Below the display there are three hardware keys Ė contextual menu, home and the back button. Those are thin buttons but nicely raised and with good press feedback. The obvious absentee is the Search button: in exchange thereís a search widget on the homescreen.
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 ear during calls.
The left side of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini is completely bereft of controls. The only thing of interest here is a small groove to pull the battery cover off.
On the right you get a volume rocker and a shutter key. The volume rocker is as good as the three keys below the display but the camera key is a bit too tiny. It still has a proper stroke though and very distinct half press. Itís not bad at all, just needs some time getting used to.
On top of the handset is the screen lock key which also acts as a power button. Again, it isnít the most comfortable to press but we suspect it was done on purpose to minimize accidental presses. More than often it needs a push with a fingernail really.
At the bottom the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini has the audio jack and the microUSB port. The audio jack is absolutely compatible with standard 3.5mm plugs but the unusual shape accommodates the X10 mini prebundled headset. There is a protective cap over the microUSB port, while the audio jack is exposed.
The back of the phone hosts 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 but the bad news is the battery isnít replaceable.
Not only is carrying a back-up battery out of the question but effectively once the original battery runs its life span youíll have to buy a new phone. Youíre more likely to upgrade long before the battery expires anyway.
At this stage we are unable to comment on the real life battery performance of the X10 mini. Itís quoted at up to 285 hours of standby and 4 hours of talk time in a 2G network. In 3G mode, itís up to 360 hours of standby and three and half hours of talk time.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini is so tiny you can cup it in your hand and out of sight. Itís brilliant to handle and makes you want to cuddle it. Some users might find awkward making calls on something that small but otherwise working on such limited touchscreen estate is trouble free. There are inevitable compromises of course, like no virtual QWERTY keyboard, but the little chap sure is hard to resist.