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.