Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Review

Introduction and Design
The review unit was provided by


Windows Mobile has always been a powerful but clunky OS, but recently we’ve seen manufacturer efforts to clean it up and make it more user-friendly. Sony Ericsson has thus far stayed out of the WinMo realm, but with the Xperia X1 they are making a splash on both fronts. They have developed a new panel interface to match the X1’s svelte design. It has the rich feature set you’d expect from a high-end device, with many connectivity options and a 480x800 high resolution display. The question is, can it live up to the bar HTC has set with their Touch series?
Included in the box you’ll find:

  • Li-poly battery
  • AC Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • 4GB microSDHC card
  • Stereo headphones
  • Extra stylus


The X1 is a very well designed device, with a large WVGA display and full QWERTY keyboard. It is constructed of brushed metal which leads to a very hefty weight of 5.1oz. It comes in both silver and black, our review unit was silver but we prefer the black finish personally. It is strikingly narrow, especially when compared to a similar device like the Touch Pro.

You can compare Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The narrowness leads to a good in-hand feel, though it is definitely on the heavy side. Still, the build quality is top notch and we are quite impressed with the hardware. The screen slides to the right to reveal a four row QWERTY, and it slides at an arc so that it is tilted slightly upwards when opened. The slide mechanism is fantastically smooth; it offers the perfect balance of resistance and sprint and sliding it is actually a pleasure.

The WVGA (480x800) screen is gorgeous, and measures in at 3.0”. Like all other Windows Mobile devices it is only 65K colors, but the increased pixel density mostly makes up for that. As you’d expect from such a high resolution panel videos looked great. It is a resistive touchscreen, and therefore can be used with a stylus or other non-bare finger object, and is very responsive.

The navigation keys sit below the display, and in true Sony fashion much attention has been paid to the styling. There is a square directional pad, and to either side triangular keys that come together to form an X. The soft keys are silver slivers, but raised so they are easy to press. The other keys - Send and Panel to the left and OK and End to the right- are a bit small but have good travel and a slight click so you know when they have been activated. In addition to being clickable, center of the d-pad is also touch sensitive and you can move up/down and left/right by swiping your finger across it. It doesn’t work within every application, and it’s easier to use side-to-side, but we liked the added navigation option.

At the top of the display is the earpiece cutout, with a miniscule forward facing VGA camera and light sensor integrated into this housing on either side. On the rear of the phone is a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash to the right/top. Below it the stylus tucks into the corner, though a bit too tightly for our tastes. Tight is good so that it does not get lost, but it takes too much effort to pull it out and we prefer HTC’s magnetic solution. The battery door has no mechanical latch, and we did have some issues getting it to seat properly.

The left side of the phone has a miniUSB port as well the single speaker at the bottom corner. On the right you have a volume rocker at the top and camera key at the bottom. The top houses the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack and the microphone is on the bottom. The side keys are well integrated into the frame and easy enough to press, though the volume rocker could have been longer. The phone has an illumination effect for certain events, and the multi-colored LEDs are integrated to the side housing.

The QWERTYkeyboard is pretty darn good, but the keys are a bit too small for us. For those with smaller hands the X1 will be excellent, but for thosewith big mitts you might find yourself slightly frustrated. Thespacing between the keys is very good, and like the G1 the keys arestaggered. We would have liked to see a bit more travel in the keys;they feel soft, and while we were relatively accurate it wasn’tperfect. Even though the keyboards are fairly different, the X1 has asimilar feel to the Touch Pro. Being only four rows, numbers do notget their own keys. Unlike most other devices with a traditionallayout among the top row or left side alignment, Sony has chosen tomove the numbers to the right side and arrange them more like the HTC TyTN II.

Sony Ericsson is obviously going for the general consumer with the X1, and we think they have put together a very good design for it. The size is very good, and the screen excellent for multimedia applications. The narrowness makes it easier to hold, although it could be lighter. Fashion was an obvious influence in the design of the X1, and even the silver version is chic. The build quality is overall wonderful, and we are generally pleased with the design of the X1.

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