Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro review: Mini Me... ssenger
User interface: going landscaping
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro currently runs Android 1.6 Cupcake, but Sony Ericsson is hard at work to bring 2.1 Eclair to it and the rest of the X10 lineup. To make up for the small screen, the interface has been duly scaled and the result is quite user-friendly.
QVGA is as low as Android goes, but at 2.55” the pixel density isn’t that bad. It’s not the prettiest but Sony Ericsson have done a good job of customizing the interface and making the icons large enough, given the limited screen estate.
Quite expectedly, the UI on the X10 mini pro is identical to the one on X10 mini, save for one important difference – some areas in the interface now work in landscape mode. This change was brought about by one of the key features of the X10 mini pro – the QWERTY keyboard.
Sony Ericsson have decided to spread things out rather than make them tiny – the homescreen does widgets only (no shortcuts or folders) and you can only have one per screen. You can however have as many homescreen panes as you like.
This setup is slower, but it's the optimal choice given the limited screen real estate.
Large thumbable shortcuts at the four corners of the homescreen give instant access to the four most used features. By default those lead to the message composer, music player, phonebook and dial pad/call log but you can easily replace them if you see fit.
Luckily, the notification area is still here – we consider it to be one of the best features in Android. It's a thin bar at the top of the screen with status info about battery, signal strength and others such as Bluetooth or missed events. Sliding it down however reveals the whole story - you get a list of all recent notifications.
The XPERIA X10 mini pro packs the Timescape UI plug-in but lacks the Mediascape that is only reserved for the full-grown X10 for now. Timescape is an application that brings all your communications together. It always displays an aggregated view of your SMS, MMS, email, missed calls, Facebook and Twitter updates all on one screen.
To bring up the task switcher on the X10 mini pro, you press and hold the Home key just like on any other Android phone. It gives you access to the six most recently used apps although, due to the specific behavior of the operating system, some of them might be hibernating rather than actually running in the background.
Now, the actual performance is surely where the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro is nothing short of impressive. With a zippy 600MHz CPU and only a QVGA screen’s worth of pixels to push around, the thing is flying.
Phonebook does the job
The phonebook can store quite a lot of information. It lets you input numbers for work and home, but this time there are no custom labels. There is of course an email field and you can assign a custom ringtone.
You can add an IM nickname to the contact as well as a postal address, company and job title, several notes, you name it. Quite interesting is the option to redirect calls directly to voicemail.
When viewing a contact, the various details are displayed in sections. Tapping on a given number dials the contact while opting for the envelope icon next to it launches the message editor. Those two buttons fill an entire horizontal row so that they are more thumbable.