Software:

The company is throwing in some programs for free -  like the TrackID song identifier, a barcode scanner and the push Exchange email RoadSync software for the corporate types, but Wisepilot navigation and one of the two preinstalled games are trial versions.

The usual suspects of Google services on an Android handset behave as they should with search combing both through the phone and the web. Gmail is easily searchable too, and attachments get the preview treatment. Google Maps scrolls without lag and directions are clearly arranged.

Android Market will be somewhat limited of choices, considering the unorthodox screen size of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini, but Gtalk and the YouTube app complete the Google experience on the phone. YouTube videos play smoothly and the chat program is integrated within the contacts list, so as you can see who is online by the little green dot against their names, the way you are used to in desktop Gmail, cool stuff.

Camera and Multimedia:

The camera interface is nicely personalized, but sports almost no options, although the camera is 5MP. You can toggle the LED flash on and off, choose from four different shooting modes, jump to the gallery... and that’s that. Since the phone is about simplicity and ease of use we don't have any problems with the number of options here - choice is good only if not overwhelming. Moreover the pictures came out with above average quality on full auto settings as the samples below reveal, all while starting the camera and time between snaps take literally a second.


Images  could be a bit sharper but nevertheless have nice, accurate colors and a lot of detail; it's on par with what we observed from the Sony Ericsson Xperia X2, despite the lower res with the X10 mini. All said, you won't be disappointed by the casual outdoor shots from the chubby gnome, while the indoor shots are acceptable in moderate lighting with some white balance tinkering. On the flip side, the flash is weak for night shots more than two steps away and thanks to its small size the phone can be easily shaken when pressing the camera shutter, thus getting the blurred treatment at dusk.



Video is recorded in VGA resolution at 30 frames per second, the only actual setting being to toggle the LED light on and off. It plays on the phone without artifacts, has decent sound volume and very true colors, but some details are not as distinct as we would like on a big screen. Don't mind us, it's decent, but we are just spoiled by recent HD video-centric phone reviews.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini sample video 1 at 640x480 pixels resolution.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini sample video 2.

We already mentioned that the Mediascape part of the Sony Ericsson UX interface is not present in the Xperia X10 mini. The songs and videos that the phone indexes from the microSD card are run by the default music or video players as separate entities.

Pictures and videos are grouped together in a gallery but the concept of it is nothing mind blowing - you simply scroll kinetically through a grid of pics and vids in a chronological order, tap to choose, double-tap to zoom or slide one finger firmly up or down the screen until you reach the desired size, easy as that. From there attaching to email or uploading the media file is just a tap away to most popular services, or it can be done straight from the camera screen after taking the shot or the video.

As usual with Android handsets, DivX and Xvid formats are not supported out of the box but the popular MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV files run fine, if you can survive watching with your nose almost touching the screen. DivX and Xvid require higher bitrate than the H.264 container for the same quality and take a bigger toll on the CPU, hence battery life, that is why they are usually left out anyway.

The music player has a pretty, but lean interface without search option, and you have to use the phone search for a song. The included headset is lacking the base sounds somewhat but the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini has a loudspeaker that manages to produce a very decent sound. One of the really, really better ones we have heard. It is not very loud, but the sound is deeper than what the typical phone loudspeaker produces, with no sharp and crackling noises, so we are totally in for it.

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