Before Ericsson joined forces with Sony, they were the company to go to if you wanted a compact mobile phone. The T28 is probably the best known of them all, an 80 gram mobile with a flip over the keypad, a two-line LCD display and a spec that wouldn’t do well today, but was great in 1999. The Xperia X10 could be seen as the antithesis of the T28, with its 4″ screen, lengthy feature list and 135 gram weight. However its sibling, the Xperia X10 Mini, just could be its modern day equivalent.
The X10 Mini measures an truly miniature 83 x 50 x 16mm and weighs just 88 grams, dimensions that are incredibly close to those of the T28 – in fact, the X10 Mini is shorter than the old phone! Reading about the size of the Mini still doesn’t prepare you for holding it in your hand. If you’re used to even an average size smartphone like the iPhone or Nokia N97, let alone a monster like the X10 or the Samsung Galaxy S, the X10 Mini feels tiny in comparison!
The front panel is taken up by the 2.55″ capacitive touchscreen and three buttons for home, back and menu, while on the right hand side you’ll find the volume rocker switch and the shutter release. In order to give the X10 Mini a little personality, you’re provided with a six interchangeable rear covers in various bright colours, although don’t worry if this doesn’t sound like you, as a standard black one is included.
While the full size X10 uses Qualcomm’s 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, the X10 Mini has taken a bit of a hit when it comes to processing power, making do with the MSM7227 chip rated at 600Mhz instead. Now, rather than this being a negative aspect, it actually makes perfect sense. High power processors are brilliant for video, multimedia and games, hence the fact they’re usually found inside devices with a big screen. The X10 Mini’s 2.55″, 320×240 screen doesn’t exactly lend itself to any of those things, so the drop in power probably won’t cause any major problems. It’s also a lower resolution than many other Android phones and the processor isn’t really under any strain either, so 1.6 feels surprisingly speedy.
All this said, when confronted with correctly formatted video, the little phone still performs well, so if you really want to watch a video, it does the job admirably.
The X10 Mini also shares the same operating system as the X10, Google Android 1.6, with some extensive Sony Ericsson skinning. For example, users familiar with Android will immediately notice the lack of regular homescreens, as here they have been adapted to use widgets, but with only one per screen. There are also handy shortcuts in each corner and the Timescape social networking aggregation tool is present too. If you’re looking for Mediascape though, that can only be found on the full size X10.
What Else Can it Do?
Camera. The lens for the autofocus, 5 megapixel camera can be found on the rear panel along with an LED flash. It can also shoot VGA video at 30fps.
Connectivity. The X10 Mini is 3G with HSDPA, HSUPA and Wi-Fi, while Bluetooth is v2.1 with A2DP. On the base of the handset you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone socket and behind the rear cover, a microSD card slot for cards up to 16GB in size.
GPS. Assisted GPS is built-in along with a digital compass and Google Maps.
Multimedia. As we mentioned above, video is supported but the choice of codecs is small, so if it’s not H.264 or WMV you’ll probably be out of luck. The audio player supports all the usual MP3, AAC and WMA file types, plus there is an FM RDS radio, TrackID and Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow service.
Keyboard. This is important to realise, the X10 Mini’s small screen makes a QWERTY keyboard a bad idea, so Sony Ericsson have provided a virtual alphanumeric one instead. QWERTY’s are available in the Android Market, but unless you enjoy getting deeply frustrated when composing a message, we suggest you leave them where they are!
Due to the incredibly compact design, Sony Ericsson have decided to hide the battery deep inside the X10 Mini’s chassis and for that reason, it’s non-replaceable.
When you hold the little X10 Mini, you’ll probably wish Sony Ericsson had kept its codename of Robyn, as this is one cute mobile phone! It fills a niche that many other manufacturers seem to have forgotten exists – that of a mobile phone which fits nicely in your pocket – is a wonderful piece of design and does almost everything its bigger brother can do too. What’s not to love?