Sony ericsson xperia x10

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 - it's a phone that we had such high hopes for when we first caught wind of it in the middle of last year.

A 1GHz processor, innovative overlay, the best Android has to offer with great media playback and a supersonic camera? Yes please.

And the good news is that most of what we expected has come to pass - the Xperia X10 is a great phone at its core, with some great use of the Android operating system to push this phone up into the stellar smartphone category at times.

The update has helped somewhat with a few of the key issues we had with the handset overall - but the problem is other phones that have come out in the meantime have moved ahead as well in terms of functionality.

We liked

Where do we start? The WVGA high resolution screen is just great - responsive, expansive, and capable of displaying a large amount of information with little hassle.

The 1GHz processor has again been used well - most action whipped along with very little hint of lag or judderiness to annoy us - well, at least to begin with.

The Timescape overlay might be a little bit lightweight, but quickly becomes useful when you get the point of its function - to simply keep you updated. We'd have liked something a little more interactive - being able to click links in a tile would have been nice - but beyond that we generally enjoyed it.

Mediascape was also a powerful application for the entertainment side of things, offering far more than we've ever seen before from Android in terms of organising music, video and photos.

The camera, an 8MP effort, was great too - we've not seen much to match it, although we would have liked to be able to fiddle with the settings a little bit more to craft our snaps better, and that 'flash' issue is insane.

The Backup and Restore application is ace too - we loved the fact we had our messages saved without a worry.

And of course, the Xperia X10 also made use of things like the excellent Android web browser, the easy-to-use menu system and accessing the Application Market to improve the functionality of the phone instantly - we're glad to see Sony Ericsson is finally on board with the Google wagon.

We disliked

Sadly, Sony Ericsson built a few too many issues into the Xperia X10, something we're growing too used to saying with its phones.

The main culprit is the on-screen keyboard - it's awful. After a week's use, we were becoming more adept at it, but it still required a great deal of focus and effort to stay accurate.

The lag on the menu system when using Timescape as your home screen was ridiculous, and the slowdown when not employing any kind of task killer was almost terminal at times - why it hasn't been eradicated we don't know, and people will continue to have a real problem with this.

Battery life is a little on the suspect side too, with a day's use the most you can expect from the 1500mAh unit in most situations.

Audio quality on phone calls was also too quiet for our tastes, with people constantly being difficult to hear even in quieter situations.

Why there's no multi-touch despite the upgrade, we don't know. We can only assume that the hardware doesn't support it, and given the likes of the Orange San Francisco manage it with no problem, this is downright embarrassing.

Verdict

We were quietly confident that the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 would be a front-running phone when we first heard about it - a complete Android overhaul and some top end specs were enough to have us drooling.

Then the phone came in for review, and we were disappointed. Laggy software, only Android 1.6 and a somewhat baffling system made it hard to see what had happened with Sony Ericsson - but there was hope with the Android 2.1 upgrade on the horizon.

Now that's landed, and a lot of the problems we had still haven't changed - meaning it must be the underlying hardware that's at fault.

Multi-touch is a must on today's handsets, as is a camera with a flash that fires when you take a photo.

Non-laggy interfaces that don't bog down are also important too - if you don't know how to kill background applications, then you'll downright hate the X10 at times.

It's more annoying that the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini is such a smashing little device - it's fast, quirky and basically does what you want it to do. That's what the bigger brother should have been, but an order of magnitude better.

We wouldn't go as far as saying we can't recommend the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, but in the time its taken to upgrade to Android 2.1, we're nearly two steps ahead in terms of platform from Google, and a slew of (often much cheaper) phones have appeared that are better than this one - and great phones like the HTC Desire are still the same price with much better performance.

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