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Review of Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 GSM/UMTS smartphone

Live photos of Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Design
  3. Frame materials, assembly quality
  4. Size
  5. Controls
  6. Display
  7. Camera
  8. Battery
  9. Productivity
  10. Interfaces
  11. Navigation
  12. Phone functions
  13. Sound
  14. Text input
  15. Software
  16. TimeScape and MediaScape
  17. Rival products
  18. Conclusion

Traditionally we start reviews of flagship models from the history of their development, long road to production and objectives. It is easy to answer these questions with Sony Ericsson X10. This is the companys flagship handset and an entry ticket to Android club. It tries to prove after slightly unsuccessful attempts with XPERIA X1 that SE is still a force to be reckoned with in the high-end market and its Android flagship can be really strong. It had to be so: new platform, excellent specifications, a gorgeous screen with the best resolution on offer and almost unrivalled size, a high quality camera (regardless of the megapixels), two colors and sleek design. What else do you need to release a truly intriguing and eye-catching device? A new platform is the answer. The company took it into account and went for Android. It seems that Sony Ericsson has all the aces its flagship model is announced, which generates considerable interest. Surely, a smartphone with such characteristics cannot be anything but popular.

This is the story of Sony Ericsson X10 on its way to the customers.

Design

After asking my friends and people from IT journalism and based on many reviews I can say, there can be several opposite opinions on SE X10 design. Some like its looks, others just call it a brick. I belong to the third group of people who like white X10 without any reservations and dont like the black version (which I had to review).

In my opinion SE X10 has no design associations with the companys previous models, which is for the better: the handset looks at least interesting, has no excessive ornamentation, but it isnt simple either. It seems that the developers managed to strike the right balance, when a smartphone with the large screen as its centerpiece, which you cant simply ignore in terms of size, location of controls and other features, doesnt resemble a brick, but looks attractive. Surely it applies to the white version, as the black one is a bit boring, though more practical in use due to the following.

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Frame materials, assembly quality

In the black phone the battery cover, which takes up almost the entire back side, is made of soft-touch plastic. It even feels like velvet. The white X10 has a smooth glossy cover. Not least because of different materials X10 of white color looks more subtle and nice. In both versions the top and bottom are glossy, while sides have chrome looking plastic elements.

The assembly quality is good, the back panel is fixed by more than ten pins, so nothing feels loose. Similar to HTC Desire when I used to take the battery cover off and then return it I had the feeling that sooner or later some pins would be broken. So far, so good!

The only complaints are for the gaps between the screen protective glass and the frame, especially near the speaker. Dust constantly gets into these gaps and you have to clean these parts and the speaker grille as well.

The frame is not easily soiled, except for the screen surface and the gaps mentioned above. The screen gets dirty due to the protective film. If you take it off therell be far fewer stains and fingerprints, although cleaning is not as easy as in HTC Desire or Google Nexus One, where you just have to rub it against a smooth fabric of, lets say, a T-shirt.

In terms of materials there is only one complaint it feels too plastic. You cant explain it logically. There is only plastic here and no metal, so what? But when in the left hand you have the heavy HTC Desire with cold metal band around the screen, and in the right Sony Ericsson X10, you think that in the left hand you have an expensive phone, and cheap in the right one. At least this is the way I feel.

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Size

Sizewise this Sony Ericsson can be classified as a pocket computer or large communicator. In this respect it is comparable with HTC HD, HD2 and HTC MAX 4G, which makes it one of the biggest modern phones and the most formidable Android smartphone. The closest match will be HTC HD2, and while X10 is narrower, it is thicker.

  • HTC HD2 – 120,5 x 67 x 11 mm (4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"), 157 g (5.04 oz)
  • Sony Ericsson X10 – 119 x 63 x 13 mm (4.68" x 2.48" x 0.51"), 135 g (4.34 oz)
  • HTC MAX 4G – 114 x 61,3 x 13,9 mm (4.48" x 2.41" x 0.54"), 151 g (4.85 oz)
  • HTC Desire – 119 x 60 x 12 mm (4.68" x 2.36" x 0.47"), 135 g (4.34 oz)
  • Google Nexus One – 119 x 60 x 11,5 mm (4.68" x 2.36" x 0.45"), 130 g (4.17 oz)
  • Apple iPhone 3GS – 115,5 x 62,1 x 12,3 mm (4.54" x 2.44" x 0.48"), 135 g (4.34 oz)

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs HTC HD2:

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs Google Nexus One:

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs HTC Hero:

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs Nokia 5800 XpressMusic:

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs HTC Touch Diamond:

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 vs Garmin-Asus M10:

The most comfortable way to carry the phone is to use a bag or outwear pockets. You can put it in the pocket of you jeans or trousers, but it wont be very comfortable.

You can easily hold the smartphone in the hand, it doesnt slip out, and as it is relatively light (in comparison with MAX 4G and HD2) you hand wont get tired during long conversations.

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Controls

There are three control keys, which are situated under the screen. From left to right we have the button of context menu, button of main screen return (press and hold to open a grid of last six launched applications) and Back button. All three keys are large enough, can be pressed smoothly, and are quite comfortable. The only thing I couldnt understand was the use of two LEDs between the keys.

As a rule you either have key backlight or not. The first option is right and the second depends on additional factors. It happens that the keys are so few you just dont need any backlight. The variant used in SE X10 is unclear: instead of backlight here you have two LEDs, which are active when you press the keys. They have no other functions dont highlight the keys or symbols above. They dont help to understand the position of every key (which is not necessary anyway), but just send light into your eyes. If you use the phone in the darkness it can get a little annoying. Unfortunately, this option cannot be switched off.

The top of the front side features the grilled speaker. To the left we have the light and proximity sensors. To the right light indicator, which turns yellow (or orange) during the recharge or connection to PC, red if the battery is almost dead and green after the recharge is completed or you have new notifications (missed call, unread messages, etc.). The activity of wireless interfaces is not indicated.

The left side of the smartphone is free from any elements apart from loudspeaker.

On top of the right side there is the volume control key. It is quite comfortable, although looks too small for such a big device as X10. Volume of music can be changed from the pocket without activating its screen as in other Android phones. Down on this side we have a two-position camera button. I am glad it was added as HTC has decided not to use the camera control key in its expensive models.

At the top of SE X10 we can find 3.5 mm jack for the headset and headphones, screen on/off button, which is also used to end the call. If you press and hold it for a couple of seconds in the waiting mode it will start the pop-up menu in which youll be able to switch the power off, go into sound off or flight modes. Here at the top we also see a covered microUSB port for the charger and PC connection.

The screen on/off key is responsible for the end of the call as well. It is situated on the top. If before meeting with X10 you worked with sensor phones, especially under WM, you could have got used to screen on/off button. I press it after the call or during it to activate the screen and tell my conversation partner a number from the phonebook or take notes while speaking. In new smartphones it can be useful when the proximity sensor responsible for turning the screen off automatically during the conversation doesnt work or is absent. In this case at the beginning of the call you can use this button to turn the screen off to avoid pressing it with you ear.

With SE X10 I first used to cancel calls by chance when pressed screen on/off button during the conversation to give my interlocutor any information (sometimes the proximity sensor fails and it happens with many handsets and SE is not an exception). The solution is very simple we have to retrain and activate display by the central key under the screen, which can also do this job.

The bottom features the loop for wrist band.

SIM and memory cards are situated above the battery in such a way that you cant access them until you take out the battery first. This is a strange solution we saw in HTC Desire and Google Nexus One, if we take into account that every modern smartphone has a memory card slot, which allows hot swap. To move files to the memory card youll have to switch off the phone.


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Display

The handset boasts the capacitive TFT touchscreen display of 4" with FWVGA (854x480) resolution. Its physical dimensions are 89x50 mm (3.50" x 1.96") with up to 65 thousand colors. The screen has good brightness capacity and in terms of other characteristics, such as viewing angles and color reproduction it is similar to other TFT displays, for example the one used in HTC HD2.

Viewing angles are excellent both vertically and horizontally. When you turn the phone the picture fades a little, but youll tell it only if you had experience with AMOLED displays. In comparison with any TFT display viewing angles remain the same.

Now I would like to say a couple of words about the advantages and disadvantages of this screen. As to the advantages the biggest one is the use of mirror baseplate in SE X10. It makes X10 screen very legible in the sun. The picture becomes almost black and white, but the visibility is excellent. Screens in HTC Desire and Google Nexus One are much worse in this respect. The second advantage common for all capacitive displays is a good response of SE X10 to tapping, so there should be no problems in using the fingers to navigate the phone.

As to the disadvantages I have to mention that multitouch is not supported. If before X10 you have never used a phone with multitouch, you wont pay attention to this drawback, but if you move to X10 from multitouch phone youll see the absence of possibility to scale texts, images and browser pages with the fingers.

The screen in Sony Ericsson X10 is a bit bluish. May be this is due to my color blindness (although Im not color blind), but I showed the handset to several acquaintances who also noticed a dominance of blue hues. I cant explain this phenomenon, whether it is caused by the toned screen surface, its production technology or the particular sample I tested. Shades of blue are really prominent. The same can be said about the screens of HTC Desire and Nexus One with the dominance of rosy hues, but this color becomes visible only if the screen backlight is set for minimum. In other situations the colors are reproduced accurately and there is a technical explanation of this imbalance. In X10 the blue color is not so visible, but you can still notice it with any screen brightness. During the everyday use this blue prevalence is visible. I cant say that it is a serious disadvantage. Everything depends on your perception of the screen. During any examination in the shop you can check if you notice this phenomenon or not.

To some extent 854x480 resolution in Sony Ericsson X10 played a bad trick on the handset. Some system symbols and application icons look in such resolution slightly blurred and untidy. You may say that I am finding fault, but this is a flagship model and its quite natural to complain that some icons look nice (everything created for this model, MediaScape, TimeScape and others), while the rest dont. Such resolution still has an advantage, because it allows the screen to fit more information vertically, which is extremely noticeable when you work with applications containing pop-up context menus. When in Desire I had to scroll the menu down, here it was unnecessary as all lines fitted the screen well. One of such applications is AppControl.

Display in SE X10 is covered by the protective film and one more comes in the box. This film is easily scratched and gets dirty as expected. If you want to have such screen surface as in Desire or HD2 (special plastic called glass by the manufacturer) you can just take off the protective film. Underneath is the same protective glass resistant to scratching and not so quickly soiled as the film.


In conclusion of the section dedicated to the screen look at the pictures to compare the displays of Sony Ericsson X10, HTC Desire and HTC HD2.

Sony Ericsson X10 vs HTC Desire

Sony Ericsson X10 vs HTC HD2

Original pictures (Sources: HTC, Flikie Wallpapers, www.interfacelift.com, www.deviantart.com)

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Camera

This smartphone features 8 MP camera with autofocus and flash. Camera lens opening is in the top side of the frames back part and is slightly recessed. Below is placed a LED flash, which cant be used as a flashlight by default, but you can still download XPERIA Flashlight if this function is really necessary.

Cameras interface works both in horizontal and vertical screen orientations. In the viewfinder mode the screen displays all main information. For photos it is the maximum number of possible shots and settings icons, for video it is the available length of recording and also settings icons. When you choose one icon a pop-up menu appears where you select the necessary setting. Camera is comfortable to use, its interface is easy and understandable.

The following photo resolutions are available:

  • 8 M 3264x2448
  • 6 M 3264x1836
  • 2 M 1632x1224
  • 2 M (Wide)1920x1080

Shooting modes:

  • Standard
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Night mode
  • Night portrait
  • Beach and snow
  • Sports
  • Party
  • Document

White balance:

  • Auto
  • Indoor light
  •             Fluorescent light
  • Day light
  • Clouded sky

Apart from the abovementioned settings you can switch on image stabilization (though I couldnt see the difference) and geotags for pictures, choose shutter sound effect or switch it off.

The smartphone has a macro shooting mode. If you choose it youll be able to take close up pictures from 7-8 cm (2.75" 3.14") and more. The pictures of text are successful every time, but in the center there is always a rosy area similar to that of HTC HD2. The pictures taken in broad daylight and sunny weather dont follow this pattern.

The handset also features the smile shutter function and in camera settings you can indicate how vivid the smile should be in order to be detected. Traditionally this function sometimes works, but on other occasions may fail.

The quality of photos can be judged by the sample photos below. To my mind Sony Ericsson X10 is now the clear leader among Android smartphones in terms of photos quality. At least if compared with the current models of Samsung and HTC.

Samples of daytime photos:

Macro:

Text:

Scaling:

Video

Video can be recorded in mpeg4 or 3gp (mp4v or h.263 codec) format with the average speed of 28 frames per second. The sound is recorded with the help of aac codec.

The following resolution for video is available:

  • WVGA – 800x480
  • VGA – 640x480
  • QVGA – 320x240
  • MMS – 320x240 (length of recording is limited to 15 seconds)
  • YouTube – 640x480 (length of recording is limited to 10 minutes)

Video settings are similar to photo settings. Regarding the differences I would like to mention switching on/off the sound and flash during the video recording.

Irrespective of the resolution scaling of the video is supported and this function is even available during the recording. You can judge the quality of video recording by the video sample below.

Video sample (mp4, 17,1 MB) >>>

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Battery

The handset features Li-Ion battery of 1500 mAh. The manufacturer claims up to 10 hours of talk time (GSM) and 415 hours in the standby mode. While testing new Android smartphones I came to the conclusion that there is no much point in discussing their operation time in considerable detail. All smartphones starting from HTC Hero and on (HTC Desire, Legend, Google Nexus One), can work for one day with the average load. If you add music playback and other options, then even less - 8-9 hours. The only exceptions are Samsung robots, which can work a bit longer around one day and a half. Sony Ericsson X10 doesnt belong to such exceptions. Alongside with the abovementioned HTC models the fully charged battery of this smartphone will give you around one day of work (30-40 minutes of talk time, 10-15 text messages and configured Gmail and MS Exchange accounts with activated push-mail feature).

If apart from the talk time and messages youll use SE X10 to surf the net and listen to the music (for around 3-4 hours) the operation time will go down to 8-9 hours.

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Productivity

The smartphone uses QSD8250 (Snapdragon) platform with 1 GHz processor. It boasts 384 MB of main storage and 1 GB for installed applications. In comparison with 512 MB in HTC models the latter figure is impressive. In all versions of Android before 2.2 the applications can be installed in internal memory only and when you have many applications 512 MB is not enough. To some extent, this is true because of 512 MB only half is usually available to users. In SE X10 we see the same 50% availability, but 450 MB is anyway two times bigger than 150-200 MB in HTC Desire.

To store data, music, images, movies and other files memory cards can be used. 16 MB microSD card comes in the box. The majority of users are unlikely to require a bigger card.

Similar to HTC models Sony Ericsson X10 from the box is not equipped with additional codecs for video playback, which is limited by traditional Android features: wmv, mp4 and 3gp. Supported video formats are played without any problems even in 800x400 resolution.

Overall interface speed of the smartphone is on par with the rival products. I cant say that it works faster or slower than HTC Desire.

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Interfaces

The handset works in GSM (850/900/1800/1900) and UMTS (900/1700/2100) networks. Both EDGE and HSDPA are supported. You can switch on and off different modules from the settings menu or with the help of the standard interface widget for Android 1.6 (its graphics is adjusted to the companys style).

MicroUSB cable from the box is used for synchronization with PC and data transfer. Here we have USB 2.0 interface. When you connect to the computer data transfer mode can be selected and microSD card will be detected. Apart from that in the same mode PC Companion application works with the smartphone. When I connected my X10 to PC every other time radio module disappeared and I had to connect the device again. I dont know the reason but according to people from Sony Ericsson they havent had such complaints before, so it must be a problem of my sample.

Integrated Bluetooth 2.1+EDR module supports the following profiles:

  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) – music playback through the wireless headset.
  • Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile (GAVDP)
  • Audio/Video Distribution Transport Protocol (AVDTP)
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) – stereo sound transfer via Bluetooth
  • Hands-Free Profile 1.5
  • File Transfer Profile (FPT). Enables to view the file systems of other devices via Bluetooth and its own file system as well.
  • Object Push Profile (OPP). This profile is used to transfer such objects as calendar entries, contacts, etc. 

Music playback sound quality through the wireless headset is traditional for this platform and similar to HTC and Samsung.

Wi-Fi (802.11b/g). Wi-Fi worked well. You can configure the rules of Wi-Fi going into sleep mode, the use of only the static IP address during the connection and add security certificates. While working through Wi-Fi you can encounter slight heating, but it is not so felt as in HTC HD2.

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Navigation

Sony Ericsson X10 employs gpsOne chip on Qualcomm platform. Cold start takes up to 40 seconds, then you need around 8-10 seconds to find the satellites (we tested this feature with the help of GPS Status available from the Market).

There is no special software for navigation, but Google Maps is installed. It can help you to plan the routes (without the voice prompts), search addresses via street names or places (restaurant, cafe, proper name of an institution, etc.). The advantage of this application over more specialized navigation software is that as the maps are downloaded from the Internet you can theoretically navigate in any big city of the world. The main thing here is to have Internet connection, which at the same time is the main disadvantage of Google Maps because without the Internet connection it becomes useless.

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Phone functions

Phone functions of SE X10 generate the lions share of discussions on Internet forums and in e-shops. Ill try to stay calm and describe the situation with the phone functions in my SE X10.

Calls and phone conversations come to mind when we speak about phone functions. Main parameters here are the quality of voice transmission and the reach of sound: how well your interlocutor hears you and vice versa. In new smartphones from HTC, Asus, Samsung and others the phone functions leave much to be desired, but the consumers got used to it and during the last year complaints regarding the connection quality, low volume of speakers in such devices can be heard more rarely. In part we really got used to it, but to some extent when we buy a smartphone or communicator we are subconsciously ready to forgive one drawback if it doesnt bother you every day or every hour.

Phone functions of Sony Ericsson X10 have some problems. During the conversation you can sometimes not hear the interlocutor well enough even at the maximum volume. I heard about such complaints when I read the reviews of SE X10. My sample has quite an average volume and while I heard people well in the office or at home, in the street or public transportation the sound quality wasnt good. It is not a problem of low quality of speakers sound, but simply the volume was not enough. Its volume capacity is low and you are likely to use it at the maximum volume level. In crowded and noisy places its just impossible to do without the headset.

It was really annoying when the reach of sound was an issue. Its not that my interlocutors could not hear me well. When I used SE X10 they just asked me repeatedly whether I was in the shopping center, at the sale, walked down the busy highway or went to the carnival in Brazil? Apart from my voice the people heard ambient noise from my office, the quiet room at home or in the street. This issue cant be solved. It must be a peculiar feature of the microphone.

Now a couple of words regarding the handling of USSD requests. If I want to check my account balance or get any other information I enter *102# (for MegaFon mobile carrier) and in the window choose the menu to work with. Sony Ericsson X10 cannot handle USSD requests. When I enter *102# I see only incomprehensible symbols. The company promises to solve this issue for MegaFon and MTS subscribers, but not for Beeline as it is impossible.

Some offer to solve the issue by turning requests into Latin alphabet with the special code or via the operator or enter them not in *XXX# format, but use #XXX#. One more recommendation suggests to use code *100*6*2# and turn requests into Translit or Cyrillic alphabet by *100*6*1# code. Neither approach was successful in my case, but it must be connected with my sample as there are some lucky users who managed to solve this problem.

Despite the abovementioned difficulties with USSD requests live balance from MegaFon worked well with SE X10.

X10 has a proprietary phonebook with some of its functions similar to contacts in HTC. The phonebook is convenient and has the search field at the top and vertical panel with Latin and Cyrillic alphabets on the right. In the general list the contacts display names with pictures. If you dont assign a picture youll see a general male image.

The only complaint to the contacts is a strange distortion of images, which have been already assigned to the addresses. I have a group of contacts for review who have high resolution images to look good in reviews. You probably know these people: Dart Wader, Sam Fisher and others.

In contact cards of SE X10 the images are distorted, compressed and overextended in width. Moreover in contact cards you see not the whole photo, but some part of it, showing the nose and the lips instead of the face. If I didnt try to write without prejudice I would ignore it. But I think this is a queer bug and defect, which will make you after the purchase of SE X10 (if like me you prefer phonebooks with photos) take new pictures for all contacts, if you want them to look right in X10.

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Sound

To my mind the sound quality in Sony Ericsson X10 is better than in HTC Desire or Google Nexus One, but I have been having a bad ear for music since childhood.

In the box with the smartphone you can find 3.5 mm headset with short cord and 3.5 mm 3.5 mm adapter, which could be labeled as the extension with remote. It has the button responsible for answering calls and the microphone to turn headphones into the headset.

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Text input

The standard keypad allows adjusting vibration and sound effect for buttons pressing. Languages are switched with one tap, and the same button is also responsible for additional symbols mode. If you need to hide the keypad hold the left key under the screen for a couple of seconds.

Keypad in Sony Ericsson X10 has similar features to Android keypad, aside from several functions. If Android keypad allows to enter symbols like ! ? @ outside of the additional symbols menu by holding the key with the dot, in SE keypad it is impossible. It resembles the case with Samsung i7500 and i5700 which had simple and uncomfortable keypads in comparison with HTC analogue and SmartKeyboard, available from the Market. Fortunately, SmartKeyboard is available for Android 1.6, so I recommend downloading it and using this application instead of the standard keypad.

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Software

The communicator works under Android 1.6 OS with the slightly improved standard Android interface. Status bar is changed and rolls out at the top of the screen (system bar). In X10 it hosts more icons and information than usual due to smaller fonts and icons. Some people (like me) will enjoy it, but others will not, because at times you have to strain your eyes to read anything from this bar.

Lock up screen was also changed: to unblock it you have to move the slider in an arc below from left to right up or from right to left up.

On one website I read a funny review of the screen, which claimed it to be so convenient unlike the standard lock up screen or the one in HTC models because your finger moves naturally. To demolish this myth I would like to say that in X10 the lock up screen isnt convenient precisely because you have to move your finger in an arc. In HTC you need to drag the huge block a bit and it can be done in any place. This is really easy. In the standard lock up screen for Android you have to drag a spot it is smaller than the block in HTC, but is big enough and has to be dragged a little bit to the left.

In SE X10 you have to drag a small triangle for a maximum distance (an arc is almost a diagonal after all). Due to this sometimes you may lose the slider while dragging it to unlock the screen and you have to do it again. The worst thing is to lose the slider during the incoming call, when you try to move the finger in an arc while on the go. To change the arcs direction you have to hold the finger in its upper part and then drag it.

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TimeScape and MediaScape

Nowadays almost all manufacturers equip their Windows Mobile and Android smartphones with proprietary interfaces. HTC has Sense, Samsung boasts TouchWIZ, LG introduced S-Class in their WM smartphones and will do something similar for Android devices. The common desire of all manufacturers here is to add colors and come up with something extra to put in the ad banner or their commercial. They try to make the interface more visually appealing with a number of wow features.

Earlier versions of the interfaces suffered from the excess of decorative elements, but this fashion then came to an end. Lets look at HTC. They have Sense where all decorative elements are located very successfully. They are represented by the weather effects and the final version of the interface allows dragging a grid with seven desktops onto the screen with one pinch. Are you impressed? Surely, but you wont use this feature in everyday life very often.

Then comes Samsung. The owners of i8000 will understand what I mean: its interface has the so called multimedia cube. It rotates in full 3D (or pseudo 3D) without any practical application, but it is so beautiful!

Then look at LG with S-Class interface, which is the best example of how a stunning and visually distinguished interface doesnt guarantee success. I mean LG Arena.

Finally we come to Sony Ericsson solution. I dont know what was their objective, but would like to make an assumption. I think it must be right. The task was simple: efficiency and visual excellence. So we have two interfaces TimeScape and MediaScape.

Timescape is a full screen interface predominantly represented by the information panels in the form of a vertical block. In the lower part of the interface we have bookmarks, so you can go to panels with messages from Twitter and Facebook, other panels with photos, music, e-mails and text messages or panels with contact cards.

The idea is interesting and can be implemented better in the future, because today it is spoiled by two facts. These panels show heavily compressed images of contacts and Twitter avatars you cant look at with dry eyes. I genuinely believe that nobody would like to use the interface with 60 % of the screen space occupied by similar pictures:

Firstly, its ugly and unpleasant to look at. Secondly, the panels themselves in the form of single type graphic elements shown at the strange angle can keep the minimum amount of information and get smaller in size starting from the top. What can you use TimeScape for? To make such videos.

InTwitterbookmarkmessagesinRussianaredisplayedwithoutspaceslikethis.

Thats why I am not going to describe the automatic panels update, general panel with all new information and other features of TimeScape. In real life this interface is pretty useless.

The company promises to solve the problem with no spaces in Twitter messages and improve the quality of images in TimeScape in June upgrade for SE X10. But so far this interface works like described above.

Mediascape. This interface contains all multimedia elements: music, photos and video. As the music player it works fine, apart from some irrationality of the interface. For example to enter the list of performers you have to open TimeScape, choose Music panel, press Yes in the top right hand part of the screen and holding your finger on the line at the bottom move it left or right until you find Performers or Albums. I think it is too much if you just want to sort your music according to the albums. At the same time the first screen of Music hosts such useful categories as:

  • Recently played
  • Recently added
  • My Favorites
  • Most frequently played
  • Random play

Why not to add albums and performers here?

The rest is above criticism: convenient search, alphabet bar to the right, selection of tracks for each album is visible from the general list, display of albums covers and the possibility to download the missing ones. In other words all necessary functions are here. For Photos panels you can add display of information from Picasa or Facebook.

I cant fail to complaint about the following feature. In MediaScape photo albums to get into the full screen mode of a photo or image you have to open it and then fit the size of such a photo to the screen by repeatedly pressing the enlargement button. Before I see the image fit the screen Ill have to tap the enlargement icon 5 or 6 times. In any other phone or smartphone every image when opened fits the screen, and if it is not the case you can achieve it by double clicking such an image. I would be glad to be wrong if in X10 you can do it as well.

This is how the image is displayed when opened

If you click the opened image twice youll see this

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Rival products

The official price of Sony Ericsson X10 starts on par with HTC Desire.

Google Nexus One. is a bit cheaper than X10.

Advantages of Google Nexus One over Sony Ericsson X10:

  • Android 2.2
  • Physical controls element (trackball)
  • More compact
  • Better screen (color reproduction, viewing angles, brightness, picture resolution)
  • Good speakers volume
  • No bugs in phone functions

The final item will be present for all rival products. Unfortunately, SE X10 has problems in its phone functions and we cannot discard them.

Advantages of Sony Ericsson X10 over Google Nexus One:

  • Bigger screen
  • Better camera (8 MP vs 5 MP)
  • 1 GM of storage for data (only if compared with Nexus One on Android 2.1)

What to choose? If you need more of a multimedia device than a phone then Sony Ericsson X10 fits the bill, otherwise go for Nexus One.

HTC Desire. Flagship HTC model on Android with the official price similar to SE X10.

Advantages of HTC Desire over Sony Ericsson X10:

  • Android 2.1
  • Proprietary interface Sense with numerous improvements
  • Physical controls element (optic trackball)
  • More compact
  • Better screen (color reproduction, viewing angles, brightness, picture resolution)
  • More main storage (512 MB vs 384 MB)
  • Good speakers volume
  • No bugs in phone functions

This model has the same advantages over X10 as Google Nexus One with Sense into the bargain.

Advantages of Sony Ericsson X10 over HTC Desire:

  • Bigger screen
  • Better camera (8 MP vs 5 MP)
  • 1 GM of storage for data (only if compared with Nexus One on Android 2.1)

Which one is better? Again, if you dont call much you can think about X10, especially if you need the device to listen to the music and take photos. As for the rest Desire is preferable as it has no such bugs and is easier to use or examine if this is your first Android or smartphone.

HTC HD2. If Sony Ericsson X10 attracts you only with its huge 4" screen, then you can have a better choice in HTC HD2. Metal parts, thin frame, huge and excellent screen.

I am not going to include Samsung Galaxy S in the list of rivals due to several reasons. Firstly, I am not familiar with it well enough. Secondly, after its launch S will cost more and will occupy the higher segment than X10 at the time. And finally, you know full well who will win this contest.

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Conclusion

We have already discussed the phone functions. Now well mention the speakers. This smartphone features one speaker at the top of left side. Its maximum volume is slightly lower than in HTC Desire or Google Nexus One. If you dont hear the calls well you can solve this issue by selecting a clear and merry melody resembling classic phone ringtone. Vibration in SE X10 is weak with frequent and flat pulses. When the smartphone is in the jeans pocket you will almost never feel it. It is noticeable when you hold the device in the hand or it is resting on the table.

To sum it up I have to say that on the balance Sony Ericsson X10 has good hardware (apart from the phone functions) and mediocre software with numerous bugs of different severity. Here go an old Android version (everybody who hasnt tried versions 2.1 or 2.2 will tell you they are the same) odd TimeScape interface, several features of the phonebook, inability to handle USSD requests and other details. Add the bluish display, end call button, which is also responsible for switching the screen on and off, two funny LEDs between the keys and other idiosyncrasies and well have a picture of X10.

If you ignore the quality of sound during the conversation, low volume of the speaker and imagine that SE X10 runs on Android 2.1 or even has Sense youll have a nice device you can forgive untidy icons, big size and other drawbacks. But these are fantasies as in real life we have the smartphone with good characteristics and many minor faults, which shape its face.

Modern flagship Android models from HTC and Samsung have one disadvantage short operation time. Apart from this we have almost ideal devices. Separate samples may have defects and bugs, but this is an exception. In case of Sony Ericsson X10 we dont have one sample with bugs, but the model every sample of which has a range of the problems we discussed. If you know how to fix them, or will be ready to tolerate then I am not against. Good smartphone on slightly outdated Android version is waiting for you. But if you buy Android to use it as a phone and dont want to fine tune what comes from the box, think of other models.

Frankly speaking I have genuine pity for this model. X10 has a potential and it really had to become a strong flagship model on Android. Before the arrival of Samsung Galaxy S X10 could reign as the perfect machine with impeccable characteristics, but due to some people in the company it hasnt happened and we have an expensive smartphone with various problems and bugs.

Description:

  • Class: smartphone
  • Form factor: candybar
  • Rival products: Google Nexus One, HTC Desire
  • Frame materials: matte and glossy plastic
  • Operating system: Android 1.6
  • Networks: GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS/HSDPA 900/1700/2100
  • Processor: 1 GHz on Qualcomm QSD8250 platform
  • Main storage: 384 MB
  • Memory for application: 1 GB + slot for microSD memory cards (16 GB card in the box)
  • Interfaces: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (A2DP), microUSB (USB 2.0) port for recharge/synchronization, 3.5 mm jack for the headset
  • Display: capacitive TFT 4” with FWVGA (854x480) resolution, automatic adjustment of backlight
  • Camera: 8 MP with autofocus, video recording in WVGA resolution
  • Navigation: GPS on gpsOne chip of Qualcomm platform (with A-GPS support)
  • Additional features: accelerometer, light and proximity sensors
  • Battery: detachable Li-Ion of 1500 mAh
  • Dimensions: 119 x 63 x 13 mm (4.68" x 2.48" x 0.51")
  • Weight: 135 g

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Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published - 31 May 2010.

Having something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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