The spiritual successor to Sony Ericsson’s pint-sized X10 Mini is the Xperia X8, an Android-powered touchscreen phone of similar dimensions. But do good things really come in small packages? Read on to find out.
What we like
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is about the same size as the X10 Mini, if a little bit bigger round the edges. It’s light, pocket friendly and despite it’s dimensions it’s not so small that the screen size (3-inches) suffers.
Again like the X10 Mini, you can customise the layout of the X8 by adding four shortcuts to the corners of the screen, giving you quick access to the phone book, messages, camera, Facebook, or whatever you want. As well as this, you can assign a single widget (such as Google Search) to each homescreen, of which there are three. You can add more if you wish (we had 12 running on ours) but obviously the more things you have running the slower things become.
Though you get access to the Android Market and the many many apps it holds, on the X8 there’s a handful of apps and games that come pre-installed which are actually pretty useful.
Backup and Restore allows you to easily save your numbers to the phone’s SD card, or import numbers from an old memory card. This is really useful if you’re upgrading from an older phone which doesn’t have any kind of contact saving app, as it saves you from having to manually enter all of those numbers yourself.
The Creatouch art app allows you to make fun psychedelic wallpapers which you can easily be set as the X8’s wallpaper (see above). There’s also Sony Ericsson’s Track ID app, which like Shazam, allows you to identify songs by holding the X8 up to a speaker.
Moving music to the Xperia X8 is straightforwards enough; plug the phone into your computer and select mass storage mode, or simply load some tunes onto a microSD card and put it in that way.
The supplied headphones are pretty good, which is surprising considering the X8 isn’t being sold as a music phone and that the headphones which come bundled with most mobiles generally aren’t that great. These however are comfortable, aren’t terribly leaky and music played through them sounds pretty good. The remote control on the wire features a pause button as well. Should you already have a pair of headphones that you’re attached to, you can use your own thanks to the 3.5mm jack.
What we don’t like
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 isn’t a particularly sturdy feeling phone. It’s rather light in the palm and the battery cover feels as though it could scratch easily.
On occasion we had to tap the touchscreen a few of times to get it to confirm certain actions; sadly it’s of the resistive variety. It’s nowhere near as easy to use as the X10 Mini which has a capacitive touchscreen.
As a result of web browsing, though nippy thanks to the 3G and Wi-Fi, can feel a bit awkward. Having to use on-screen zoom controls which don’t always respond as you’d want them to and repeatedly clicking on links can be annoying. The same applies when scrolling through Facebook news feeds too.
The simple 3.2-megapixel camera isn’t terrible, but the stiff shutter button on the side combined with the unresponsive on-screen control means that you end up taking some blurry shots. There’s no flash either, meaning no night shots or picture taking in dimly lit places.
You don’t much in the way of camera settings, only some very basic lighting options. Of course you could always download Android apps like fxcamera and RetroCamera but it’s nice to have some fun effects built in too.
Again, like the X10 Mini the Xperia X8 runs on Android 1.6. While this is fine for a mid-range budget phone the fact that Android 2.3 is supposed to be with us in a matter of weeks makes the X8 feel a little old hat.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is bite-sized Android phone that, like the X10 Mini is a cute little pocket-friendly phone. Ideal if you’ve not used an Android phone before as it comes with some helpful apps pre-installed and it features a pretty straightforward layout. The resistive touchscreen can make things difficult however and if you’re after a more powerful Android phone that offers a greater degree of customisation we suggest that you check out the normal-sized Xperia X10.