“The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10's large touchscreen is its best feature, but beware the phone’s occasionally slow response and confusing multimedia Rolodex”
The X10 looks and feels top-notch
What first struck me about Sony Ericsson’s (SE) Xperia X10 was the size of its touchscreen display which - at 4in - is somewhat larger than most rival smartphone touchscreens
The X10’s big screen proved perfect for watching crystal-clear movies - stored to the bundled 8GB memory card – on because I could watch without squinting at the screen.
Despite being Sony Ericsson’s first ever smartphone designed to run Google’s Android operating system, the company still chose to overlay the X10 with its own internally designed user interface (UI).
This UI has two parts: Timescape – which pulls together all your Facebook, Twitter, emails and texts together into one Rolodex-style flip chart, and Mediascape – which congregates music, images and videos.
Timescape proved useful because it let me read emails and Facebook posts from within a single window.
However, collation of so many multiple social networking and email feeds sometimes left me confused about what I was reading. I also discovered that Timescape was slower to update itself than the phone’s dedicated email app, which became exasperating.
Mediascape lays multimedia content out in a tiled structure, with dedicated internal screens for music, pictures and videos. Content inside each screen is arranged according to popularity and viewing date, which proved handy for quick access.
The large touchscreen is perfect for films
The tool displays images and albums as thumbnails and album covers, respectively. My only Mediascape criticism is that I wish it organised You Tube videos, for which the X10 has a dedicated application.
Speaking of pictures and video, the X10 is a solid choice for cameraphone fans thanks to the rear-mounted 8.1Mp lens that snaps sharp and clear pictures.
If you’re really into your photography then it’s worth noting that the X10’s camera doesn’t produce first-rate images when shooting fast-moving objects or while bright light is shining directly into the lens.
Nonetheless, the X10’s facial recognition gizmo can also be used for tagging faces – like Facebook already does – and then locating more images containing the same person.
Surfing the internet is possible on the X10 thanks to on-board 3G and support for wi-fi connections. Both connection methods were quick at refreshing/loading webpages and at streaming live TV content to the phone over BBC iPlayer.
The X10’s web browser leaves much to be desired because, since the phone can’t cope with more than one finger simultaneously, I had to zoom in and out of pages using fiddly magnification buttons.
Pages didn’t auto-resize themselves to fit the phones’ screen dimensions, forcing me to scroll across and back when reading news articles, etc. Very annoying.
A dedicated satnav app – Wisepilot – comes pre-installed on the X10. Although trickier to use than Google Maps, Wisepilot displays much more detail and could help you ditch your in-car TomTom.
Multitasking – running multiple apps simultaneously – is supported by the X10. Since the feature’s well known for sapping battery life, I was pleased to discover an X10 app that told me which apps were running in the background and what percentage of the phone’s battery each were using up.
Apps can also be remotely shutdown from the same screen – a real timesaver.
I quickly became accustomed with flicking between Mediascape, Timescape and the X10’s other various Android apps, but the most frustrating thing about the phone was the occasional one or two second lag before each opened.
If you’re prepared to put up with the occasional lag - which you get used to, by the way - then it shouldn’t be something to put you off buying Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 smartphone.
Thanks to Virgin Media for lending us the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to review