The final standout feature on the X10 is its 8.1-megapixel camera and on the surface it seems to do enough to keep us interested. The application is quick to load; there's a dedicated shutter button; the interface is slick and quick; there are lots of scene modes and capture modes including smile detection; plenty of focus options including macro, multipoint, and face detection; and there's an LED flash. Photos viewed on the camera even look pretty decent (thus our more positive comments in the video).
However, take a closer look and things are, well, wrong. Sure, those 8.1 megapixels get you a smidgen extra detail over your standard 5 megapixels but when the general clarity of these images is only really good enough for slapping on Facebook at about a 10th of the original size, it's all completely pointless. Moreover, when the camera gets colours so wrong, as this one does, it doesn't matter how much detail you've got; you're still going to be disappointed. At least low-light shots suffer from less obvious sensor noise than some rivals.
Video is also available and you can shoot at up to 30fps at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, which is enough for capturing quick casual clips. Although quality isn't amazing, it's at least at the level we expect of a phone.
When it comes to making calls on the X10, there's further cause for complaint – volume is simply inadequate, making it difficult to hear the other person if you're in a noisy environment. At least reception seemed to be fine.
We expected a lot from the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. On paper it has one of the most impressive specifications of any modern smartphone. However, in reality it falls well short. Failing on basics like using a plastic screen, instead of glass, and having poor touchscreen accuracy are just unforgivable at this level. And when you add in software tweaks that add little to its overall usability you have a phone that sits well down the league table of top Android-based smartphones.