Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

I just sent my Palm Treo Pro back after the third one from Vodafone did not glow when there was voice message.

It took a couple of weeks to get the new Sony Ericsson Xepria X1. One can very easily think that this is an HTC Touch Pro clone. It is not. Most of these phones vary according to the way the external shells are made. Some have more buttons, some have almost none. HTC is much smaller and has very little buttons. Sony have put a lovely touch sensitive kit in there that allows great versatility and customization in your screen experience. It looks as if we will have loads of different apps, not too different from the loads of apps on let's say the igoogle framework when you want to start in your browser. WM 6.1 only allows you to program two buttons but with the panes in X1 you can do a lot more, and more over you can do things inside the panes.

The phone is narrow and not too thick. I like it a bit thick, such that you can put it between your ear and shoulder. But joking aside the keyboard is wonderfull with ample space. But the funniest tool of all is this rectangular optical scratch pad. It is really easy to get addicted to. To browse or scroll a page you literally move your finder 5mm. Now imagine that you are tying away with the keyboard open, and you want to move the cursor over to the left just to correct a typo. Well in Xperia's keyboard they there isn't a cursor moving button to the left or right. So you are left with the fiddly pad, which can move the cursor over to the left and right if you press the edges of the pads. Of course if you got nails or have the stylus out it is really easy. I think that the pad on the Xperia is easier than the pearl ball in the Blackberry. Further more you aren't likely to get stuff stuck in the pad as you do with the pearl ball.

There are all the usual Sony media toys and sat nav and radio etc etc, but they have not put two decent mini speakers. Instead you have the speakers on the lower left hand side on the back so that if you are holding the phone with your left hand, then the sound will get muffled. It is great if you want to turn the sound off quickly, but annoying in other respects. Again not much thought went in that direction. Come on Sony, sort it out. That is just pathetic for such an expensive phone. Stick two decent speakers or four and allow people to choose which ones. But I must say the phone, like some of these souped up cars with lights under the chassis, lights up for all kinds of things; be it charging to when you get messages. Now that was good thinking and it is fun. And of course the fact that the keyboard slides up is neat, as you can have it act like an alarm clock radio, which are a rare entity these days. You can have a nice analogue clock with a diary and all your short cut buttons to websites on these ready for you to press.

Finally the browsing experience. And that is what I tend to specialize in. As you know I have chucked phones because they are useless browsers. Remember how the 3D Touch Flo on the HTC edit bookmark just got blocked by the virtual keyboard. Well we don't have that here. The Opera browser that is available has not 3D-touch flo, but the rest is there. With the Opera you can thumb around on the screen and move it around, whilst with the IE would have to tab or move your fingers around the pad or push down the sides on the pad. I like a very powerful browser called Skyfire, but it does not run on high resolution screens such as the HTC Touch Pro or the Sony Ericsoon Xperia X1. I went over to the Skyfire forum and sure enough there were a couple of people already complaing about the fact that it would not install. Once they do bring the next version such that it would install on Xperia, then whole package would be the best.

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