We took the opportunity to get a clutch of hands-on photos, and even managed to get some time to compare both the Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro with their ancestors, last year’s X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro.
The phone footprint is similar; although the new Xperia Mini range packs a lot more into the tiny frame, including HD video-recording, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, making internet browsing, app loading, and swiping through the customisable home-screen much more responsive. Play Flash video on the tiny phone was also smooth.
The screens have also been boosted, with higher resolution and Sony’s Bravia technology making the screens of X10 range look lacklustre in comparison.
The compact screens have also been customised for one-handed navigation, with corner folders to arrange up to 16 shortcuts.
Both Xperia Mini models will come with Sony Ericsson’s new built-in Facebook features, allowing you to like and share immediately from your music library, photo gallery and more.
They’ll also be arriving in a range of colours. Aside from the black and white models we played with, the Xperia Mini will be available in blue and dark pink, while the Xperia Mini Pro will have turquoise and pink-coloured backings. Recombu got a photo of these exotic colour options, so click on for more hands-on comparisons and close-ups.
Xperia Mini vs Xperia X10 Mini
On the left is the new Xperia Mini, in white, and on the right is the Xperia X10 Mni.
The bigger touchscreen hasn’t visibly affected the size of the Xperia Mini, and if anything, looks and feels slightly less chubbier than the X10 Mini.
It now has a curved top and bottom edge. The space below the screen has also been completely redesigned.
The new Xperia Mini has done away with the three physical Android buttons; there’s now a single physical ‘home’ button, with back and menu keys flanking it.
Playing around with both the Xperia Mini and X10 Mini, we knew exactly how to navigate on the newer model, whilst the X10 Mini bounced us around menus and homescreens. It now makes much more sense.
Another addition is these corner folders. Know as the “four corner home screen” you’ll be able to group up to four different shortcuts or apps into each one.
Making the phone is easier to navigate in just one hand, it saves even more time accessing the apps you need, given the smaller homescreen space available for icons.
Press the corner, and it’ll expand out, giving you full-size icons to tap on. One complaint of small-factor smartphones was the precision needed to access on-screen icons. Sony Ericsson believe they may have solved that issue.
On the bottom of the Xperia Mini, there’s a 3mm headphone socket, and microUSB port. The phone will also have noise shield technology to filter out background noise when making calls.
It’s not aiming to be the thinnest phone in the world, but the Xperia Mini fits well in the hand, like its predecessor.
The camera has been significantly improved, and is now five-megapixel with autofocus, and the ability to record HD video at 720p. The LED flash is to the right of the lens.
Xperia Mini Pro vs Xperia X10 Mini Pro
On to the Pros. On the right is the new Xperia Mini Pro, and on the left, last year’s Xperia X10 Mini Pro.
Again, there’s not much size difference between the two- the Xperia Mini Pro now has a slightly bigger three-inch screen.
Xperia Mini Pro vs Xperia X10 Mini Pro: Keyboard
Sliding out the keyboards and the differences are much visible.
Sony Ericsson has nixed the silver keyboard found on the X10 Mini Pro, and have gone for an understated black rubberised version, which, after blasting out a few lines, we found worked much better.
A few shortcuts have been rearranged, so you may need a bit of practice if you decide to upgrade from the X10 Mini Pro. (The phone pictured on the right has a European keyboard, thus the accented letters.)
Like the Xperia Mini, the Mini Pro is also HD video capable. The Pro also has an extra front-facing camera. It’s VGA-quality, which means the Pro is also capable of video-calls. And vanity self-portaits.
The phone will be available in colours other than the monochrome palette; the Xperia Mini will also have backing colours in dark pink and blue.
The Xperia Mini Pro will have turquoise and pink options, and we’re told these will be available in bundles alongside the phones.
We’ve been told that both phones will arrive this August, and with a price similar to the original X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro on launch day.
Decided on a colour yet?