The web browser lacks pinch to zoom but otherwise does a good job of properly rendering full web pages with the onscreen controls (or double tap) for zooming working quite well. Considering the slow CPU, it’s reasonably nippy as well, though you can guarantee that if and when Adobe Flash support arrives it will destroy performance.
Tweaks have been made to the Picture, Music and Video players/viewers with all three refined for the small screen. Though the improvements are all minor, they all actually improve the experience, though the video player is pretty limited both due to the slow processor and lack of format support.
All the other usual Google features are present and correct with GoogleMaps and GoogleNavigation again appearing surprisingly responsive.
It may well have a shutter button but otherwise the 3-megapixel camera is something of disappointment. It lacks autofocus, has no flash, struggles to pick up much detail, and is not up to much in dark situations. In its favour, it does at least produce reasonably natural looking colours with no obvious lens distortions. Again, it’s worth noting that this is technically a budget camera, though, so one can’t be too disappointed.
As for video, it’s standard definition only and suffers the same general limitations as stills but otherwise it produces smooth looking video that is perfectly watchable thanks to its 30fps.
One thing you may not expect to find in such a cheap phone is a microSD slot but find one you do here. It will take cards up to 16GB with a 2GB card in the box, and with only 128MB of onboard memory you’ll probably want to upgrade this sooner rather than later. Also under the backplate is the 1200mAh battery, which we found somewhat lacking, at least when using the phone in its default state. Going into the settings and turning off automatic updates for Timescape meant we could get two days use out of a single charge, up from a day or less with automatic updates left on.
Finally we come to call quality and you probably won’t be too surprised to here this smallish phone doesn’t set any new records. It’s simply adequate for both earpiece and speaker calls.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is in some ways quite an impressive device. It has all the features of a fully-fledged smartphone yet is smaller and considerably cheaper than most. However, it somehow doesn’t quite all come together with it being compromised on performance yet not small enough to justify being so. It’s not bad, just not brilliant, and there are better cheap Android smartphones out there.