Below the display there are three hardware keys – contextual menu, home and back button. Those are thin knobs but nicely raised and with good press feedback. A long press on the middle one brings up the task switcher in the Android tradition. There was no room for the Search button obviously but the search widget on the homescreen covers for that just fine.
Above the display, we find a status LED, the earpiece and the proximity sensor. The proximity sensor is in charge of locking the display when you hold it next to your face during calls.
The left side of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro is where the microUSB port is located. The side-sliding QWERTY keyboard has caused the relocation of the microUSB connectivity port – it used to be at the bottom of the regular XPERIA X10 mini.
On the right side of the X10 mini pro things have stayed the same: you get a volume rocker and a shutter key. Both of those controls are a on the slim side but you’ll get used to them eventually. The camera key has proper stroke and very distinct half pres.
On top of the handset is the screen lock key, which also acts as a power button. Being a bit too flat, it is hard to press but on the other hand, this helps avoid accidental presses.
Right next to the power/lock button is the peculiar audio jack of Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro. Designed to accommodate the Sony Ericsson MH810 headset and its unusual plug, the jack is still perfectly compatible with regular 3.5mm plugs.http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/accessories/overview/mh810
The bottom of the X10 mini pro features the mouthpiece and the lanyard eyelet. It looks like left-handed users risk covering the mouthpiece with their fingers. We wouldn’t call it a design flaw, it’s just that the handset is so tiny that there aren’t too many ways to hold it comfortably during a call.
Opening the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro reveals the four-row QWERTY keyboard. If the size of the device made you worry that the keyboard won’t be too comfortable rest assured – the X10 mini pro is a skillful texter.
There is enough space between the keys and the tactile feedback is good enough to provide for some fast typing. Of course there are quite a few mobiles out there that do even better in the QWERTY department but given its dimensions the X10 mini pro performs admirably.
The back of the XPERIA X10 mini pro features the 5 megapixel camera lens and the LED flash. The loudspeaker also goes in here, slightly to the right.
Removing the battery cover reveals the microSD card slot and the SIM compartment. The microSD slot is hot-swap enabled and, unlike the vanilla X10 mini, the pro-version has a removable battery.
This means that users can always carry a spare just in case and are also able to replace an expired or faulty battery without sending the handset to a Sony Ericsson service center.
The battery is said to last up to 285 hours of standby and 4 hours of talk time in a 2G network. In 3G mode, it’s up to 360 hours of standby and three and half hours of talk time.
Those numbers are an exact match for the regular X10 mini battery specs so it’s hardly a surprise that the real-life performance of the two was quite similar as well. The X10 mini pro lasted just over three days of moderate use (about 15 minutes of telephony, 20 minutes of browsing over Wi-Fi, a dozen of photos and twenty minutes of fiddling with the other phone features a day).
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro is so small handling it feels somewhat strange – unusual but by no means uncomfortable. It’s a tiny phone but the whole package just makes sense – a cute little gadget that will do the job. And by the way, the QWERTY keyboard is surprisingly usable – a great achievement considering the space they had to work with.