The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is a mid-range Google Android smartphone targeted at users who can't afford the premium Xperia X10 and find the Xperia X10 mini or mini Pro too small for their tastes. This is our original review of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8, by PC World India's Laldinfela Pachuau.
After a long wait and much anticipation, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 (aka Shakira) has been with us for a while. Does this mid-range Google Android phone from Sony Ericsson have enough features and performance to threaten rivals such as the LG Optimus GT540, Motorola Quench XT3 and HTC Wildfire? Let's find out.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 features and specs
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 has features that are on a par with the rest of the mid-range Google Android phones. It features a 600MHz processor, 168MB RAM, 128MB of internal storage with microSD card support. The phone runs on the old Android 1.6 (Donut), which is disappointing; we believe the Xperia X8 will get version 2.1 - but not Android 2.2 - before the end of the year.
Based on the processor speed alone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 falls in line with the LG GT540 Optimus, the Motorola Quench XT3 and the Motorola Flipout.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 smartphone sports a 3in capacitive touchscreen with 320x480 pixels, and supports up to 16M colours. The screen size is the same as the LG GT540 Optimus's screen but smaller than the ones on Galaxy 3 and HTC Wildfire; however, it also packs more pixel than these two phones.
The Xperia X8 has a fixed focus 3.15MP and there is no LED flash. There are four different scene modes: Auto, Beach/Snow, Twilight and Sports. It would be better for the X8 if its camera has at least auto-focus, like the Xperia X10 mini's focus. Like with many such phones, there is a Geotagging feature and video is captured in VGA (640x480 pixels) at 15fps.
For connectivity, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 offers 3G, Wi-Fi(b/g) and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support, which is good enough. But there is no front VGA camera for video calling. Built-in GPS with A-GPS support is also present and for navigation, WisePilot and Google Maps are preinstalled. A 3.5mm stereo headphones jack and microUSB port are also located at the top. For automatic screen orientation, there is also an accelerometer.
Sony Ericsson uses its proprietary user interface (UI), which has three customisable home screens - the first Home Screen has four-customisable corner shortcuts and it is the same interface as that of the Xperia X10 mini and the X10 mini pro. Timescape application that gathers communication records from phone calls, social networking sites and so on is also included.
Apart from these, the X8 is preloaded with applications such as Facebook, YouTube, TrackID, RoadSync and Data monitor. There are bunch of preloaded games such as Crazy Penguin, Tower Bloxx NY, Roller and CA Gold. Sony Ericsson Sync for backing up contacts and calendars is also loaded. And for more apps and games, you can always launch the Marketplace.
The Xperia X8 comes in a white body with interchangeable back covers like the Xperia X10 mini. The package includes five different colour back covers. It has a plastic-matt finish, which offers the phone a good grip and protects it from smudges or scratches. Removing the back cover takes a little getting used to. And the back cover when pressed creaks a little bit but the overall build quality is good enough to withstand a few drops.
There are three hardware buttons below the 3in screen on the front for menu, home and back functions. Buttons for camera and volume controls are stacked up on the right side, while the top has ports for microUSB cable (protected with a flap) and headphones.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 weighs just 104g and its dimensions of 99x54x15mm are compact enough to slip into a trouser pocket. For the build quality, the Xperia X8 offers a good build, which is in line with the LG GT540 Optimus.
Screen and text entry
The screen offers good brightness but under bright sunlight outdoors, visibility is poor. Its 3in size is slightly cramped compared to the screen on the Samsung Galaxy 3 and HTC Wildfire, and this becomes more apparent while typing in portrait mode. And the screen is not particularly responsive, especially when we began to start entering text via the on-screen keyboard. We hope the upcoming Android 2.1 update will fix this. As usual, the screen size is not ideal for watching full-length movie but would do just fine for short clips or some short YouTube videos. We also found browsing the web for long period a bit more eyestrain-inducing.
Typing on the Xperia X8 is far from great, because the screen failed to register our touch inputs. The laggy screen and the phone's slow response made the whole experience unpleasant. For example, the accelerometer is not that responsive: automatic screen orientation change and waking up the phone from sleep mode took at least 3 to 4 seconds.
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