It’s been a long time coming, but here finally is our Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 review. Sony Ericsson have taken an age to get the Xperia X10 out the door, which is why the X10 review has taken so long. But it’s here now and ready to buy on loads of different networks.
Yes, that’s right – demand for the X10 has proven so strong that nearly every network out there, including Three and Virgin Mobile, have signed it up and are now competing to offer it you for the best price.
The big question is, though – is the demand well placed? Is the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 as good as we all want it to be (and as good as its features suggest it should be)?
Read our full Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 review to find out.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10’s Unique Features
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is the first Android phone released by the company, and has been designed to put Sony Ericsson back on the map as the best smartphone manufacturer on the market.
That’s a tall order, not least because as well as the iPhone, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile smartphones that are already out there, there’s also a never-ending array of existing Android devices from the likes of HTC and Motorola, each of which is also aiming to be the best smartphone on the market!
So how are Sony Ericsson hoping to compete? In two ways:
- Killer features – the Xperia X10 comes with the best range of features of any smartphone. Not only is the specification high (8 megapixel camera, qidescreen DVD quality video recording, 4″ screen, 1GHz processor, et.c, etc.!), but the quality of the features is also first rate
- Brand new user interface and social media apps – Sony Ericsson have taken the time to create their own software for Android, and have come up with Timescape and Mediascape – two apps that together provide a brand new user interface that collects all your social media info into one place, and makes your tunes, music, photos and videos accessible from one app, whether they’re on the phone or on the Web.
So, superb features and tight integration with the mobile Web. Sounds like a promising start!
Actually it is – if you’re looking for the best specified smartphone on the market, with camera and video features that are better than any other smartphone around, then stop reading and buy the Xperia X10 now – it’s that simple.
If you’re looking to see how the Xperia X10 compares to its rivals, though, then read on.
14 Things you’ll love about the Xperia X10
Sony Ericsson have put everything they’ve got into the Xperia X10, and have ended up making it one of the most well-specced – no, make that the most well-specced – Android phone on the market.
Just check out some of these features:
- the fastest mobile Web browsing of any phone around, with 10.2Mbps downloads (HSDPA) and 2mbps uploads (HSUPA) – that’s faster than most people’s home broadband connection!
- watch videos, browse the Web and browse through your pictures on the Xperia X10’s stunning 4″ capacitive touchscreen display with 16 million colours and a resolution of 854 x 480 – seriously, you couldn’t get a better looking display
- Take superb photos with the best in class 8 megapixel camera
- Fantastic widescreen video quality lets you shoot widescreen videos at 30fps that look like they’re shot from a camcorder
- Never lose your photos again – the Xperia X10 supports geo tagging and automatic face tagging
- See what your friends are doing across the Web all in one place, with the new Timescape social media interface
- Seamlessly browse your online and offline pics, videos and tunes from the same app – MediaScape – whether they’re stored on your phone or on Web sites like Picasa and YouTube
- Get access to related info wherever you are thanks to the X10’s contextual Infinity button
- run all your apps without even a hint of slowdown, thanks to the super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz CPU
- fantastic 3D games thanks to OpenGL graphics acceleration
- store your entire media library on the phone, with 1GB storage built-in, expandable to 32GB thanks to the standard microSD card slot. You even get an 8GB card bundled with the X10
- huge range of expandability potential, thanks to Sony Ericsson finally using standardized components – as well as microSD, there’s also a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, letting you use whatever headphones you want.
- don’t worry about running out of power – the X10 comes with a 1500mAh battery, which is bigger than most smartphones, and good for up to 10 hours of solid talking
- all the usual Android loveliness you’d expect – WiFi, aGPS, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor, Gmail, Google calendar, search, Maps, etc., etc.!
That’s a long list of compelling features, and easily puts the Xperia X10 towards the top of the smartphone charts. Indeed, if there’s one thing that sets the X10 apart form its rivals, it’s the quality of its features. You don’t just get a large camera, for example, you get a large camera capable of taking pics as well as a dedicated camera phone.
The X10, then, is the real deal, with quality to match its features. So what else have Sony Ericsson added to the X10’s mix?
Cutting edge multimedia
Best in class 8 megapixel camera
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 sports a whopping 8 megapixel camera, which is by far the biggest of any smartphone currently sale. Better than that, though, the quality of the camera is also great. The 8 megapixel camera isn’t just a marketing gimmick – it’s a genuinely good camera that lets you take some cracking pics in all manner of different conditions.
There’s a range of different options that let you get the best from your pics as well. The X10 supports smile detection, image stabilization, face detection, macro mode, and will let you focus on objects just by touching the area of the screen where you want the camera to focus.
More impressively, the X10 has mutliple autofocus, enabling it to focus on more than one spot. This is a feature normally only found on dedicated digital cameras, and shows how serious Sony Ericsson are with the quality fo the X10’s features.
You can also geotag your photos, and even let the X10 automatically tag faces – not only does it come with face detection, it also supports face recognition, and if you’ve already tagged a face, it’ll apply the same tag whenever it recognizes the face in other photos. Brilliant!
Excellent widescreen video camera
Many mobile phones will claim they can shoot video at DVD quality, when what you actually get is a jittery pixellated image that’s hard to watch on the PC, let alone on the TV.
The X10 is different. Not only does record in widescreen, but its genuine 30 frames per second recording shows no jitter, no delay, just great looking video.
Again, the video recording of the X10 is the best you can get on any smartphone today. Just another example of the quality Sony Ericsson has built into the X10.
Superb new user interface
Sony Ericsson have taken Google’s Android mobile OS and given it a whole new user interface. Just like Motorola did with MotoBlur, and HTC with Sense UI, so Sony Ericsson have provided their own polish to Android in the form of Timescape and Mediascape, two new apps which collectively provide a whole new user experience.
Timescape – a social media aggregator
Sony Ericsson’s Timescape aggregates all the info from your friends and presents it to you in an attractive way with lots of flashy animations and nice transition effects.
And by info, I don’t just mean contact details such as phone number and email address. I mean phone calls, text messages, Twitter updates, Facebook statuses, new pics from Flickr or Picasa, tunes they’re listening to, videos they’ve uploaded – you name it, Timescape will show it!
Where it gets interesting, though, is what you can do with this info. Timescape presents the info as an animated timeline of tiles, with messages, photos, videos, status updates, tweets, even tunes played, all stacked together one on top of the other, with the most recent bit of info on top.
You can smoothly scroll down this stack, looking at each item as you go. You can filter the stack according to type of info – text messages, for example, or Facebook status updates, or just tweets, etc.
If that’s not enough, you can filter according to specific users, so you can see everything that they’ve shared recently. For example, you can see exactly what you girlfriend has been sharing with you, whether its texts, emails, tweets, photos, tunes – everything she’s choosen to share with you, or share with the world.
Timescape doesn’t just let you read other people’s updates – you can also write your own messages or status updates, or reply to other people’s, all from the same Timescape application. You can also interact with each bit of info in other ways. Press the tile and it’ll take you to that person’s profile, bringing in info from your contact book and Facebook, and seamlessly merging it all together.
It’s this integration between the phone and the social media world that makes Timescape and the X10 such a compelling phone. Sony Ericsson have really thought long and hard about how best to combine the two, and they’ve really succeeded.
The ability to filter your info according to both application (Tiwtter, Facebook, SMS, etc.) and person is brilliantly useful. Combine it with the animated polish Sony Ericsson have given Timescape, and the way in which a person’s info is compiled from across a whoel host of different sources, adn you’ve got a powerful social media app that’s up there with the best of them.
Timescape on its own might be reason enough for you to buy an Xperia X10! Indeed Sony Ericsson are so proud of Timescape, you can even choose to use it as a dedicated homescreen, replacing the existing Android homescreen that you can also use.
But we’ve not finished there – not by a long way!
Mediascape – integrating your phone’s media with the Web
In addition to Timescape, Sony Ericsson have also developed MediaScape, another neat app that pulls all of your media together in one place.
MediaScape is a music, photo and video gallery app that lets you select your media with some neat transitions and effects.
Where it gets a bit special, though, is the way it combines the media stores on your phone with media that’s stored on Web sites such as Flickr. If you give the X10 your Flickr, Picasa, or YouTube login details, for example, it’ll pull down all the images and videos you’ve uploaded, and let you see, at a glance, all the photos and videos you’re hosting on those sites in the same gallery where you phone’s photos and videos are stored.
In other words, yet more seamless integration between the X10 and the mobile Web.
Not one to miss a marketing trick, Sony Ericsson have also incorporated their online music store, PlayNow, into MediaScape. If you store your tunes on the X10, MediaScape will suggest similar tunes for you available to buy through Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow store.
The infinity button is also present within MediaScape. Select a tune, for example, press the infinity button and the X10 will go away and automatically search for everything related to that artist. Picture, tunes, videos – whatevr you want.
A nice touch.
To Infinity and Beyond!
Wherever you look in the X10’s user interface, you’ll find an infinity icon. This provides one-touch access to info related to the screen you’re looking at.
In the music screen on Mediascape, for example, pressing the infinity button when a track is playing will call up info on that artist, and let you see related tunes, pictures and videos, all with the swipe of a finger.
Just as usesful, when you’re in Timescape, you can press the Infinity button on an individual message and see all the info related to the person who sent the message. Again, it’s a huge amount of info that the X10 compiles – your entire phone log, text messages, photos, contact details – pretty much everything, and all aggregatd on the fly from across the Web and from your phone.
The X10 has done a superb job of integrating the Web and the mobile phone and making it easy for you to access it all as easily as possible.
Mobile Web browsing, Android and GPS on the Xperia X10
It should be noted that all of these features that I’ve covered so far are specific to Sony Ericsson – you won’t find them on any other Android phone.
But in addition to these features, you also get the same fabulous Android features that come built-in to Google’s marvellous mobile OS.
That means Google search, calendar, Maps and StreetView, full GMail integration, and more sensors than you can count! GPS is there, along with a digital compass, accelerometer, proximity sensor, plus WiFi, Bluetooth, microUSB and every other feature you’d expect a top-end smartphone to have.
You also get Android’s Web browser. Based on Web-kit, the browser is super-fast (particulalrly with a 1GHz processor powering it and 10.2 Mbps download speeds!), and the large 4″ screen makes sliding Web pages around and zooming inot and out of them a breeze.
There’s no multi-touch support, unfortunately, and it doesn’t support Flash, but you can still watch YouTube videos on an external application.
The current version of Android on the X10 is Android 1.6, but Android 2.1 and 2.2 will be available as a free download later in the year. That’s pretty exciting, as Android 2.1 is the same mobile OS used on the Nexus One., Google’s own Android phone.
Things you won’t like on the X10
The X10 has a few downsides, but they’re really quite minor. One is the flash. It’s only a LED flash, not a xenon one, so although it’s OK, you won’t get great pics in low light conditions. Audio quality is also not too great, although this won’t matter if you plug in headphones (and with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, you can choose whatever headphones you like).
Perhpas the most annoying aspect of the X10 is its lack of support for DivX and XVid video. This means you can’t watch video recorded in either of these formats, which is a little limiting given that many videos use it.
You can convert these format into other formats that the X10 does support, so it doen’s mean you can’t watch videos at all, but with such a great screen and great video playback quality, it does seem like a missed opportunity.
Video reviews of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
To get a feel for the Xperia X10 yourself, check out these video reviews.
Should you buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10?
So, the answer to the crucial question – should you buy the Xperia X10?
And I’ll say that again – yes! Sony Ericsson have done a superb job with their first Android phone, mixing top-end high quality features, a superb new user interface that blends the best of the mobile phone with the Web, and the superb Android mobile OS, all into one beautiful looking device.
And once Android 2.1 and 2.2 are available for free download in a few months’ time, you’ll get an even better phone. Just imagine the Nexus One, throw in Timescape and Mediascape, then add the 8 megapixel camera, widescreen video camera, super-fast 10.2Mbps downloads and beautiful 4″ screen, all being driven by a 1GHz processor, and you’ve got the Xperia X10.
If you’re looking for a superb, highly responsive smartphone with the best features on the market, and a great new user interface, then look no further than the X10. In terms of features, it has no competition.
And if you’re not looking for all that – why have you lowered your expectations when you can get it all with the X10?!
The X10, then, is a welcome return to form for Sony Ericsson, and is strongly recommended.