UPDATE: We've now got our hands on a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 complete with the Android 2.1 update - lets see if it's any better or whether it's pushed SE further behind the Android pack.

After a disappointing 2009 for Sony Ericsson, with the likes of the Satio failing to live up to its flagship billing, the Swedish-Japanese alliance is back with its first Android proposition - the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.

It's got all the makings of a true classic - a whopping 4-inch screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and it's rocking Android with a cool overlay.

In short, since we first heard about it at the tail end of 2009, we've been excited to see if it can be the handset to return Sony Ericsson to the sharp end of the mobile phone game.

It's odd, but given the massive screen on the phone, the first thing you notice when looking at the Xperia X10 is not the screen - on our black review model the main thing is simply how shiny it is.

It's an understated phone, with a sharp, angular design and minimal buttons - in short, it looks like the kind of high-end handset we'd expect from one of the leading mobile manufacturers.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

The screen dominates most of the front of the Xperia X10, and there are three buttons at the bottom, denoted as menu, home and back. (Albeit with some indecipherable symbols - what's wrong with actually writing 'Menu' and 'Home' on there?)

Between each of the front buttons there's a little LED, which glows brightly whenever the phone is used - a nice touch that adds a premium feel, although they can get a little annoying, especially in the dark - and it seems there's no way to turn them off.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

The rest of the phone is pretty sparse - compared to the likes of the Sony Ericsson Satio and Vivaz, it's a little odd to only see a single camera shutter button on the right-hand side of the phone, with the volume up/down key above it at the other end.

On the top of the phone, there's the 3.5mm headphone jack, flush to the chassis, and the on/off button, which doubles as the lock key too.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

It's a little far away from where you usually rest your hand, so you'll generally find yourself using your other hand to activate it - which is a little irritating.

The microUSB slot is located at the top as well under a dust cap - this is a little awkward to get off at times, and has a frustratingly short leash to keep it in place - meaning you have to really wedge it out of the way to connect up the charger.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

There's nothing at all on the left-hand side of the Xperia X10, nor on the bottom, save a little grille to attach a lanyard if you're one of those that sees a big mobile as an ideal replacement for a necklace.

The back of the phone is slightly curved - we assume this is another corollary of the ergonomics study conducted by Sony Ericsson which led to the 'human curvature' of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz.

It does make it slightly nicer to hold in the hand admittedly - but it adds a lot of thickness to the device, which is 13mm.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

When you consider the HTC HD2, which has a much larger 4.3-inch screen, is a couple of millimetres thinner at 11mm, it does make something of a difference with a device this size.

Overall though, it's not the worst looking phone in the world by a long way - it certainly doesn't overpower your hand when you're holding it, and the screen looks lovely and bright in use, without being dominated by the chassis.

In the box

Sony Ericsson usually chucks in everything it can find into the boxes of its phones, but with the Xperia X10 things are a little more minimalist.

Sony ericsson xperia x10

Like HTC and Apple, the box for the X10 is coffin-like, with only basic cables inside.

The environmentally friendly idea of offering a microUSB cable with plug adaptor saves on needing an extra charger, but does get irritating when you keep having to go off and find the lead when transferring content.

Of course, it's probably easier to just perform the latter task by just connecting a memory card and transferring content that way - especially when you get an 8GB card in the box and Android is set up to connect up to your PC and easily copy content across.