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At 83 x 50 x 16mm the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini sure is tiny. There is hardly a pocket that won’t find enough free space for it and the mere 88 grams of weight will almost make you forget it is there.
Some might frown at the 16mm of thickness which is too much by today’s standards but it doesn’t really make the device unattractive. It almost looks like the boxy appearance was exactly what designers were looking for. Thinner than that and the phone would’ve been near impossible to handle comfortably. And the X10 mini is truly the smallest handset we have had recently.
It’s all a matter of personal taste how you feel about the X10 mini. The boxy handset is quite different than most of its competitors. Manufacturers would usually go for tall slimmer bodies for their touch phones.
The plastic used on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini won’t earn it many points either, especially against metal-built phones, but is decent. The back is nicely fingerprint-resistant with rubbery finish.
The shiny plastic on the front does become greasy with use (it doesn’t take too long) but, since the front is mostly taken by the display anyway, we are willing to let that one go.
The touchscreen itself measures 2.55” in diagonal, which seems like the very minimum that still allows finger-use. Sony Ericsson did well though to make the best use of the screen estate with the interface. We’ll get back to that later but the icons are all large enough and you won’t have trouble pressing any of them.
The screen sensitivity, as was to be expected in a capacitive unit, is excellent. The slightest of touches is enough for a click to be registered, for a great touchscreen experience.
Equally important, the QVGA resolution is adequate for this screen size but doesn’t allow for too fancy graphics. For example, most of the icon labels don’t look sharp enough and the icons themselves are not as smooth as we’ve seen on HVGA and WVGA Android handsets.
The 65K-color limitation inherent to Android versions prior to 2.0 could result in the occasional banding but it’s not as easily noticeable on a screen this size. If the X10 mini ever receives an Android 2.0 update those issues will be completely solved but we wouldn’t hold our breaths just yet.
The image quality is passable as far as TFT displays go, with good brightness and above average contrast. Anyway, an AMOLED display would’ve made sense on the full-grown XPERIA X10 but is obviously too much for the mini league.
Unfortunately the sunlight legibility of the X10 mini display is pretty mediocre. There are just too much reflections and operating the handset outdoors on a bright sunny day is pretty troublesome.