Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro Review
The American version supports AT&T's 3G network.
Sony Ericsson is getting better at adhering to smartphone release deadlines and thus it is time for us to review another round of chubby cuteness. Released at the end of June as promised, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is essentially the X10 mini in terms of interface, but with a slide-out keyboard. That being the case, we won't dwell on the software, but rather on its design and performance.
What's in the box:
• Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro
• 930mAh Li-Po battery (user replaceable)
• microUSB cable
• Headset with mic
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is a long name for such a small device, but still, the addition of “pro” brings a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard to the table, so we'll give it a pass. A physical keyboard usually adds a little bulk and heft to a device, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is no exception. It's grown from 3.3” (83 mm) to 3.5” (90 mm) in length, but the difference in thickness with the X10 mini is negligible, which actually means thick enough already. At 4.2oz (120gr) it weighs a bit more than the Samsung Galaxy S, which has a 4” screen.
You can compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The first difference to notice is a nice chromed accent surrounding the phone, which divides the display and the keyboard halves visually. Chrome on black is always a classy combination and one which pushed us in favor of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro design. The phone can also be personalized with red and pearl white back covers, but none of those were provided in the box of our review unit as was the case with the X10 mini.
The Sony Ericsson engineers had to do some reshuffling of the internals to fit in the keyboard, and this resulted in placement of ports that differs from the X10 mini. The headphone jack has gone from the bottom to the top, where the power/lock key is. The microUSB port has left the bottom for good too, to find itself on the left with no protective cap this time. Only the microphone and the lanyard slits are now at the bottom of the phone.
The 5MP camera's LED flash and the other elements on the back have also been moved around a bit. The back retains the “human curvature” design, which makes it feel pretty good in the hand.
Now let's slide the keyboard of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro wide open, and test it. It feels well-oiled while opening, but to snap it back you will have to exert additional pressure. It will probably loosen up with extensive use, though. The keyboard material is simple gray plastic, but the square keys are spaced from one another on four rows, and have a deep enough travel feedback. Keys are still cramped, though. There is just not enough space to type quickly and comfortably - capping a letter close to the shift key requires finger flexibility unknown to males. A thoughtful addition are the two arrow keys on both sides of the space bar, otherwise it would be pretty hard to come to the exact letter by tapping on the small screen.
The keyboard is indeed tiny, but still it helps tremendously with typing on the miniature phone. In fact, on bigger handsets, even with a physical keyboard users usually go to the virtual one for a short message or quick contact saves, for example, because it is just faster. None of the mini handsets has a virtual QWERTY keyboard out of the box, so on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro you always slide out the physical keys, because that’s what works best here. As a matter of fact, it feels like a totally different phone now, less of a fashion accessory, and exactly what was needed for the kiddo in Sony Ericsson’s Xperia family to become more functional.