Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Review

Sony Ericsson’s Windows Mobile smart phone is squarely aimed at the business user who might otherwise choose a BlackBerry. The Xperia X1 rolls with a full Qwerty keypad, 3G and Wi-Fi, making it an ideal candidate for checking emails on the go. In true Apprentice style, we took the X1 into the boardroom to see if it’s a phone we would hire or fire.

What we like
The Xperia X1 feels well built and solid enough to take a few drops. It makes a satisfying click sound when you slide the keyboard out from underneath the 3-inch touchscreen. The metallic look and feel of the keypad radiates luxury and while it might not be the first thing you would normally look for in a ‘business phone’, the Xperia X1 feels nice.

A unique panel-based interface adds a nice visual touch to the X1, featuring shortcuts to applications via grid or concertina ‘deck of cards’ that can be activated with a single press of the dedicated ‘X Panel’ key located at the bottom left of the phone. Using the panels means not having to search for tiny icons in the infamously fiddly Windows Mobile menu system.

What we don’t like
Setting up the Xperia X1 takes a while, which feels decidedly un-cutting edge and is an utterly joyless experience. The positioning of the camera on the back of the phone is unbelievably stupid because when you’re holding the phone in landscape mode to tap out an email, your left middle finger covers the camera lens cover.

The X1’s Qwerty keys are too small and virtually flush with the pad, meaning that typing out lengthy messages is something of a chore; not something you want if you’re going to be sending and receiving several emails a day. The X1’s touchscreen isn’t as responsive as we’d like either and Windows Mobile requires a stylus to navigate properly, which we’re not fans of.

While this phone is certainly well built and feels reassuringly solid in your hands, the typing experience – the cornerstone of any business phone worth its salt – is underwhelming.  There’s not much about the Xperia X1 that makes it worth recommending beyond its looks.

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