OK folks, panels or whatnot, sooner or later WinMo pushes through - familiar, somber, inevitable. The interface is sadly not scaled up and, on the XPERIA high-resolution screen, things are very tiny, certainly not thumbable.
Sony Ericsson have still put a few personal touches to Windows Mobile. A task manager has been added - courtesy of HTC actually, and the same as in the Touch Pro - but it's only accessible from the home screen.
Contact management is usually considered one of the strongest assets of Windows Mobile. You have an unlimited contact list, unlimited info fields for each contact and brilliant synchronization options. However, the small font and tiny fields make the stylus a must when you are searching a contact or editing its details.
Sony Ericsson - or is it HTC again - have added thumb scrolling to the default WinMo contacts list (a short sweep scrolls them gradually, while a fast single sweep scrolls the whole list from top to bottom). You can also pick a letter of the alphabet by using the letter column placed on the right. Searching by gradual typing is also available.
When editing a contact, you have a great variety of fields at hand and, if you ever fall short, you can always rename some of the default ones.
Despite the large number of fields, only those that are being used are actually shown when viewing the contact's details. Another useful feature is the last call details that are available for each entry.
We heartily recommend to try the Phonebook from the Media panel. Although it doesn't allow editing the contacts, we really liked its smooth performance and eye candy.
Even if the numerous fields in the address book may sound too complicated, the most important ones - the actual phone numbers - are always at hand thanks to the smart dial feature.
It's native to the WinMo Phone Dialer application, which this time sports a Sony Ericsson brushed metal skin to nicely blend with the handset's exterior. Gradual typing of both letters and numbers will do, and that makes up for the lack of a dedicated number row on the keyboard.
During a call the usual options are at hand of muting the microphone or using the loudspeaker. You can also browse the contact book or bring up the keypad.
Unlike the HTC Touch Pro, the XPERIA doesn't have a proximity sensor to automatically turn the touchscreen off during a call. The absence is causing no trouble though, probably thanks to the slightly projecting metal frame around the display.
Another notable difference is the stylus: it's not magnet-assisted as in the Touch Pro, nor will it launch the Notes application when pulled out.
Taking notes during a call is still an option though. When you're in a call, a button to launch the Notes app appears on screen. As in the Touch Pro, the phone will automatically add the name of the caller, as well as the time and date to the note. The arguably useful feature of rejecting a call with a text message is also present.
Unlike the Touch Pro, the XPERIA doesn't support the turn-to-mute "gimmick" since there is no accelerometer.
The Call log is a skinned version of the Windows Mobile application. As usual, it offers practically unlimited entries. You can choose to view only outgoing, incoming or missed calls or you could view them all at once (distinguished by the icon next to each entry).
Missed calls are indicated by an on-screen message and the status LEDs on the sides of the phone.
Finally, we conducted our traditional speakerphone test to conclude the phone part of the XPERIA review. You aren't likely to miss many calls with it, as it scored a Very good mark, ranking well above the HTC Touch Pro. You can find more details about our test, as well as the results of all other tested handsets here.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|Apple iPhone 3G||66.1||62.1||71.7|
|LG KC910 Renoir||69.7||64.7||70.9||Average|
|Samsung i900 Omnia||70,2||64,8||75,2||Good|
|HTC Touch Pro||74,9||69,7||73,7||Good|
|Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1||75.5||66.6||82.7||Very Good|
|HTC Touch HD||77.7||73.7||76.7||Excellent|