Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini review

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

Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini
The definitive Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini review

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We're using an untouched and unlocked Xperia Mini supplied from The Carphone Warehouse, with the phone arriving absolutely packed with additional apps and games.

As expected with Android devices, you get the full range of Google apps, meaning Calendar support and syncing, Gmail, YouTube and Talk are included, plus the mighty four-pronged Google Maps app suite, which consists of separate tools for Navigation, Latitude, Places and Maps itself.

Sony ericsson xperia mini

Navigate is always the first toy to play with when using a new Android phone, with Google's free satnav app as great as ever on the Mini.

It's integrated with the standard Google Maps app incredibly well, letting you select your own location as a start point and specify your destination. Then Google does the rest, calculating a route in advance.

For turn-by-turn voice navigation, you need the voice data pack, which is a free download through the Android Market. It's everything you need to bin your existing satnav.

Sony ericsson xperia mini

There's a whole app screen full of other toys to play with. OfficeSuite gives you the ability to manage and read Word docs, but it'll prompt you to pay for the Pro version if you want editing and file creation abilities on your phone.

Sony Ericsson's utilitarian "Get Games" app also includes a Home screen widget, both of which are rather odd links that simply take you to the Android Market listing for the promoted titles.

Sony ericsson xperia mini

The "Get" series is augmented by "Get Music" which takes you off to Sony Ericsson's PlayNow music portal, where you're able to legitimately purchase popular music for a ludicrous £1.50 per track, plus a possible mobile data fee.

Expensive, yes, but it's good to see Sony Ericsson giving users the option of an official MP3 shopping service on their mobiles – something most manufacturers don't offer, but your wallet will stay much better-stocked if you download something like Amazon MP3 instead.

Sony ericsson xperia mini

One other interesting Sony Ericsson addition is its Friends' Music & Videos app, which encourages the stalking of your Facebook mates by pulling out all the music and video links people have shared on the social networking site, also letting you read the comments and "like" the results.

A bit of an odd thing to focus on, that, but probably better than paging through the Android Facebook app. However, you'll find most friends share YouTube videos, and not the cool new underground music we're all supposed to be finding.

Sony ericsson xperia mini

As for the issue of storage space that scuppers many affordable Android phones? The Xperia Mini comes with 350MB of app space, and even after installing our usual review essentials we're still seeing 251MB free. That's certainly better than the likes of the HTC Wildfire S.

And Angry Birds works perfectly.