Here's where the Xperia X8 differentiates itself from the Android crowd – Sony Ericsson has included the same incredibly customised user interface as the one found on the Xperia X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro.
This means a unique Home screen that only features one big, central widget, accompanied by four customisable icon shortcuts to your most-used apps in each corner. While this system worked perfectly well and made great sense on the tiny screens of the Xperia X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro, on the larger three-inch screen of the Xperia X8 it seems like a bit of a waste of space.
Do we really need one massive Google search box in the middle of a three-inch screen? The OS is still just as fast and smooth to operate and navigate as it was in the X10 Mini and Mini Pro, but this feels like a needlessly hobbled way of doing things on a larger screen in this age of multitasking superphones.
Still, once you've arranged your four favourite app links in their corner slots it's a workable system – fast and intuitive, and ideal for mainstream users. Android fanatics won't enjoy the limitations of this layout – or the 1.6 version of Android it's built upon – but we doubt many Android fanatics will be eyeing up the X8 anyway. Problem solved.
Sony Ericsson has also supplied a healthy collection of custom widgets, with a couple that are of great use. The Data Monitor keeps track of how much mobile data you've transferred, which will be extremely useful if you're on a restricted monthly quota.
Also, there's a specific widget dedicated entirely to turning all data use on and off, making it simple to make sure you're not getting financially crippled thanks to a rogue app deciding to sync your entire music collection over-the-air while you sleep. Very useful little touches, these, especially when the X8 is likely to be sold on unlocked packages with SIM cards that come with strict allowances attached.