Sony Ericsson’s teeny tiny X10 Mini certainly lives up to its name in stature – it’s the smallest Android handset we’ve seen to date. With its larger namesake, the Sony Ericsson X10, to live up to, can such a small handset still pack a big punch?
What we like
Say what you like about it, but the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini certainly lives up to its name – this handset really is mini. You really have to see it in the flesh to appreciate just how ridiculously small it is - and yet the X10 Mini is completely usable. This boggles our minds so much that we nearly had to put this paragraph under what we don’t like.
Running Android 1.6, the X10 Mini has its own take on the OS; Sony Ericsson is obviously pretty pleased with its four-corner shortcut system. To be fair, it’s quite sweet. Each corner has its own shortcut, then shortcuts within the shortcut as you use the application. As well as this, you can assign a widget to each homescreen – just one per homescreen, there’s no room for more.
The screen, while dinky as can be, is impressively responsive. There’s no lag as you flit from screen to screen, and we like that we can swipe the main menu up no matter what homescreen we’re on (occasionally this proves a little too responsive, opening the menu when really all we want is to use the onscreen widget).
The camera is ok, bit flash-happy though; the flash often went off even when there was plenty of light leaving photos looking washed-out. Still, it’s easy enough to turn the flash off by just tapping the relevant corner, likewise switching between camera and video mode, and focus-effects. Nifty.
Although you may need a magnifying glass to see any real detail, the X10 Mini’s screen handles video playback pretty well, despite being really quite low-res at 320x240 pixels.
One of our favourite things about the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini was its brilliant battery life. We had it on the go for a good two days without needing to charge it, and longer on standby only; very impressive indeed.
The X10 Mini has access to the Android App Market so you can download apps to your handset; be warned though, running Android 1.6, there may be apps and features which require newer versions of the OS that you can't take advantage of.
It's a small thing, but we're also a fan of the interchangeable back covers; there's a veritable rainbow of options which come with the handset so you can swap between them at will.
What we don’t like
We’re always disappointed with Sony Ericsson’s poorer music player efforts; with Sony’s heritage in audio, we tend to have high expectations. There’s nothing really wrong with the media player on the X10 Mini, it’s just that there’s nothing really right about it either. It’s very basic. You can view tracks by artist or album, or by track name. Album art is included. It’s a shame you can’t swipe through tracks, as we instinctively went to do. In a nutshell, it’s bland.
And, although it’s a nice thought, the one-click tool to find information about the current artist from media player is a bit superfluous –usually by the time music has made it into our media player, we know all we need to.
We knew we’d have to pay for that tiny screen somewhere, and, predictably, text-input is where. There doesn’t seem to be a landscape Qwerty option, so you’re stuck with the 1-9 numberpad and predictive text. Because the screen is so titchy, the prediction tool tends to cover up what you’re actually typing, which became increasingly frustrating as we used the handset.
Web browsing is also a chore; you can’t see a thing unless you zoom right in – not always practical.
It almost goes without saying that those of the large-handed persuasion will struggle to use the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini; and those of the large-handbagged persuasion will spend half their lives rummaging around looking for it.
The Sony Ericsson X10 Mini offers a brand new take on Android and we applaud Sony Ericsson for that; it’s a cute system that’s really easy to use. If you’re a hardcore Android fan, this isn’t the handset for you (you’d be better off checking out the X10) – but if you’re after a pocket-friendly handset and a little taster of Android goodness, you could do a lot worse.