Sony Ericsson X8 review: XPERIA in the middle
An uninspiring 3 megapixel fixed-focus snapper
On the hardware side of things, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 has a 3 megapixel camera module for a maximum image resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. Sadly, there is neither autofocus nor flash.
The camera interface is as simple as it gets with three buttons in total. There is a camera/camcorder switch, a gallery button and scene mode. The four available scene presets include twilight, sports, beach/snow and, of course auto.
You can enable geotagging, which is the most advanced feature available. You’ll have to go all the way to Settings / Sony Ericsson / Camera to find that option though, it’s not available in the camera app itself.
This is certainly one of the most basic camera interfaces on the market but we guess Sony Ericsson thought users wouldn’t need much more and would prefer simplicity to functionality. In the end, it all comes down to the image quality, so let’s see.
The image quality turned out to be disappointing. The aggressive noise reduction smudges fine detail and the white balance could’ve been better too.
Here are some real-world samples from the XPERIA X8 camera:
We also snapped our resolution chart with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8. You can check out what that test is all about You can check out what that test is all about here.
VGA video recording
Video recording on the X8 goes as high as VGA resolution which, needless to say, is far from impressive. At least the framerate is a good 30 fps and consistent enough.
The interface of the camcorder is similar to the one on the still camera, except that there are even fewer settings. You can set the video quality, turn the video light on and off and that's that.
Videos are rendered in 3gp format suggesting lower bitrate, which in turn leads to some compression artifacts. Video also suffers from the lack of contrast so videos aren't too nice to watch on a computer screen.
Here is a video sample shot at VGA@30fps.
Connectivity is well covered
Despite its size, you get all the connectivity options on the XPERIA X8. For starters, you get quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for worldwide roaming and two versions with either dual-band (900/2100 MHz) or tri-band (850/1900/2100 MHz) 3G with HSPA.
As for local connectivity, the X8 offers USB v2.0, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support (no file transfer though) and Wi-Fi. The USB interface is standard microUSB and it can charge the phone over a USB connection to a computer.
The microSD card is accessible in mass storage mode or you can plug it into a card reader, which is the fastest way to do bulk data transfers.
A nice but Flash-less web browser
The Android browser on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 is a very good one – the major disadvantage is the lack of Flash support. This could change eventually, but the X8 will have to be updated to Android 2.2 Froyo.
The user interface is rather minimalist – all you get on the screen are the zoom controls. The address bar is hidden by default to save some space as the low resolution doesn’t allow much content to fit on the screen anyway.
Unfortunately, the Android browser on the X8 supports only a single zoom method – the dedicated onscreen buttons. There is no double tap or one-finger zooming like in the Gallery.
On the positive side, the browser supports text reflow – as soon as you zoom, columns of text adjust to fit the screen width. And there’s also the nice magnifying glass browsing mode, which let’s you browse the page quickly until you reach the part that you want to focus and then zoom in on to read it.
The minimalist UI is still quite powerful – hit the menu key and four keys pop up. You can open/switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, open bookmarks.
Flash support is the other letdown of the X8 browser. There is of course a YouTube application onboard but Flash content doesn't start nor end with YouTube.