Sony Ericsson Xperia pro Review
Announced way back at MWC in February, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro didn't arrive in the stores until the fall.
It’s one of the few phones with physical QWERTY keyboard that ship with Android Gingerbread onboard, and offers all the goodies associated with this year’s Xperia line bests, such as a 480x854 LCD Reality Display, 1GHz processor and 8MP camera with Exmor R sensor.
Did Sony Ericsson succeed in making the case for a physical QWERTY Android in this day and age of giant mobile displays, or will the belated Xperia pro appeal only to the slide-out keyboard fanatics out there? Read on to find out…
In the box:
- In-ear headset
- Wall charger
- 8GB microSD card
- MicroUSB cable
- Warranty and information leaflets
You can immediately guess that the Xperia pro is a phone from the first edition of the Xperia line design, as it has three arched Android navigation keys below the display, instead of the semi-circular home button we have now on phones like the Xperia ray and the rest from the summer crop. Here the keys are not as thin as on the Xperia arc, for example, and have a rather shallow travel.
You can compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The 3.7” so-called Reality Display sports 480x854 resolution, which makes pixel density pretty good at 265ppi, and the screen is bright enough, with decent visibility outside. The viewing angles are better than on other screens in the Xperia line, like the Xperia arc, but the image still fades quite a bit past the 45 degree tilt. The LCD display sports the Mobile BRAVIA Engine, which pumps the colors and contrast when showing pictures and video for a more vivid picture.
The Xperia pro can be called a looker, especially in the burgundy casing we got, and the chrome-like rim around the keyboard half makes for a stylish contrast. The weight is kept in check at 4.94oz (140g), while the thickness is bearable at 0.53” (13.5mm), considering the side-sliding QWERTY keyboard.
Speaking of the keyboard, it looks great with the well-spaced chiclet keys painted in the color of the casing, and each button seems individually lit in white. The four-row keyboard has a longish space key in the middle, plus a full set of arrow keys, which make it an instant classic.
The only thing that could use improvement is key travel, which is on the shallow and clicky side. There aren’t any shortcut keys to program on the keyboard, you only get a dedicated browser launch button. There is something called Smart Keyboard in the Settings menu, but it is only to turn on typing mode the second you push open the sliding mechanism.
Pushing the screen half up to reveal the keyboard is fairly easy, yet Sony Ericsson has managed to avoid any overly wobbly feeling. The railing feels sturdy, and the screen half snaps back into place reassuringly with only a slight nudge, aided by the spring-loading mechanism.
Looking around the sides, Sony Ericsson keeps making too small for comfort power/lock keys and the travel is very shallow. The volume rocker on the right is pretty short and narrow, too, and not protruding enough to be operated easily.
On the right we also have a regular microHDMI port, covered with a protective flap, an LED notification light, and a two-stage shutter button, which is a rarity in these days of virtual everything. The camera key is also very small, and so it takes getting used to, just like the power key and the rocker. The microSD card is not hot-swappable, since you have to take out the battery; removing the back cover is very easy once you realize that the dedicated slot for your nails is… the microHDMI port; you just have to remove its flap, and the battery cover peels off in a snap.
on the back, we also have a front-facer, plus a full suite of sensors, and noise-canceling mikes, so nothing substantial seems to be missing from the Xperia pro, while the overall design impression is quite classy.