The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, fine phone though it is, didn’t exactly carve itself a niche in the market, as its 4″ screen, Android OS and Snapdragon processor could already be found on several other devices. However, when its siblings appeared a short while later, they were right there at the start of a revitalised phone genre.
The Xperia X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro are those devices and they fit into the tiny phone category that Sony Ericsson have always done so well. We’ve looked at the X10 Mini before, so now it’s time to take a tour of the X10 Mini Pro, a small smartphone with a talent for messaging.
When you first hold the X10 Mini Pro in your hand, you’ll marvel at just how compact it is, especially if you’ve come from another smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard like the Nokia N97 or the HTC Touch Pro2. It’s hard to believe that such a small device could hold a QWERTY keyboard, much less a usable one, but it does and with just a tiny size difference over the X10 Mini. The Mini’s dimensions are 83 x 50 x 16 while the X10 Mini Pro measures 90 x 52 x 17 – noticeable, but only just! It’s in the weight that you’ll know something is different, as the Mini Pro comes in at 120 grams.
Otherwise the design is very similar, with a 2.55″ TFT capacitive touchscreen mounted on the front panel above three physical keys for Home, Menu and Return. Whereas the X10 Mini came with a selection of interchangeable rear covers to give your phone a splash of colour, the X10 Mini Pro must be satisfied with the stock black one.
On the sides of the device you’ll find the volume rocker switch and shutter release, while on the other there is a microUSB socket. On the top the on/off key is flanked by a 3.5mm headphone port.
Delving deeper into the X10 Mini Pro reveals the same hardware as the X10 Mini. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm 600MHz processor which although sounds a little under-powered in these heady days of 1GHz speedsters, it’s actually perfect for the job in hand.
Take the video performance for example. Although video files are watchable – but there are only a few supported codecs, so don’t expect any DivX love here – you must ask yourself just how many videos you’ll want to watch on a 2.55″ screen. We don’t think it’ll be many, and it’s likely to be the same situation when asked about graphics-heavy games too.
Also, the X10 Mini Pro uses Google Android 1.6 as its operating system and displays it on a QVGA, that’s 320 x 240 pixels, screen which is the lowest resolution that Android will work on, so the processor is hardly being put through its paces when faced with ordinary tasks such as telephony, messaging, social networking and web browsing. For these reasons, the X10 Mini Pro feels perfectly powered to do the jobs it was designed for.
What else can it do?
Camera. The X10 Mini Pro shares the same 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash as the X10 Mini. Results are good too, plus there is the option to select geo-tagging and to shoot VGA video at 30fps too.
Connectivity. The X10 Mini Pro is a 3G phone with both HSDPA and HSUPA support, plus you get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP.
Android and Timescape. Sony Ericsson have tweaked the Android operating system for increased usability on the X10 Mini Pro’s screen. You’ll see a shortcut in each corner and homescreens are limited to one widget for example. Then there is Timescape. This is a social networking aggregation widget that looks and functions a little like Coverflow on an iPod, and is a great way to keep up to date with your friends! Android 1.6 may be a little old, but it works really well on the X10 Mini Pro, plus there is access to the Android Market with it extensive library of apps too.
GPS. Assisted GPS is complimented by Google Maps and a digital compass.
Memory. A microSD card slot will accept cards up to 16GB in size.
Multimedia. In addition to the aforementioned video capabilities, there is a music player and an FM radio too.
If you plan on keeping your X10 Mini Pro for many years, be kind to the battery, as the super-small chassis design means it’s non-user replaceable. An equaliser on the music player would have been nice too.
If the thought of typing out your messages on the X10 Mini’s touchscreen alphanumeric keypad fills you with dread, you need the X10 Mini Pro. The keyboard is very well designed, has a precise feel and keys that fall naturally under your thumbs. With the keyboard snapped back into place, the X10 Mini Pro reverts to almost exactly the same tiny dimensions of its brother too! Just like the X10 Mini, the Pro fills a niche that few others do, and does it really, really well!