I'm not sure the notification lights on the side of the unit were mentioned, but they are pretty lame and unlikely to catch your attention anyway. The built-in speaker and the FM tuner are also poor. The shutter delay on the camera is an eternity, but the resulting photos are reasonable by mobile phone standards, and can be directly uploaded to Facebook using the Facebook Panel.


January 14, 2009, 12:09 pm

I own this phone and it is great - I bought Tom Tom 7 and use it in my car has a proper Tom Tom using the GPS - its great!

**Also there is a X1 panel competition going on that ends on janurary 30th so after that hopefully there will be loads more new panels and also a patch is due and since it has been taking a while i know its going to include a lot.

i played a video on my X1 and the same video on my Creative Zen (which has 6.7 million colours) yet the V1 has a much better and nicer picture and a fuller colour!

the only thing i dont like is that there is no offical store for windows mobile applicatons like the app store - but i know microsoft are working on one - cant remember the name though


January 14, 2009, 1:59 pm

I have an X1, and was initially indifferent to the panels, but the 'Sony Ericsson Panel' is highly configurable, and with a little customization I found it extremely useful. From the Options dialog for this panel, you can mix and match the usual time/weather/calendar/tasks/e-mail notifications plus RSS feeds of your choice, speed dials, and quick launch buttons for documents and programs. You can also have multiple instances of this panel (I have a second with additional RSS feeds I like to track).

Once I'd configured this panel I bit, I thought it was the best user experience of any Windows Mobile device I'd used.

Having owned an X1 for a couple of months, my only real reservation is that its signal strength seems weaker than previous phones I've owned.


January 15, 2009, 4:40 pm

Well reviewed, this phone was of interest to me but T.Mobile are finally to release the MDA Vario 1V this week, any danger you may be reviewing that phone, , , , soonish?

Oliver Levett

January 15, 2009, 9:45 pm

The Touch Pro is the same as the Vario IV (bar T-Mobiles usual "customisation"), and was reviewed here http://www.trustedreviews.c...

What interests me is that the X1 and Touch Pro are essentially the same device (different screen, and a different case) yet the Touch Pro gets 10/10 for features, and this gets 8/10, and the least functional device available (the iPhone) gets 9/10? Seems a fairly random allocation of scores...

Panels is a far less in depth UI change than TouchFlo or Manila, but it has the advantage that you can develop for it without having to reverse engineer the whole thing.

Also, processor clock speed is pretty meaningless, as what matters is what can be done in each of those clock cycles. The MSM72XX chipsets have hardware 3D acceleration that is used in Manila (HTC own brand devices), but is less heavily used in the X1.


January 17, 2009, 4:53 am


"you said: The X1 and Touch Pro are essentially the same device (different screen, and a different case) yet the Touch Pro gets 10/10 for features, and this gets 8/10, and the least functional device available (the iPhone) gets 9/10? Seems a fairly random allocation of scores..."

WELL SAID MATE, i totally agree with you.

maybe they gave it a lower score cause it has a SONY logo on it?


January 18, 2009, 5:21 am

I have one critisism of this review, you dismiss WinMob as a problem and don't even seem to consider some of it's merits. The OS is clunky and mismatched, but it's far more feature packed than Symbian and the iPhone OS. Having used all three for a fair amount of time (Symbian for years, iPhone for a few months and WinMob for about 6 weeks now) i'd have to say that Symbian is probably my favourite (best balance of features, stability and useability).

I'm not saying WinMob should be rated as a good OS (it isn't) but if you can reskin it with something like SBP or Touchflo 3D then it'll do the job. After using WM 6.1 and Windows 7 i really can't wait to see what Microsoft are going to churn out for WM7. There's so much potential in the Windows Mobile platform, and with Microsoft pushing seamless connectivity at the moment it could be really good :)

As for the phone, i love it :D I went from an E90 to this, and although the keyboard is NOWHERE near as good (take note Sony Ericsson) the phone itelf is incredible. It's the size of the device more than anything, they've crammed a decent sized touch screen and a fully QWERTY keyboard in to a shell that's perfectly normal in size. I've also got no problem with resistive touch screens, i'd prefer the option of a stylus to better finger accuracy.

On a funny side-note my Mum asked to borrow a stylus off me the other day because she was struggling with finger control on the iPod Touch. It does make me wonder if finger control really is all it's cracked up to be, i know i had some trouble too.

Nigel Craig 1

January 26, 2009, 6:39 am

I received my X1 two days ago and unfortuanetly it did not arrive with the preloaded google maps so its on its way back to o2 for an exchange!! Here's the big worry i found when resetting it back to factory settings; click settings,click the clear storage icon,tap-in 1,2,3,4 click OK, this resets /wipes everything, including resetting your Sim card and memory card info'!! No need for a code etc. Think how easy anyone could reset your phone and wipe it clean!!!I now need to ring o2 for the factory Sim card codes so as not to block my Sim card!! Surly a pda/smart-phone should be a little harder to reset????


January 26, 2009, 6:57 am

@Nigel - you read the review and still bought one? My heart goes out to you!

Geoff Richards

January 29, 2009, 5:33 am

This review has now been updated with a Video Review from Ed, so you can really see the phone in action for yourselves.

Matthew Bunton

March 9, 2009, 3:30 am

@Gordon - You guys may have not rated it but plenty of others have. I am also purchasing this phone as it offers functionality that for me the iPhone simply doesn't offer.

Ultimately it depends upon what the user requires from their phone. I have used the iPhone and whilst a very nice device I actually found typing on the screen very awkward and as I previously mentioned it also for me has missing features. So I am left with the situation of having to make a compromise no matter which phone choose.


March 9, 2009, 4:45 am

@Matthew - tell me how you get on with it Matthew. Much like the Omnia, there are not many people I know who own one who have been pleased with their decision.

The iPhone is an irrelevant comparison, totally different handsets. If you need Xperia functionality an iPhone is not an option but a Nokia E71 will do the job far better than Sony Ericsson's handset.

Personally I think it is a crazy time to upgrade with the Palm Pre just a few months away.

Matthew Bunton

March 9, 2009, 10:12 pm

@Gordon - Nokia E71 how did I manage to miss that one?

Thanks for the heads up Gordon trouble is i'm back to square one again now. I'll look into the Palm Pre as well.

I reffered to the Iphone as I know the TR team really like the OS software and handset.

I really need MS Office support and an email forwarding ability amongst many others. I read that there are many simple mods available to the SE Xperia that improve the WM software. I also like the fact of a descent size screen and seperate qwerty keyboard.

As I said for me there is always a compromise. I desperately need a new phone and am unsure that I can really afford to delay any longer. Though I know that there are some great new handsets just around the corner.

Matthew Bunton

March 9, 2009, 10:28 pm

E71 No support for Office 2007 though.

Also same problem as the Blackberry small screen due to keypad. I'm working with office docs a lot so the screen size is important plus the fact my eyesight isn't what it used to be. :)

This is so frustrating.


May 4, 2009, 9:42 pm

I just want to throw in my two cents in this now seemingly dead thread. The X1 is an awesome phone and the fact of it being on Windows Mobile means that theres a huge number of already established apps ready for download. Also, SPB 3 just came out and that changes this phone altogether. It is even more tactile that its predecessor and fully utilises the X1s high resolution with very smooth transitional graphics. It even plays on the Panel theme by having panels of its own in a 'carosel' but panels that are far better to use and more useful.

@Gordon, you said earlier that not many people have been pleased with their decision to buy this phone. I know a few people who have it and all are very happy with their purchase. Just thought you'd appreciate some balanced views.


May 4, 2009, 10:07 pm

@Krushi - glad you and they are happy but approaching mid 2009 and the Xperia is quite frankly a dinosaur. Low memory, comparatively small display, low resolution, resistive touchscreen, fat dimensions, extremely heavy. There are far superior handsets to this available now from every major manufacturer.


July 28, 2009, 2:14 am


I really would like to hear about the superior handsets out there because even if the X1 is not new, I could not find a better match for my needs; high res touch screen, winmo, qwerty keyboard, acceptable size and a price that is not crazy. I was looking at Touch Pro 2 and that is fat! Comparing their hardware, there's not much of an area where TP2 is superior, except accelerometer. Seeing the unlocked Tp2's going around $750+ (this is not even US 3G compat.), it was an obvious decision for me to take the X1 at 599.


July 28, 2009, 4:32 am

@Aspart - well it rather narrows things down when you want Windows Mobile, a Qwerty keyboard and cheap. Essentially that only gives you the Xperia because of 1, 2 and 3 it being old makes it cheap.

It's a bit like being asked name a better football team in Stockport than Stockport County. It doesn't mean Stockport are a good team, they are just the best from very curtailed criteria.

Personally I'd go for a TP2 over the Xperia but for you its it too expensive, I'd go for either a BlackBerry or Nokia E71 over the Xperia but they aren't WM and I'd take Android handsets and iPhones ahead of the Xperia but obviously I can't because the goalposts are too narrow.

Given your stipulations the Xperia probably is the best handset for you, but then again - as I've already said - there isn't a better football team than Stockport County in Stockport...

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