By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Sony’s catalogue is replete with miniaturized versions of successful products. Look at their VAIO P subnotebook, their Reader Pocket Edition and now the Sony Ericsson Xperia 10-Mini, which is the smallest touch-enabled Android smartphone in the market today.
The Xperia X10 Mini ($ 30 on a three-year plan and $375.00 no contract) copies a lot of the design cues from the much larger Xperia X10 and has a similar, albeit diminutive look and feel to the larger smartphone. In terms of specs, the Xperia X10-mini boasts a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, GPS, Wi-Fi, a 240x320 pixel TFT capacitive screen plus a 5 Megapixel camera.
Out of the box, it becomes apparent how unbelievably small this phone is. Despite its small size, build quality is reasonably solid for an all-plastic device. Understated yet easy to carry (and easy to lose), the Xperia X10 Mini sets the standard for how much functionality you can cram in a touch-screen Android phone.
Even if it is limited by the Android 1.6 OS as well as the non-QWERTY multi-tap software keyboard, Sony Ericsson has managed to make this tiny device useful even for more advanced smartphone users.
Our biggest worry about the Xperia X10 Mini was that its reduced size may impact the Android OS experience but that does not seem to be the case with most apps. The one thing anyone thinking of buying this diminutive smartphone should understand is that it does not, by default, have a QWERTY keyboard.
What it does offer is a modified multi-tap keyboard similar to most feature phones. Fitting a QWERTY type touch keyboard in on section of this diminutive screen may be possible but actually being able to type on It would be another thing entirely,
This is the problem. For anything close to a smartphone, which will access the web, be used to enter information and possibly create content such as social media updates and posts, you will need more than just a multi-tap style keyboard. Sure, you can try and might get used to entering information with one thumb but nothing comes close to the speed and efficiency you can muster with two thumbs or a few fingers on a QWERTY keyboard.
Android powered it may be, but to call the Xperia X10 mini a smartphone is a bit of a stretch. It has more similarities to a fashion phone or a tricked-out feature phone and will satisfy users of these devices more than traditional smartphone users.
Function and call quality are very similar to the larger Xperia X10, we were able to make calls without any problem and call quality was crisp and clear. The 5 Megapixel camera is easy to use and can capture so-so photos under well-lit conditions, like many phone cameras it will struggle with low-light situations so do use the included LED flash.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini could be the perfect travel phone for jet-setting users who want a local line in each country they visit. While it would need to be unlocked to take non-Rogers SIM cards, we feel it fulfills the role of a secondary phone quite nicely.
Sony Ericsson has shown us what it can do with an entirely new form factor while maintaining a respectable set of features derived from its more complete smartphone line. The Xperia X10 is a landmark product, a showcase of miniaturization, industrial design and telecom wizardry that will long leave its imprint as one of the most unique modern feature phones brought to market.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5