Sony Ericsson txt pro preview: First look
Sony Ericsson txt pro 360-degree spin
QWERTY-enabled handsets don’t really get any smaller than that 93 x 52 x 18 mm, especially considering the 3" screen Sony Ericsson managed to fit on the txt pro. The weight of 100g is spot on too.
Design and construction
The Human curvature heritage is pretty evident in the Sony Ericsson txt pro design, which has a palm-fitting curved design. The overall styling borrows quite a bit from the new Xperia mini designs too.
The QWERTY keyboard comes courtesy of the original mini pro - a compliment for a device in the class of the txt pro. Don't think that the Sony Ericsson txt pro is a Frankenstein affair - the result is an attractive, minimalistic handset.
The Sony Ericsson txt pro has a 3” WQVGA touchscreen - it may not sound like much, but it's more than the original Xperia X10 minis got. The small diagonal means even this low resolution produces decent sharpness, but it's hardly the best quality display around.
There is some noticeable banding in gradients even though the display supports 256K colors. Viewing angles are good for the class but there is noticeable contrast degradation when you view the display at an angle. Sunlight legibility is disappointing.
On the positive side, the screen sensitivity, as was to be expected in a capacitive unit, is excellent. The slightest of touches is enough for a click to be registered.
Below the display is the singular hardware button on the front - the Home key, which somewhat confusingly works as a back key some times. Above the display is the earpiece and two black circles that at first sight look like a video call camera and some hardware sensor, but they are not.
They are probably proximity and ambient light sensors but they didn’t work on our beta unit, so we'll have to check them again when we get a production unit for a proper review.
The right side of the Sony Ericsson txt pro houses a barely protruding volume rocker and the single-stage shutter key. There's nothing on the left side of the phone.
On top of the handset is the Power/Lock key, which sits flush against the surface to prevent accidental presses. Right next to is a regular 3.5mm audio jack and a microUSB port, both of which are left uncovered. There's a tiny charger light just above the microUSB port.
The bottom of the txt pro features the mouthpiece and the lanyard eyelet. There's also a groove you can put your fingernail in to pry open the back cover.
The back of the Sony Ericsson txt pro features the 3MP camera and the loudspeaker. The camera is recessed into the body of the phone, which provides good protection against fingerprints and scratches alike.
The curved back reduces the distortion of the sound coming from the loudspeaker by keeping it away from the surface that the phone is laying on.
Removing the back cover reveals 1000mAh battery, which is supposed to provide up to 16.5 days of standby and up to 5 hours of talk time.
Unfortunately, the SIM card and microSD card slots are under the battery and you have to take it out every time you want to swap either card.
The Sony Ericsson txt pro is a delightfully tiny device that will fit comfortably even in small hands. The curved back makes the phone comfortable to hold both in portrait orientation and in landscape (with the QWERTY out) and the soft matte plastic that covers most of the phone is great at covering fingerprints (it's feels nice to touch, too).
The build quality is sturdy and the scratch-resistant screen mean that the txt pro can survive some rough handling too.
Opening the Sony Ericsson txt mini pro reveals the four-row QWERTY keyboard. It's virtually identical to the one on the XPERIA X10 mini pro. Despite its diminutive size, the txt pro is a capable texter.
There is generous space between the keys and the tactile feedback is good enough to provide for some fast typing. For its dimensions the txt pro performs admirably - touchscreen typing is comfortable on screens 3.5-inches and above. Given the SNS inclinations of the txt pro, a hardware keyboard was a wise choice.
If we had to complain about anything it would be that the keys on our pre-production unit were a bit on the stiff side.