The Sony Xperia X10 is Sony’s first attempt at dabbling in the world of Android smartphones released in our country way back in April and comes in two colors, black and white. I was able to get my hands on the white one for review.
The build on the X10 is made entirely of plastic with a glossy finish (including the touch screen), which looks pretty slick and sexy until you put your fingerprints all over it.The phone also includes a silver accent around it.
At the top of the phone are the power button and the micro-USB connector for charging; between them is the 3.55mm jack for the earphones. On the back panel you will find the lens for the 8.1 megapixel camera alongside an LED (more on this later).
On the right side of the phone, you will find the volume rocker, which also functions as the camera’s zoom in and zoom out button, as well as a dedicated camera button.
The X10 boasts a 4.0-inch 480×854 TFT touch screen, although not as vibrant and gorgeous as AMOLED displays, I find it a lot more functional when using on bright sunny days. Below the screen are the standard Android phone buttons, ‘Menu’, ‘Home’ and ‘Back’ with the universal search button nowhere to be found.
The X10, for me, is quite big and uncomfortable to hold compared to other smartphones with slightly similar dimensions.
The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon (1GHz) similar to the Desire and the Nexus One.
Sony released the X10 with the ‘Donut’ build of Android (1.6); as such there are lots of features missing from this quite capable handset compared to other smartphones with similar hardware specifications. Most notable is the absence of multi-touch support which is quite disappointing considering less powerful HTC smartphones having the said feature.
Despite all this, the UI of the X10, dubbed UX for User eXperience, was quite adequate to fulfill its smartphone duties. Swiping through the 3 home screens was quite responsive although I’ve experienced it crash a couple of times for unknown reasons. also, being limited with only 3 home screens means there is less room for you to put your widgets and shortcuts on.
Web browsing on the phone is unexpectedly smooth considering the lack of multi-touch gesture support such as pinch to zoom. My only complaint is that sometimes, the zoom in and zoom out overlay button covers some important site navigation links but not really to the point of annoyance.
Text messaging is at times frustrating. I’ve lost count on how many times text characters do not show on the input field even if the on screen keyboard tells me that the key-press registers. This is not limited in texting but wherever the onscreen keyboard is required, I get this hiccup more than enough times for me to really notice it as a real problem.
The real selling point of Sony’s UX is its so-called Timescape and Mediascape.
Timescape is basically X10’s hub or universal aggregator for your Facebook, Twitter, SMS messages, call logs, pictures, recently played music, etc. in chronological order. these are presented in a 3d stack of panels that Sony calls ‘splines’ which is a real eye candy.
Scrolling through the stack was quite fluid thanks to the phone’s powerful processor. You can filter these splines by category by swiping sideways so if you only want to see Facebook updates, it would be less overwhelming.
Tapping on a stack enlarges its respective panel so you can see more of the content. I said ‘more’ because most of the time, you wouldn’t see the entire content since each enlarged panel can’t even fit 140 characters.
Mediascape on the other hand is the main interface for browsing your videos, music and pictures. The album art /thumbnails are arranged in order of recently viewed or favorites initially, but you can proceed to browse the rest of your multimedia collection. Scrolling through lists or thumbnails is smooth and I really love the way Sony enhanced the look and the functionality of the music player.
Speaking of media, the only drawback I found is that the phone’s speaker is not as loud as I want it to be. In fact, I find that X10’s speaker to be a little underwhelming.
The camera feature of X10 is loaded and I could definitely say that Sony somehow perfected making really good cameras for mobile phones. X10 prides itself with its 8.1 megapixel camera with autofocus, face recognition, geotagging, smile detection, image and video stabilization, touch focus.
The X10 also has an LED that can be toggled on and off. there is no auto flash feature here and turning on the LED is not as intuitive as it should be. as for the quality of the shots, pictures from the X10 are pretty good. In fact, it produces the best pictures I’ve seen from a camera phone provided that you are taking your shots with ample lighting, although pictures from low light environment are not bad.
Here are some sample shots taken with the Xperia X10:
In summary, the Sony Xperia X10 is a smartphone with a lot of potential slightly crippled in comparison to its competitors by the fact that it’s running on a relatively old Android version. we are yet to witness the phone’s true capabilities once an upgrade to its OS has been established.
But as a smartphone, the X10 can still be considered reliable and functional. somehow, Sony has managed to produce a solid Android phone despite a few shortcomings.
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Roy Sanchez with some slight revisions by the editor. Roy is a regular contributor here at PTB and specializes in Android platforms. He thinks that Android OS will win the smartphone OS wars if it comes to that.
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