Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10

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Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 is the first company Android handset and is packed to the gills with high-end features: a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch display, 8-megapixel camera and all the connectivity you expect from a smartphone. Android throwing in some high-end hardware seems like a match in heaven, but the X10 pull it off? Read on after the jump for a thorough analysis of the device.

Hardware

X10 is a large, 4-inch screen, so it is a fairly large slate device. I’m loving the trend of the big screen, with decent-sized hands, and I can not wear skinny jeans too, so I was fine with the size of the device. If you are looking for Xperia experience a smaller form factor, the Mini X10 should be coming soon.

This great width-wise but it’s only 13-millimeter thick, so it feels thin in hand. With a curved back after it allows easily rest your palm and the weight (135 grams) felt right – it is heavy enough to give it some substance but it does not feel like a brick. There’s a silver trimming along the sides and back that quickly became a scratch magnet if you do not speak like me and accidentally put your keys in the pocket the same as phone. The back cover feels nice to touch but it is a complete pain to remove because you have to push a nail into a no grass underneath. I absolutely hate that you have to remove the battery to get to the microSD slot, too.

Sony Ericsson ditched the dedicated search key on the face and has only poor menus, house and return the keys on the face. I’m used to having the search button on my Droid, but I really miss it in X10. Along the sides, there is a camera button and volume rocker as they respond. The standard headphone jack and power button is right paced on top of the device and the microUSB slot is under a plastic flap. I understand the aesthetic reason for hiding behind a port on board but the X10’s looks fragile and I fear I’ll break it.

The star of the show’s big, bold screen. It is not quite as much as a monster as EVO 4G display, but it provides enough space. The colors are vivid and bright and quick to learn to love the extra real estate when you’re typing or surfing the web. We are rapidly approaching the “too big” category on the screen smartphone but the X10 is just right, in my book. The difference is the star and responsiveness is what you should expect from a high-end device like this.

Software

X10 is such a lovely lady has no personality and just a horrible person deep down. Sure, she’s nice to look at and show off to your friends but it was not worth the daily problems. The X10 software is visually appealing but it sacrifices performance and ultimately makes this device a pain in the you-know-what to use. It is not necessarily Nokia’s fault, as everyone who throws a comprehensive skin on top of Android running into trouble the first time around (with the possible exception of HTC’s sanity).

My first beef is that it is only running Android 1.6 and it is a non-starter for me because I need at least three accounts with Google mail to actually be productive on my phone. I might even be an outlier but many are still feeling the limitations of not having a more modern version of the platform. Still, it’s not exciting because you can easily surf the web, shoot an e-mail, update your various social-networking status, and, of course, make calls. It is simple to set up e-mail account and you will have access to the Android Market – although specific programs such as the official Twitter app is not available until the device receives an update. Sony Ericsson has pledged to upgrade the device but we’ll see devices running Android stocks (such as Droid) take a while to get the latest firmware, so I’m holding hope.

So, the OS has been re-skinned to be more visually appealing and it looked nice at first glance. The important piece of software and Mediascape and Timescape are an incredibly mixed bag. Timescape is kind of like going widget Motorola is because it aggregates your friends’ various updates and messages on a single interface. This is actually a pretty cool, stack 3D presentation filled with animations and visual elegance. Unfortunately, it is as slow as molasses in January. The animations are slow, it takes a while to load if you have not launched a while and it’s not just how I want to see something like Twitter. Mediascape’s a bit better and I’ll touch on that more on the multimedia section below.

they’ve also thrown in a customized keyboard that works well for the most part. It has intelligent auto-correction software and its learning curve is about on par with what we see from HTC. One problem is that there is no easy way to get rid of it – hitting the back button does not always work. That’s frustrating but not a deal breaker. There are also some preloaded software from MySpace and others but none of them is remarkable.

The UI layer is very nice but it was not enough to overcome the laziness it provides for a device. this thing is a freaking Snapdragon powering it, I want it to feel it. To be fair, the custom software will shine on camera and multimedia, and I’ll dive into that next section.

Web browsing, multimedia, camera and video

The browser is your standard chrome-like goodness you’d expect from Android and it performs well, for the most part. Something that can trip you up is that no multitouch for pinch-to-zoom and it does not look like it ever comes to the handset. The motion double tap is easy enough to zoom and the browser will usually format the page better for reading from a phone but part of me misses having the granularity of control you get when using multitouch to zoom.

The 8-megapixel camera is very good at capturing Shots on almost any light. It is not DSLR quality but you can do a lot worse for a camera. Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot used its experience to good use as there is a revamped camera interface outpaces what Google provides stock Android 1.6. There’s a boat-load of software to help make you a better shooter (smile detection, auto focus, etc.) and you can turn the LED flash on a constant light for framing your shots. Videos are pretty solid but, like many camcorders in the phone, it will have trouble handling fast-moving scenes.

Mediascape multimedia experience is better than your traditional Android music player, which is still pretty abysmal. Sony Ericsson’s multimedia player can handle most video and music you can throw at it and it was an enjoyable interface to browse through your media. PlayNow also have integration company, as well as Flickr and Facebook for photos. It does not seem to suffer from delays and Timescape, although I would have enjoyed a bit more bass to melody, it’s a mighty fine multimedia player.

For all the problems I had with the rest of the custom UI, I’m very happy with what Sony Ericsson has a camera and multimedia.

Call quality and battery life

The call quality is excellent X10 is AT & T in San Francisco. Voice is clearly heard and I was told that my voice is coming through loud and clear. speakerphone is also rock solid for the call but did not think it is your next boom box. Data recovery service from AT & T in San Francisco can be a mixed bag, but it’s not a big deal to X10. The main place I used it (my house, car, downtown) is good coverage occasional slippage in margins. I have no problem connecting to WiFi networks and Bluetooth headsets paired easily I threw at it.

I was able to get through a full day with the X10 and I was surprised because large screens use a lot of energy. I am fairly certain that an e-mail account that limits the Android 1.6 is a lot to do with that though, because I did not receive as much as I would normally notice. Also, good music playing software also eats through battery life like nobody’s business – but that’s kind of typical in most smartphones.

Conclusion
The Xperia X10 would be the belle of the ball when fully Android will be released late last year. I am still a big fan of hardware but the software is not up to par. I applaud Sony for trying to clean Android but it falls short. The device is only available once unlocked, which means it comes with a hefty price tag. Even if it launches subsidized by AT & T, as expected, it will still be hard to recommend it considering all the great Android devices such as EVO 4G, Droid fantastic and what can We see from Dell. Better luck next time, Sony Ericsson.

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