Sony Ericsson Xperia X1  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , , , ,

The luxurious, unlocked Windows Mobile–based Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 has plenty of features. But it also has plenty of bugs. And at an exorbitant $799.99 (list), I simply can't imagine anyone buying it when there are so many other solid options available for much less—especially in this economy.

The 5.1-ounce X1 is clad in silver metal, but ultimately feels like a slightly clunky rectangle (4.4 by 2.1 by 0.7 inches, HWD), without the rounded corners of devices like the BlackBerry Storm and iPhone 3G. Closed, it's dominated by its supersharp 3.1-inch, 800-by-480-pixel screen, with a bunch of action buttons and a small touchpad below it. Slide the screen to the right and you'll see a usable QWERTY keyboard of small, squarish, slightly bumpy, well-separated keys, but the top row of keys is a little too close to the screen, making them a bit hard to hit. The phone doesn't have an accelerometer—the screen image rotates only when you open or close the keyboard. On the back, there's a 3.2-megapixel camera with an LED flash. There's a microSD card slot under the back cover. (The X1 rejected our 16GB card, even though Sony Ericsson claims the phone should accept cards up to 16GB.)

The X1 offers two major software features that you won't find on other Windows Mobile phones. The big one is the Xperia Panel interface, a new, interactive way of using your home screen. Press the Xperia Panels button and you'll be presented with a set of varied home screens, each with a different take on your media, the clock, the application launcher and/or your PIM information. The home screens are attractive and well thought-out, and on the whole the interface is more usable than the slow TouchFLO you get on the HTC Fuze.

The second feature is a customized version of the Opera Mobile 9.5 browser, which is faster and displays pages more accurately than Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile. But Opera seems much more loosely plumbed into the system than on the competing Samsung Omnia. During testing, when I went to the Google Panel to do a search, for instance, the phone launched the inferior Internet Explorer browser.

The Panel interface relies on the 800-by-480-pixel screen to show its miniaturized panels. The downside of the high-res screen is that it takes Windows Mobile's already-small interface elements down to a tiny size. There's a stylus in the corner of the phone, and you'll want to use it, because with itty-bitty buttons like these, using your finger is out of the question.

A quad-band EDGE phone with HSDPA 850/1900/2100 and HSUPA, the Xperia X1 should hit AT&T's and foreign networks at the highest speed possible. When using the X1 as a modem for a Windows Vista PC, I achieved download speeds of around 700 kilobits per second, lower than I expected. On T-Mobile's network, the phone drops to much-slower EDGE speeds.

The X1 is not a great voice phone; its earpiece is a bit quieter than I'd like, and I heard some clipping at top volume on AT&T's 3G network. Voices are well rounded at lower volumes, but that won't do in a noisy outdoor area. The speakerphone suffers from the same issues. Transmissions sounded a bit rough and fuzzy, with lots of background noise coming through. Speakerphone transmissions sounded muddy.

The X1 theoretically works with both mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets and features a standard 3.5mm headset jack for wired headsets. But our X1 had some trouble connecting to both Plantronics Pulsar 590 and Motorola S9 HD stereo Bluetooth headsets. I finally got the S9 HD connected on the third try. The phone does not offer voice dialing. The good news: Talk time was just shy of 7.5 hours on my tests, an impressive result for a HSDPA handset.

I also experienced some stability and connectivity issues. My first sync with a Windows Vista PC took 30 minutes and ended with a crash. My first attempt to connect the X1 to a WPA2 Wi-Fi network also failed (though I was able to connect eventually). On my tests the X1 was also plagued with strange delays. Whether I was hooking up a headset or pressing 'resume' in the media player, sometimes the phone would just seize up for 10 or 15 seconds.

Plenty powerful, the X1 should run Windows Mobile third-party applications well, according to our Spb Benchmark and CorePlayer performance tests. On Spb's general-purpose benchmark tests, the X1 performed better overall than most other Windows Mobile devices, with the exception of the Samsung Epix. The high-resolution screen drags down video frame rates somewhat, but the X1 still came out ahead of popular devices like the Samsung SCH-i760 and Motorola Q9 series. The device has GPS but doesn't come with any mapping or driving-directions applications. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 1:45 AM and is filed under , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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