Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Boldly leaving behind its Symbian smartphone roots, Sony Ericsson has decided to compete in Google's Android OS market by offering a notable mix of features on their landmark first Android smartphone, the Xperia X10.
Sony Ericsson is one of the first handset makers that really embraced the concept of the smartphone, as we know it today. Throughout the past decade, they have taken bold and even risky steps to create a do-everything device that’s part handheld computer and part celfone.
Despite being heavily invested in Symbian OS, they realized that that platform had a lot of catching up to do and switched gears and dove headlong into Google’s Android OS.
Available from Rogers for $99 on a three-year term or for $549 for a no-term price, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is their first solid attempt at fusing their legendary smartphone pedigree with a burgeoning mobile OS that’s pretty much taken the world by storm.
The Xperia X10 has been available since April under Rogers. It is one of the only 4-inch touch screen smartphones in the market.
After having used the device for a few days we really liked the 4-inch screen that proved to be great for surfing the web, scrolling though Twitter and Facebook streams as well as watching video. We like the fact that the all-plastic Xperia X10 is actually light despite its larger size.
The screen is bright and clear enough and once you get used to its size, it becomes difficult to revert to a smaller screen specially if it is another Android OS device.
While it currently runs version 1.6 of the Android OS it is expected to be upgraded to a more recent version (2.1) in a few months. This really needs to happen, specially since the hardware on the Xperia X10 (a thundering 1GHz Snapdragon processor) can reap all the benefits this upgrade has to offer and will put the Xperia X10 on equal footing with today's stalwart Android devices like the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant as flagship Android devices available in Canada.
Despite the almost ancient OS, the device’s specs are formidable, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor keeps things humming along nicely and an 8 Megapixel camera is desirable although the included LED light is not, in essence, a flash but a light that can be turned on or off as needed (doubles nicely as a flashlight).
Sony Ericsson seems to have focused its design on being fashionable yet practical. The Xperia X10's shape, look and feel is curvy and smooth and everything it seems revolves around that screen. We found navigation and the opening of applications reasonably fast and efficient.
Sony's Timescape and Mediascape software (which runs on top of the Android OS a la HTC's Sense, Motorola's MotoBLUR and Samsung's TouchWIZ) manage the social media streams as well as the audio and video components of the device.
The Xperia X10 manages audio and video like a champ, it is much better than say the standard Android device's media player and this is simply because Sony has vast experience in this area having developed its own personal media players.
Timescape inkoves your contacts and addresses in a neatly stacked tiles that can be easily maneuvered with one finger or a thumb. Everything is a screen press away from being accessed. Its well balanced and not as busy as other social media implementations on other Android devices.
All-in-all the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 brings the goods in terms of hardware and software plus the promise of even more capabilities when the OS is updated to Android 2.1.
We like the jumbo form-factor, the three day battery life as well as the large screen and the 8.1 Megapixel camera push the boundaries of what a premium smartphone should be.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5