Sony Ericsson Xperia mini review: Small is the new big

GSMArena team, 26 August 2011.
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Uninspiring 5 megapixel camera

The Xperia mini boasts a 5 megapixel snapper with a single LED flash. There is a handy dedicated shutter key too.

The user interface of the Xperia miniís camera is quite intuitive. You have a bar with five shortcuts to popular features on the right, a bar with the latest captured images on the left and still camera/camcorder switch at the bottom. You can hide or expand both bars with swiping gestures.

The five most used shortcuts allow you to change the capturing mode, resolution, to pick a scene, turn on flash and switch to the front-facing camera.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
The Xperia mini camera interface

Upon pressing the menu key (or dragging the left bar to the right side) you get some extra customizable options like focus mode, touch capture, white balance, geo tagging and image stabilization. The Xperia mini also boasts face detection and smile shot.

The image quality is identical to what we saw on the mini pro - good, but it could have been much better. Thereís enough of fine detail in the Xperia mini shots and the color rendering is good, but the noise levels are too high.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini camera samples

Photo quality comparison

Weíve also added the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. The Toolís page has a quick how to guide and also what to look for.

You can clearly see from the comparison tool that the shots are pretty much identical with mini pro and the mini's samples and fall behind other 5 megapixel snappers.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini in our Photo Compare Tool

Questionable HD video recording

HD video recording is turning as a hot feature recently and the Xperia Neo is doing relatively well with the framerate. Itís 30fps and quite steady too. As some previous Xperia devices, the mini also captures few duplicated frames, but not that much to ruin the video.

The Xperia mini camcorder supports continuous autofocus. Its approach is the same as on the Xperia X10, Arc, Neo, etc: it may take a few seconds to refocus after you reframe instead of fast and constant re-focusing. Itís certainly the approach we prefer.

Quite expectedly, the video quality is on par with the mini pro. The videos run smooth, but the captured detail is low and there's a pinkish spot in the center. On the positive side, the color rendering is spot on. The HD samples look good on the small display, but they are not that great on a bigger screen.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Switching to camcorder mode

Check out the 720p sample that we captured with the Xperia mini.

Here is another one that we uploaded on YouTube for your convenience.

Video quality comparison

We added the Xperia mini samples to our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with the other 720p mobile camcorders we have tested.

The lack of fine detail is evident when compared to competing products plus there's a pinkish spot in the center of the frame, although it's not that intrusive as it was on the mini pro.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini in the Video Compare Tool

Connectivity

The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini has the full set of connectivity options: quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps and upload at 5.76 Mbps.

It offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n) with DLNA support, USB v2.0 and Bluetooth 2.1. If you want to use the phone for DLNA, you should use the dedicated Connected Devices application.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini
Connected Devices app

The inbuilt storage is 400MB only, though additional storage can be added with a microSD card. The phone ships with a 2GB memory card, which has only 750MB of free space.

The standard 3.5mm audio jack completes the connectivity tally.

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