A real surprise package from Sony Ericsson - instead of bringing a poor version of the X10, it's a great teeny smartphone in its own right with some great and quirky features.
Super-fast, lag-free operation
Best battery life of any Android phone
UI customisations suit the tiny form
Runs demanding apps with ease
A bit outdated
Limited to T9 text entry
No physical D-pad
Timescape is rather a waste of time
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UPDATE: Sony Ericsson has recently updated its X-range of Android phones to Android 2.1, so we've revisited our X10 Mini review now we have the new (ish) Android 2.1 on it.
It seems a little odd to be reviewing Android 2.1 as if it's a new release when we expect Android phones to arrive with 2.2 or higher these days, but it's still a welcome update for Sony Ericsson's tiny little telephone. Obviously the hardware is still the same – click through to the later pages to read about the software enhancements now on offer in the 2.1 update.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini should be nothing more than a shrunken version of the Xperia X10 – but in reality it's a whole new phone that gives Android a complete makeover.
Oh yes, it's small. Sony Ericsson isn't joking when it says the Xperia X10 Mini is the same size as a credit card. Obviously it's a lot thicker, but the overall size and weight of the super-small Android phone is about equivalent to a packet of Swan matches. It is tiny.
The exterior is smooth with only three buttons on the face of the phone – Menu, Home and Back – and there's no D-pad or joystick whatsoever here.
The combination screen lock and power button is on the top edge, with a volume up/down toggle and dedicated camera button on the right-hand side.
On the bottom edge sits a 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB connector, which requires a sharp, unbitten fingernail to pull open the little rubber stopper that stops pocket fluff build up. It's a simple, straightforward layout.
People who are afraid of buttons won't find the X10 Mini an intimidating experience.
Inside the box of this unlocked version direct from Sony Ericsson sat the phone, a 2GB microSD card, a micro-USB connector, headphones with inline pause button and five alternate-colour snap-on back panels.
Supplied colours will vary depending on who you buy yours from, as the company's fixed up a few exclusive deals for bundling different colour cases with the networks.
But there's no battery in the box – that's permanently fixed inside the phone. You're not able to replace it yourself, as it's locked within the core of the handset beneath a few layers of circuit boards, behind those funny star-shaped screws.
It's very light and could possibly do with feeling a little heavier, if only so it doesn't blow out of your hand in a breeze. But for a phone so affordable – currently going for around £140 on PAYG deals – the X10 Mini has a remarkably high-class feel about it.
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