If you are heavy on texting and looking for a stylish compact Google Android phone that does not skimp on features, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is for you. It has snappy performance on all counts. Its Android OS will let you get more apps than you'll ever need from the Marketplace but it's 2.55-inch screen size is not the most optimised for mobile browsing and watching videos.
The Xperia series of Android phones from Sony Ericsson are favourites of many mobile phone users and Sony continues to add newer models in the line-up. After the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini impressed us with its ultra-compact design, Sony Ericsson loaded the full QWERTY keyboard into the body and then the Xperia X10 mini pro was born. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is just the slightly bigger X10 mini with a slide-out QWERTY keypad.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro comes in the same ultra compact design as the X10 mini, and due to the slide-out QWERTY, the phone's body is thicker by a few millimeters. Comparing side by side with the X10 mini, the X10 mini pro (with its QWERTY slid-in) is a few millimeters taller, thicker and broader. It also feels heftier at 120g against the lightweight X10 mini which weighs just 88g. Even with its increased dimensions, the Xperia X10 mini pro still feels like a compact and petite phone.
The body follows the same contoured design and the front design looks no different from the Mini with the same glossy black finish that has three chromed physical keys below the touchscreen. The front part of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro's body has a glossy finish while the QWERTY keyboard which takes up half of the body has a rubber matte finish.
The build quality is good even though the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro's body still creaks a bit when pressed. Unlike the X10 mini, the X10 mini pro does not come with those exciting exchangeable colour panels, so it is just the full black body that is currently available. We expect Sony to offer more colours to make the look more exciting and attract more customers.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro's sides have a thin metallic stripe sandwiched by the front body and the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The X10 mini pro still offers dedicated shortcut key for camera and volume rocker, and instead of having the microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphones jack at the bottom, this time the microUSB is located on the left while the headphones jack is located on the top.
Unlike the X10 mini which has irremovable battery, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro comes with a removable 930mAh battery.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro: Features
Apart from the already-mentioned full QWERTY keyboard, there is nothing that is new with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro. So, if you are fine with typing long messages on the onscreen keyboard, we suggest you opt for the more compact X10 mini. The X10 mini pro sports the same 2.55-inch QVGA (320x240 pixels) capacitive touchscreen that supports up to 16 million colours. Under its hood, it is also the same 600MHz processor from Qualcomm that powers the device and its internal memory remains at 128MB which can be extended via microSD card.
Its camera is also the same 5Mp camera with auto focus and an LED flash. In case you missed the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini review, the camera records VGA (640x480 pixels) video at 30fps, don’t expect HD video here. It supports geo-tagging and comes with basic shooting modes like Auto, Macro, Sports and Twilight.
For connectivity, you get all you need as well. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro supports WiFi, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP connectivity. It also has GPS receiver onboard and it has A-GPS support. For the maps, you can either use Google Maps or the preloaded WisePilot.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro which arrived a little later than the X10 mini still comes with Android 1.6 and it uses the same Sony Ericsson’s proprietary interface with Timescape.
The interface design is optimised for small screen and we like the four customisable shortcuts on each corner of the screen and the useful notification bar at the top which can be swiped down for more information. The interface lets us put one widget on each home screen which can be extended up to 20 screens. The modified Android application page also is one nice touch that worked well.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro as in the X10 mini does not support multitouch while browsing on the default browser and navigating using the Google maps. Apps like Roadsync, Facebook, Youtube and Sony Ericsson Sync are included. It also has games like Peggle and Roller Coaster.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro: Usability and Texting with the QWERTY keyboard
Tested in the PCWorld.in Labs
The rubbery finish at the back provides good grip while holding and sliding out the keyboard happened smoothly.
The front glossy finish still attracts fingerprints as it did for the for X10 mini but the screen brightness is good, so is the response to our touch inputs. As mentioned on the X10 mini review, its size is good enough for reading messages, viewing messages and contacts, but won’t fit for watching full length movie or even a short TV serial. Screen visibility outdoors is average, though.
The slide-out QWERTY is the main reason to go for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro. We already mentioned earlier in our X10 mini review how easy it was to use the on-screen keypad for short messaging and casual text input, but once you try to type long messages or text, the small screen did not do justice. Now, all have changed with the X10 mini pro.
The full QWERTY keyboard with its slightly raised keys with enough spaces in between them offered a good messaging experience. The keys were backlit aided by the ambient sensor and this feature turns on automatically in low light and it worked admirably. They offered well tactile as well. The long space-bar key has two arrows keys on both sides which help in editing typos or text and the keys layout and their functions enabled smooth typing and churning out long text messages is no longer a challenge. The sliding mechanism worked well and feels sturdy.
One new feature on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is the landscape interface which the phone is into whenever the keyboard is slide out. There is nothing much the keyboard can do to control what’s on the screen other than texting/editing and using the confirmation key. To go back and navigate we still have to rely on the back physical key resided on the front of the screen and the touch screen. It would be more convenient if the phone also has a back and directional keys on the keypad.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro: Call Handling, Synching, Online and GPS
Call handling is as good as it was with the X10 mini. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro also does not offer smart dial, but picking contacts using the kinetic scroll was smooth and painless. The phone's call reception and voice clarity was good.
There are many ways to sync data (contacts, calendar entries etc) over-the-air on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro.
First, the Google sync happened without a glitch, and the same case happened when we tried out with Roadsync and the rather basic Sony Ericsson Sync. The stock Android browser rendered pages well despite the Flash and multitouch support absence.
However, being an Android phone, there is always an alternative and you can just download a browser with more features from the Marketplace. The screen size is not the most optimized for browsing, so for browsing, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro is not the best Android phone you can get for sure. The Timescape interface displays updates from your social networking sites (provided you opt for it), however, we suggest you go for dedicated apps for these which are easily available in the market.
Google Maps and Wisepilot software handled the GPS function very well. However, once again the small screen size makes it unsuitable to use it as a full-fledges navigation device other than using while walking.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro: Multimedia
The X10 mini pro offers very good sound quality for an Android phone via its bundled in-ear headphones. As in the X10 mini, music sounded with warm bass, adequate highs and rich mids. Its FM radio with auto scan feature worked well. The screen offered smooth video playback and good color saturation but its size won’t give you a good experience.
The camera also captured good quality images for a camera phone. Focusing happened quickly even in low light and flash lighted up our indoor portrait shots pretty well. Sharpness was good for a camera phone and the vibrant colors it reproduced were satisfactory.
The phone is easier to hold still than the X10 mini which is a bonus, however, as usual, while viewing images on the computer screen, sharpness could have been better and low light performance as in any cell phone camera came out average. VGA video recorded as in the X10 mini were good enough for posting online and have good. The audio recorded was also in mono and low light video was average. The battery lasted for a day and a half under normal usage which is average.
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