Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini review

Slightly larger but still tiny, is 2011's Android update a big winner?

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Sony ericsson xperia mini review

Sony Ericsson has built on 2010's excellent little smartphone, further enhancing the user interface with changes that make it look and function even better.

The updated hardware is also surprisingly powerful, while having a larger 3" screen makes it all much easier to use than the tiny X10 Mini. The software takes Android's many great features and provides some clever tools and extremely tight Facebook integration throughout.

We liked

Web use is good considering the limitations of the screen size. The 1GHz processor, proper multitouch zooming and simple text reflowing really make the best of the 3" display, plus text is sharp and perfectly readable, plus Flash support is a bonus.

Sony Ericsson's user interface has come on in leaps and bounds. A new update which arrived in the middle of the review process added in visual Themes and a cool shut-off animation too, so there's no moaning about everything being bland old Sony Ericsson blue any more.

The corner-based icon grouping system is a great way of managing similar collections of apps. It means you can squeeze and astonishing 16 app shortcuts around the edges of the display.

Facebook integration is excellent. There's a "like" icon in the music player, plus all of your Facebook photos sync and appear in the phone's gallery along with their comments. It's actually a better "Facebook phone" than the so-called "Facebook phones" like the HTC Salsa and INQ Cloud Touch in our eyes.

We disliked

The camera output is a little crazy. Trees don't just come out green, they come out luminous, fluorescent, bright, electric green, with reds and other strong colours often equally over-emphasised. It can make you photos look like they've gone through some sort of psychedelic hipster filter.

Video codec support is a weak area, with the phone not managing to play any of the popular download formats apart from things downloaded or converted into its preferred MP4 format, plus it didn't like our usual WMVs it's supposed to play. Having to convert files for mobile playback is a right pain.

The price is still a bit too high. You can get perfectly capable Android phones for around the £100 mark, with some great devices available for £150. So £210 is perhaps pushing it a little, although people will be paying for unique size of the chassis.

Verdict

We're pleasantly surprised at how usable and responsive the Xperia Mini is. The 1GHz processor means web pages are drawn and scrolled pretty quickly, while gaming and app performance is also good.

The user interface customisations are really nice as well, with Sony Ericsson's sweeping visual changes bringing the best out of Android - and adding in plenty of new usability and social options.

In terms of value for money, it's a decent option. The 3" screen is a little limiting if you're into mobile media and gaming, but the phone itself is a glitch-free, user-friendly little marvel you won't end up hating.

There are more capable Android phones available for less money, but none that are as pocketable and enjoyable to use as the Xperia Mini.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory320 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXPERIA
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time4.50 Hour
Product Modelmini
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Screen Resolution480 x 320
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)99 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height88 mm
Width52 mm
Depth16 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time340 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA mini Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Product LineXPERIA
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1248-8667
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Whale about to flick its tail? Watching a great game? Catch it all with Xperia mini - the world's smallest Android powered smartphone with HD video recording.

HD video smartphone with 5 megapixel camera

Enjoy all your entertainment in crisp colours and high contrast on the 3" Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Your HD video recording smartphone comes with a photo flash and auto focus too - your pics stay sharp and bright, even when you snap them in the dark.