Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini review

The tiniest Android phone takes the X10 in a new direction

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The X10 Mini is packed with pre-loaded apps, presumably because Sony Ericsson's planning on selling this to people who won't be too bothered about downloading their own.

Sony ericsson xperia x10 mini

Google Talk and Gmail are in, and browsing via the YouTube app is superb. If you're connected via Wi-Fi, YouTube is super-quick and the phone handles video playback – and the demanding pauses and skipping to later sections – with ease.

There's also a built-in TrackID system, which is a clone of the popular Shazam song recognition tool, linked to Sony Ericsson's PlayNow music service. Once a track's been identified you're able to listen to it again or buy yourself a version through its accompanying BuyNow service.

Sony ericsson xperia x10 mini

Tracks were priced at a rather steep £1.29 each for the recording we tried it on, so unless it's a musical emergency you'll be best not buying your stuff this way. Although it'll be hard to resist – Sony Ericsson takes payment for tracks directly via either credit card or, rather simply, a 'Premium SMS' model, which ups the price to £1.50 per track.

Google Maps is here, and even Google Maps Navigation is super-fast once you've got the initial satellite lock, with the maps flying about the place as quickly as they would on a desktop PC if you're browsing via Wi-Fi.

Sony ericsson xperia x10 mini

Bear in mind the X10 Mini ships with an older version of Google Maps, so buyers will need to be aware enough to know an updated version first needs to be downloaded through the Android Market to unlock the fully-featured GPS tool.

Other installed apps include Facebook, sat-nav alternative Wisepilot, barcode reader NeoReader and simple games Edge and Peggle. Everything you need is here for a phone of this calibre.

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There's one new Sony Ericsson app included as part of the Android 2.1 update: Backup and Restore. It is what it is, a comprehensive way to save the data on your phone.

Everything from bookmarks and contacts to your text messages, phone settings and Android Market downloads can be saved, resulting in a data file on your SD card, which you can use as a restore point or copy off, burn to a DVD and encase in concrete to keep safe.

Backups can be scheduled, too, if you'd rather it did its thing automatically while you're asleep.

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Live Wallpaper support is now in thanks to the Android 2.1 update, with the animating backgrounds displaying well. No Live Wallpapers are included with the 2.1 update, mind, so you'll have to download any you want via the Android Market.

And now for the most important modern performance benchmark - can it play Angry Birds?

x10 mini

Surprisingly, yes, Angry Birds runs very well on the X10 Mini. The recently added low-res graphics mode isn't even required, although it's a bit of a strain on the eyes playing on the tiny screen. Plus the ads look huge on the low-res display.