The biggest sacrifice of phones this size are their screens and so it is with the X10 mini pro. At just 2.55in, it’s tiny. Its resolution of 240 x 320 pixels is also low but thanks to the small screen it actually looks quite sharp and thanks to good viewing angles, a decent level of brightness and rich colours, it’s generally a pleasure to use.
Of course, it has its limitations. Browsing the web, for instance, requires a lot of scrolling around and zooming in and out, but thanks to speedy operation and a responsive capacitive touchscreen, this isn’t too much of a chore. You’ll probably not want to watch video of any great length or share your photos with friends on this screen however.
To make the most of the limited screen real estate, Sony Ericsson has tweaked the Android operating system quite heavily. Gone is the free reign to add numerous icons and widgets to a multitude of desktops and instead you have a choice of just four shortcuts on the homescreen – one in each corner. You can flip between multiple centre screens and add onto each a single widget, with the usual choice of a clock face, search bar and Facebook feed among others.
You can customise which apps appear in the four corners and which widgets go where, and doing so is a simple process. The result is a surprisingly usable interface that just about gets the right balance between ease of use and functionality. We only wish Sony Ericsson had been able to shoe horn in a couple more shortcuts somehow.
To access the rest of the phone’s functions you simply tap the central button or swipe the screen upwards. This gains you access to the main menu that is arranged in grids of nine icons that you can swipe left and right between.
Being based on Android, there are plenty of features on offer with an excellent web browser, great email reader, a Facebook app, and a YouTube app among the pre-installed selection. With access to the Android marketplace you can add a near endless number of other useful utilities or games, with the only limitations being that some apps don’t support the low screen resolution and some may not be compatible with the 1.6 version of Android that this phone runs – it’s quite an old version, now. We had few problems adding the basics like a Twitter client, though.
As hinted at before, despite this phone’s diddy dimensions, it still feels like a proper smartphone with a responsive touchscreen and speedy operation, whether just navigating the interface or running a fairly graphically intensive app like GoogleMaps. Likewise, connectivity isn’t compromised with Wi-FI, Bluetooth and HSDPA 3G all onboard.
Even the camera impresses with speedy operation and perfectly acceptable results in both light and dark situations for both video and photos. It still falls someway short of a dedicated compact still camera or dedicated internet camcorder but for casual snaps it does the job and has no significant failings as compared to its peers.