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Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 - Screen, Features and Interface

By Edward Chester


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Turn the X8 on and, though somewhat lacking in contrast and punchiness of colour, the screen looks rather nice. With 320 x 480 pixels packed into its 3in frame, it's sharp and can fit a surprising amount of detail in, and viewing angles are very good too.

However, there's no getting away from the size limitation. Clearly it's not going to be the best choice for watching video but most crucially the onscreen keyboard suffers. It actually seems to be a combination of the size of the screen and its sensitivity (or lack thereof) but, regardless, it doesn’t result in a great typing experience. We reckon we were typing at considerably less than half the speed we normally would to get a reasonably accurate response, and even then it was still more error prone than we'd like.

What makes up for this issue, however, is that you have a surprisingly powerful, fully-fledge Android smartphone at your fingertips so browsing the web, checking your email, finding your way, and playing games are all activities that this phone is surprisingly good at. What's more, Wif-Fi, GPS, a digital compass, and 3G are all onboard so you're not left wanting for these core features.

With only a 600MHz CPU (as opposed to the 1GHz+ chips used in most larger rivals) and 168MB of RAM (512MB is more common on larger phones) onboard, it's not the fastest phone going but the majority of games still work and thanks to Sony Ericsson's interface tweaks, the phone feels reasonably nippy. Start running lots of apps at once and it does start to slow down – indeed the low amount of RAM means these slow downs kick in earlier than most devices – but this didn't happen so frequently as to be a significant annoyance, and if it does happen you can just close the offending app.

Where the interface tweaks are most noticeable is on the homescreen. Gone is the option to add multiple grids of shortcuts to your favourite apps to be replaced by just four shortcuts: one in each corner. These can be easily customised and you can access the rest of the apps by pressing the menu button or swiping upwards but it's obviously a bit limiting.

Filling the centre of the screen can either be nothing or you can add a single widget. Swipe left and right and you can add multiple further widgets (we got up to 11 before giving up).

As with the X10 mini and X10 mini pro these changes makes navigating the small screen that much easier, so the limitations don't feel too restrictive. However, while the X10 minis seemed that much more worthy of the compromise, due to their particularly small size, the X8 isn't quite small enough. Its squat design means it only really has an advantage in height over much larger-screened devices. At 54mm wide, it's little narrower than most, and its 15mm thickness is positively tubby. That said, it's also worth remembering that this is a budget phone as much as anything else.

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Chris 16

January 20, 2011, 1:29 pm

Nicely written review, however I do get disappointed when it ends 'there are better cheap Android smartphones out there.' without continuing with 'like the (enter the better phone names here)' This seems a bit of a theme at trustedreviews and it would be great to give us the better alternatives without us having to become Inspector Clouseau!


January 20, 2011, 2:46 pm

@Chris 16 - The Orange San Francisco is an obvious example.

£99 on PAYG and unlockable for free, it has 512MB RAM and an 800x480 AMOLED (or it did... more recent units seem to be mostly TFT). Think it has the same processor as the Sony (MSM7227), which although only 600MHz has a decent GPU and seems acceptable to me. Perhaps the extra RAM helps.

Not everybody likes the San Francisco, to be fair, but I think at sub-£100 it's extraordinary.


January 20, 2011, 3:09 pm

I agree with simonm. I purchased the San Francisco recently and am very impressed. I unlocked it for free and then rooted it with Android 2.2 from modaco.com. It really is an excellent phone apart from the camera. HTC should hang their heads in shame for what they are charging for the Wildfire, Desire etc...


January 20, 2011, 4:43 pm

+1 San Francisco also has the micro-SD slot that Ed seems to think is a big deal in a budget phone. Definitely hard to beat at £89.99 from Argos.


January 20, 2011, 5:07 pm

Thanks for pointing me towards San Francisco guys. At this price point I may dip for a smartphone.

What next the HTC "Luton"?

From the review what I want to know, is the web browser may struggle with Flash when it supports it? I'm confused? Android update? does Android even support flash? or will it struggle with just flash heavy sites?

Any clarification most appreciated!!!


January 20, 2011, 5:50 pm

@Hank - Hahaha im not sure the Luton would have a great uptake, the San Fransisco is actually called the ZTE Blade (as it is made by ZTE) but it is branded and sold in the UK as the San Fransisco by Orange.

I would guess that flash is possible but with the (relativly) weak processor in the San Fran it wouldnt be a great experience, TBH I dont think any mobile OS has a particularly good handling of Flash websites at the moment, maybe the top end Android phones but ive even seen those lag. For a good Flash experience we will probably need the dual core processors that are coming out this year


January 20, 2011, 5:55 pm

I have this phone and there very few thing to complain about. Firstly the camera is very very poor, as the review tells you. I also think the loudspeaker on the phone could be a lot louder. it is acceptable, but I feel that it should have a somewhat louder speaker. When its in you hand and you play music it just feels like it should be louder. But the plus to this, is the positioning of the speaker you hand can cup it making it appear louder.....


January 20, 2011, 8:59 pm


Thanks a lot Stelph, the passage about Flash just confused the hell out of me. A new phone this weekend looks likely.

Alex 11

January 20, 2011, 11:41 pm

The San Francisco (or any other phone with a MSM7227 processor-- which includes the SE X8) won't get Adobe Flash support as it (currently) requires an ARMv7 processor (from what I have read it's not just the speed that is required but also the extended instruction set). The best we could hope for the San Francisco is Flash lite support.


January 21, 2011, 5:19 am

Um.. what about Silverlight lol?


November 3, 2011, 9:04 pm

Hey, does anyone knows how can I unlock mi X8 for free?? I live in argentina.. and here I have to pay a lot for unlock!


December 13, 2012, 8:14 pm

Hi! this is a concerned customer, i bought an Experia x8 barely three
months ago and i guess among the many phones that i have used this has
given me the most headaches, 1st it goes off whenever it feels like, 2nd
i cant finish making a call without going off on its self, 3rd
overheating, i reported the phone to the shop where i bought and i was
adviced to uninstall some applications i had installed but this didnt
bare fruits, so here is my question: was these phone sold on discounted
prices because they were faulty or whats wrong? i cant imagine buying a
sony ericson products again.....please advice.

Pedro M.J. Wyns

March 13, 2013, 9:53 am

your battery needs replacement. nothing more, cheap on ebay..


May 8, 2013, 12:19 pm

This is by far the worst phone I have ever had! From the start I noticed problems such as not being able to hang up phone calls as the screen would go blank. I then had a new (but same model) handset, which had the same problems so it must just be the model. The phone has always been extrememly slow (even if i deleted all apps and data off it), turns itself off when it feels like and takes an age to do anything I need it to do- often a 10 second delay when I press buttons. Camera very poor and no flash. Finally due for upgrade so can't wait to get a reliable phone at last!

Zach Smith

June 29, 2013, 10:46 am

This was by far the worst phone i have ever had. I am not going to list all the faults with it cause ill be here till tomorrow listing them. simple answer is DONT GET IT!!

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