Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and with T-Mobile USA without 3G.


When money is not an issue, people can easily relish small things in life, say, sail the ocean on your own 45-meter yacht, bask in the sun in the garden of your estate on a tropical island, feel the wind in your hair while driving in a shiny, handmade Italian convertible built to order. Like we said, all these small things that make us feel we´re actually living. Cell phones by manufacturers like the Vertu, Gresso and Mobiado are aimed at the very same target audience of people, who don’t mind spending a few grand on expensive gadgets. As a rule, mainstream manufacturers rarely have models that belong to this particular price category – Nokia offers the Arte series of handsets, Samsung and LG sell Armani and PRADA branded cell phones, but we cannot say this is a prevailing trend.

So, Sony Ericsson has decided to join the club rolling out the Xperia Pureness X5, a model with basic functionality and spectacular transparent screen. It would set you back with about $1,000 and you might well be thinking “Jeez, it should be able to cook for that amount of cash”, but sadly, this is not the case. What you get for the buck is the feeling of owning an expensive, luxurious accessory and being entitled to certain, premium services.

As you may read for yourself in the special brochures coming with the handset, buying yourself the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 gives you the right to take advantage of certain privileges like getting the device replaced within 48 hours in case it breaks down (valid for most countries), plus dedicated web portal and customer support team to answer all questions you may have. You are also entitled to Pureness concierge (a service that you need to register with by providing the device IMEI) that provides information on events, posh restaurants etc. and allows you to book places right away. The service is similar to what´s offered to people who opt for the Vertu and it´s a good thing that the guys at Sony Ericsson realize that premium customers require companies to go the extra mile for them.

Aside from booklets and the cell phone itself, what you get right out of the box is USB cable to connect the handset to a computer, adapter to 3.5mm headphone jack and two pairs of earphones. We were slightly surprised at the latter at first, but eventually it dawned on us why the manufacturer had decided to provide two sets – simply because there are quite a few people, who actually dislike in-ear headphones and don´t find them particularly comfortable to use. There is also a leather pouch to tuck away the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 and protect the precious from getting scratched or dirty.

As you can see, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 comes with all you need, but we would have liked it better if its accessories were more luxurious and not just plainly ordinary like the ones that mainstream models of the manufacturer come with. The box itself is entirely made in the spirit of the cell phone – simple and polished. Having said that, it´s about time we got down to brass tacks and take a closer look at the most important aspect of the X5…


Probably the first thing that strikes you is, of course, the display. Let´s not beat about the bush, transparent elements are always eye-riveting. For an instance, the keyboard of the LG Crystal GD900 is one of the reasons why we still consider the handset one of the most spectacular cell phones we have ever seen. In the particular case of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5, however, the 1.8-inch screen is something that stands out all the time, meaning for others to see and admire to. It´s monochromatic and features QVGA resolution. The combination of small size and such a resolution makes images really detailed, while the lack of colors has its own charm, it touches you the way old black and white photos do.

The screen is backlit and the glow makes it even more spectacular to look at, plus it allows for easy reading of what´s on screen in the dark. Weird as it may seem, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 is one of the few, if not the only handset equipped with display that actually works quite better in direct sunlight as compared to indoor environment. Everything remains extremely clear, legible and easy to discern. The manufacturer claims the screen is scratch-resistant as well, which is more than welcome really.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 is an ultra light and thin and we like that a lot. It feels comfy in your hand and despite its angular shapes, it´s really comfortable to carry around in your pocket.

You can compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
As a whole, the outer appearance of the device is something we do like a lot, plus its display is one of a kind. Still, unlike the luxurious models of other companies, the build quality is not particularly high and plastics dominates the body.

The raised buttons – send and end keys, the middle of the D-Pad and the volume rocker on either side are comfortable to use, since they feature a pronounced travel and are separated from other design elements. The D-Pad and the function keys are too small though, so people with thicker fingers might have certain troubles using them, but they are still distinctively felt when pressed. The keyboard is slightly better, although we do find the wobbly tiles that cover the keys somewhat annoying – they just don’t look stable enough.

The SIM card slot is on the right-hand side and it´s safely covered with a protective flap. Sony Ericsson´s proprietary connector is on the opposite side and we must say that it looks enormous when compared to the overall size of all other buttons. Frankly, it mars the beauty of the handset. The small button to switch the phone on/off is on the back. We need to point out that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 doesn’t feature expansion card slot, but integrates 2GB of built-in memory for multimedia files. Given the target audience, we believe the amount is adequate.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 is an extremely impressive, especially the first time you see it, because clearly, it´s not something that you bump into on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the quality of its build and materials it´s made from is just not high enough and the handset doesn’t feel truly luxurious in your hand. In other words, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 will certainly grip the attention of on-lookers, but you better don´t allow other people to hold it. The ostentatious part of us approves of the tactics, while the down-to-earth, practical one – not exactly.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 360 Degrees View:

Interface and functionality:

As we have already mentioned, there is nothing really out of this world about the functionality of the device and what it stakes on is outward appearance. Still, you get a fully functional cell phone that covers all the basics and pretty much everything you may need on a daily basis. Its interface is almost identical to the version running on all other feature phones made by Sony Ericsson, although the company has made minor changes – the phone themes are equipped with icons that go with the simple yet polished look of the device. Let´s go over the novelties in brief, because none of them is thrilling really.

The home screen can be assigned animated backgrounds (there are pretty cool looking clocks) or applications, but sadly, there are no pre-installed programs on our unit. The main menu can be visualized differently – grid pattern, huge single icons or depending on the currently active theme. The multitasking capabilities are limited.

The phone book stores up to 1,000 contacts and each person can be assigned several numbers, addresses, picture etc. You do searches by first letter only, but you´ve got proper filtering if you enter digits on the home screen, i.e. 6-3-6 leads to Neo.

The messaging options are pretty standard – SMS, MMS and email functionality and you have automated email account setup in case you are registered with a popular service provider. The email client is nothing to write home about, but you can check for new messages and take a quick look at them, even if they happen to be in HTML format, which is more than enough.

The organizer functionality includes alarms, calendar, tasks, notes, stop watch, chronometer and calculator. We do like the way you enter event information into the calendar – it´s done step by step and not with the help of a long scroll list, meaning everything you punch in remains large and easy to read all the time.

Connectivity and Browser:

Yes, you got that right, b-r-o-w-s-e-r. And it happens to be usable at that, especially over high-speed 3G networks (the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 supports HSDPA 7.2Mbps). The browser itself is NetFront, an application we know well, but it has been personalized by Sony Ericsson. It does have certain troubles opening pages like ours, but you can easily browse, which is pretty cool really (because the website is cool, of course). Using a semi-transparent, monochromatic screen is a tad odd really, but it will do in case you´ve got no better device at hand.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 comes with Bluetooth 2.1 and aside from being capable of sending and receiving files, it connects to stereo headsets.


You just don’t have an idea how cool it is to watch a DivX video in 1,080p on a monochromatic display... So, here is what you need to do. Start the video on your desktop computer, get a few steps back and place the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 in front of your eye like an eye-glass. It doesn’t really matter if you opt for your right or left eye really. The overall image quality seems to worsen a bit, but the experience is, well, unique.

We are joking, of course. It seems quite logical that the handset doesn’t feature video player, but sadly, the camera is rather conspicuous in its absence. We tend to think that the manufacturer could have equipped the device with 2- or 3-megapixel sensor, since browsing images on its display is definitely quite an interesting experience, plus you would have been able to take a look at the results on a normal computer anyway. Not to mention the transparent display could have made for a great view-finder.

Still, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 comes with a capable audio player that offers quite a few content filtering options (by relevant artist, genre, album etc.). It´s pretty cool that album art is visualized in a truly unique way in all its black and white beauty. Finally, you´ve got a proper equalizer with a number of presets.

The loudspeaker is not particularly powerful and the sound it produces is slightly sharp and plagued by environmental noise. The boxed headsets are quite good and no matter which pair you go for, you will be able to enjoy pleasing loudness and discernible bass frequencies. The boxed adapter allows you to plug in a pair of earphones to your own liking, meaning listening to music can easily get even more appealing a thing to do.


The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 is equipped with a decent number of options and practically everything that average customers might need, but still, this is a cell phone and its primary function is to enable people to talk, of course. Fortunately, the in-call quality is way above average. The voices of our callers remained realistic and totally intelligible even in noisy environment. People on the other end complained about the slightly sharp sound, but claimed they had no troubles understanding us just fine.

We do have several tips on how to get the best battery life possible. The charge can vanish into thin air pretty fast on 3G networks, even in moderate usage scenarios, so unless you intend to surf the Internet, consider disabling the 3G from the phone options. Moreover, in case you are outdoors and it happens to be a bright, sunny day, you will be better off decreasing the display brightness, because you actually need it in poor lighting conditions only. According to the manufacturer, the battery of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 should be able to provide 3hrs of continuous talk time and keep your device operational for 350hrs in stand-by, both on 3G networks.


We have to admit the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 leaves us with quite mixed feelings. On the one hand, the cell phone is spectacular to look at and its transparent display is definitely something we hope to see more often, plus most people will find the functionality of the device more than adequate, not to mention its backed up by truly great in-call quality. On the other hand, the handset is expensive and we cannot disregard the low build quality and lack of camera.

As we have already mentioned, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 would set you back with around $1,000. True, what you get for the buck is premium services and privileges as well, but these are not conveniences people tend to use on a daily basis. You can easily find the LG Crystal GD900 for about a third of the money – the phone comes brimming with extra features and sports an impressive overall look thanks to its transparent keyboard. The Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is a tad more expensive than the Xperia X5 Pureness, but its build quality is much better.

However, let´s get back to what we said at the beginning of the review. If money is not an issue, people can afford to pamper themselves and buy expensive toys that, generally, they don´t really need. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 is that kind of device. It is aimed at people, who don’t mind the price tag and want a truly unique device that can be easily replaced with something more practical to fit their mood. In case you´re wondering if the X5 is worth the money, the straightforward answer is “No”.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness X5 Video Review:


  • Transparent display
  • Spectacular appearance
  • Great in-call quality
  • Capable browser and email client
  • Premium services


  • Low build quality
  • Lacks camera
  • Unjustifiably steep price-tag

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