Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Review
Running Windows Mobile 6.1 professional, the X1 is similar to other WinMo devices. The homescreen is standard and out of the box simply has the date and time plugin, along with messaging, tasks and calendar.
Where the X1 differentiates itself is the panel interface Sony Ericsson has created. A mix between an application launcher and widgets, the user can have up to nine panels that offer quick access to anything from the homescreen to Facebook to Dashwire to pictures and music. Google and Windows Live both have panels for quick web search and access to your Google and Live accounts. Some panels, such as the Sony Ericsson panel, are customizable and allow the user to tweak the view and content. It basically is a today panel, and the user can add and view things like RSS feeds, weather, calendar events and more. The Media Xperience panel gives the user access to all their media in a Playstation 3 themed layout.
The panel launcher page simply has icons for the panels, they do not actually update, say, if you receive an email or other notification. When you launch the panel it brings a static picture of the panel to the foreground before cutting to the live panel. You can only have one panel running at time; to return to the panel overview page simply hit the Panel button. A minor annoyance is that the standard Windows Mobile homescreen is one of the panels, we much would have preferred a home button that automatically takes you there rather than kicking back to the panel interface and then having to launch it.
We enjoy the panel interface, but don’t think it is anything groundbreaking. Some of the panels are more useful than others; the Facebook panel, for instance, is fantastic, whereas the Google panel is basically a search bar with bookmark shortcuts to Gmail and other Google products. It is nowhere near as encompassing as TouchFLO 3D, which we like better. We would have instead preferred to see the panels incorporated into a custom UI, like HTC has done with their weather and music tabs. Still, it is slick and we wouldn’t mind seeing some of the panels incorporated into TF3D. Developers, get on it!
Phonebook and Organizer:
As a WM Professional device the X1 is as full-featured as it gets. It of course syncs with Outlook, so managing contacts and calendar is simple. Being a GSM phone, when a new contact is added the user is given the option to add it as a SIM or Outlook contact. Only the latter will sync with Outlook when the phone is paired with a computer. There is nothing new with the X1; it runs the standard Windows Mobile Calendar and Contacts application. Other PIM applications are also exactly the same as before, such as Notes, Tasks, Calculator and Clock.
A press of the send key brings up both call history and the dialpad. Its design language matches the X1, but the layout is very similar to the Touch Diamond. Sony has added four onscreen keys: Send, Call History, Contacts and Favorites, which sit above the dialpad and below the call history. The in-call screen is also similar in function to HTC devices, though the design is very different. There are two rows of three icons: Speaker, Mute, and Hold atop Notes, Contacts and Dialpad. Along the bottom is a large end button.
There is no voice dialing software on the X1, which is a shame.