We’ve heard rumblings of an X10 Mini Pro successor- what a mouthful- since early 2011.
Now Sony Ericsson have unveiled their latest slide-out keyboard smartphone. And it’s small. The Android Gingerbread-powered Xperia Mini Pro manages to cram a full Qwerty keyboard into the tiny sub-10cm long smartphone.
The Xperia Mini Pro is the spiritual successor to Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 Pro, and it looks very, very similar, though it’s had plenty of retweaks since we saw it last.
The front design has had some common sense retweaks, with buttons now unified to a more common ‘back’, ‘home’, ‘menu’ setup. We were surprised how much more sense the new lay-out made when comparing both the Xperia X10 Pro and Xperia Mini Pro. We came unstuck trying to navigate through Android on last year’s X10 Mini Pro.
The capacitive touchscreen is a three-inch running at 320×480- a step up from the X10 Pro’s 240 x 320 2.55-inch display. Sony Ericsson have also brought in their Mobile Bravia technology, and it makes a noticeable difference to the colours and vividness of the screen.
Like the new Xperia Mini, there is now a 1GHz processor, and that will be powering the latest version of Android, currently Gingerbread. We’ve been told it’ll also be ready for any additional updates when released.
The Xperia Mini Pro now comes with a camera capable of high-definition video-recording, and there’s also an additional front-facing VGA camera for video-chat.
Xperia Mini Pro: Keyboard clout
The slide-out keyboard has also been redesigned. Sony Ericsson’s Greg Varner told Recombu that a lot of research went into the accessing the keyboard, and several changes were made in its evolution from the keyboard found on the older Xperia X10 Mini Pro.
First thing we noticed is those rubberised keys, which gripped onto our fingertips much better than the shiny surfaced buttons found on the X10 Mini Pro. Button placement was also heavily tested alongside rival phones, and this resulted with some function keys moved around, and some other minor changes, that we’re told made the Xperia Mini Pro “best in class.”
When we tested it, we found it satisfyingly responsive to our touch, and the Android Gingerbread ability to easily edit your type with the touchscreen is a good match to the slide-out keyboard.
A feature also found on the Xperia Mini, there are now four mini-folders in the corners of the screen, where you can organise up to 16 different apps and shortcuts. Fear not, customisable wallpapers are still there, and we think it gives a nice balance between more visual widgets and simple shortcuts.
Expect to get your hands on the Xperia Mini sometime in August 2011, where you’ll be able to choose between white, black, pink and turquoise. We predict some of these colours could be network exclusives – more when we hear it.
Check out our hands-on gallery for pictures of the Xperia Mini, Xperia Mini Pro, and comparisons with the Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro.