Exclusive preview – 24 hours with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.

Posted on 01 May 2008 by



Yesterday was quite a busy day for me and what made it worse was a new device. I got a rare opportunity to test the new Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 for one night. Naturally I took it and decided to share my experience. Note that I only got the phone itself, no box, no accessories, not even a charger so I apologize in advance for not covering that.

The phone is from the new Xperia line of Sony Ericsson devices. What makes the Xperia phones special is that they run Windows Mobile, as opposed to Symbian UIQ which is usually present on the company’s smartphones. Let’s start with the hardware.

(Continue to the full post by clicking the ‘Read More’ link…)


On the right side of the device we have a camera button, which as the name implies activates the camera, and a double button that controls the volume and the zoom. On the lower part of the device there is also one of the stereo speakers.

On the Left hand side of the device we have the power connector a function button (presumably push-to-talk) and the other speaker. The power connector is one that I personally haven’t seen before, its probably a different shape miniusb, but once again I had no way to check as I didn’t have the power adapter.

The back of the device is where the camera sits. Its a 3.2 megapixel autofocus, with a single LED to help light the scenery. Its a shame its not a xenon flash. The camera worked ok but unfortunately due to time constraints I don’t have any sample pictures. Underneath the camera in the corner is the stylus slot. The stylus is metal, and it is really thin. It has a very pointy plastic tip – I was afraid I might scratch the screen with it.

The back has a nice metal cover which can be taken of by prying on both sides like on the SE W880i. This exposes the memory card slot on the side and the battery. The model of the prototype battery is Sony BST-41 and its capacity is 1500 mah. Lifting the battery out exposes the SIM slot. The mechanism is not as nice as the one I have become used to on my N95, but its ok. Definitely not as easy to take the SIM out but most people will rarely need to do that.

On the bottom of the device is what appears to be a lanyard hole. Knowing Sony Ericsson, one will probably be included in the final retail pack.

The top of the device is where the power button and the 3.5m headphone jack are. The power button is slightly recessed and has a nice tactile feel to it. The placement of the button is great – it allows to put the device in and out of sleep mode quickly. The 3.5m jack is standard. Something to note is that it is not recessed like the iPhone jack.

The front is where things get interesting. Starting from the top we have the speaker phone, and underneath it we have the gorgeous large high resolution screen. It is 800×480 pixels which makes viewing websites wonderful. Another thing to note is that the screen has a nice touch layer that is almost completely flat. Way better than the one on the HTC Shift. Under the screen are the controls. There we have the left and right softkey, the call end and receive buttons, the dpad, an ok button and the button that opens the panel interface.

An interesting thing about this phone is that it has multicolor LEDs on each of the 4 corners and double white LEDs on the bottom of the front of the case. I was only able to get these to light up when booting up the phone . The bottom left corner lights up when activating the panel interface.

An nice innovation here is the slider. Sliding the phone out revels he keyboard which provides good tactile feedback and is comfortable. The is however shaped like an arc, so the phone is angled towards you when you hold it. Its hard to describe, look at the pictures. The mechanism is spring loaded and works very well. Better than the one on the TyTN II.

Now let’s get on to the software side. Since this is a prototype unit there is not a lot really implemented in the software. It is mostly standard Windows Mobile 6.1. There is a custom dialer, and a small menu to close programs in the corner.

The panel interface is mostly a proof of concept, as most of the selections were basically dummy images. One that I got to work was a cross-media-bar like interface to view picture, music, games etc. You can see that in the video, Other than that the software kept freezing and and I had to reboot the phone a couple of times. Again, its hard to describe it, if you want to know more watch the video. Because of the high resolution screen, browsing the internet was quite enjoyable, definitely more than on other Windows Mobile devices I used. The kinetic scrolling also worked well, but it was no iPhone. The screen orientation switched fast from portrait to landscape and vice versa.

The size of the phone is optimal in my opinion, it is about the size of an N95. The styling is nice and many people will like it. It will fit both a suit and casual clothes equally well. Check out the comparison photos to get a better idea of its size.

For the short time that I used the phone, I definitely got a positive impression. Sony Ericsson definitely has a great device that will surely please many people. To sum it up on the software side though, the interface and usability of Windows mobile wasn’t much improved yet. I hope Sony Ericsson can do more about that to make this a phone no one will have a problem with using.

Here is a two part video preview I made of the device. Keep in mind I’m still a bit sick and this is one of my first videos, so go easy on me ;)

Part 1:
Part 2:


Expect more coverage once we get a retail unit.

More information about the Xperia X1 in the product portal.

More images in the gallery.

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30 Comments For This Post

  1. Synced says:

    I think people will really like the WM slide-out qwerty form factor once they get to try it. WM has come a long way and as much as you don’t like the interface, don’t fret because its totally changing in WM7.

    Also to note about 6.1 and Pocket IE (yeah that scrolling you see is really just a hack to keep people from whining too much right now) is that the new Pocket IE with IE 6 rendering mode is slated for release in the 6.1 roadmap which means late 2008.

    It’s not the totally iPhone quality IE but its a huge leap over what we have currently and should suffice until 2009 for WM7.

    Also if your looking for a nicer generic interface until then try out PointUI. It’s totally free and I really enjoy using it.

  2. Kirk says:

    I think SE X1 gonna strike with the same success as P800 many years ago if they can release this device before Q4 this year. SE has a way to publish good concept but take forever to release. SE P990i was a prime example. I would personally go for Toshiba G910 if X1 is not released during the summer.

    It would be interesting to see how sales on X1 effect MID sales ? I really think MID is a step too far if alot of UMPCs can support Linux which bring down the cost.

    What do you think, guys ?

  3. Toby says:

    Thanks Kornel for the well done review.
    Did you get a chance to check out its GPS?
    Cheers.

  4. kornel says:

    Unfortunately no – I only had it for a short time and the only thing present for the gps were the debug utilities.

  5. Curacau says:

    I have alot questions
    Sorry

    Can you maybe make a video or photos a tha media player?

    And is 5.5 hours the real battery-limit of the real thing or just the proto-type?

    Are tha speakers loud & crips enough?
    How is tha equalizer?
    Does it has mega bass?

    And my final question

    How do you put tha memorycard in your phone, is it eazy?

    Sorry for so many questions

    Peace

    And your preview rocks!!!!

  6. Ahmed Gabr says:

    Hey Steve,

    Nice one .. Quite an exclusive ..

    The indentation on the keys are for blind people to get to position their fingers right on the keyboard and know where the rest of the keys are.

  7. Ahmed Gabr says:

    Oh sorry .. /*Kornel/* ..

  8. kornel says:

    @curacau
    thanks! Im afraid i cant really do much more – i only had the phone for one night and dont have it anymore. wasnt able to test battery life as i didnt even have the charger! speakers are fairly loud,memorycard inserting is easy. Rest I didnt check…sorry. The software is mostly unfinished on this unit, so it wouldnt be much of a help anyways.

    @ahmed
    Thanks for pointing that out. I was originally wondering why they are on the a and l keys, not on the j and f.

  9. Curacao says:

    To Kornel

    Thanks for ya help!!
    Keep ya review rollin:P
    Peace

  10. James says:

    Its great that Sony have decided to change over to Windows Mobile, I know its not perfect but in my experience more people recognise it and can use it than the Symbian OS.
    Now to waiting for my XDA Stellar’s (HTC TyTnII) contract to run out!
    One final thing though if HTC could make something like this with the larger screen and higher res they should be onto a winner, especially if they can cram in all the features of the HTC TyTnII into it.

  11. Mohammad Afaneh says:

    Kornel, thanks for the excellent review. Probably the most helpful and best close-up review of the XPERIA. I, personally, am looking forward to this product, and expect it to do very well in the market..

  12. kornel says:

    @james
    considering this device is MADE by htc and only has sony ericsson branding on it, you wont have to wait long ;) I read somewhere that there is a new version of the tytn II set to appear soon.

    @Mohammad
    Thanks! Its always nice to hear postice comments! :)

  13. Tokyo Rob says:

    Do you know if the unit still has the 1700Mhz band .. All the web specs have it but on the white paper spec it’s missing.

    HTC do make a version of the TYTN II that’s 1700Mhz for EM Mobile

  14. Harry says:

    @kornel

    Thanks a lot for such a nice review…

    From one of your recent posts:
    “considering this device is MADE by htc and only has sony ericsson branding on it”

    I this is the news on the net but X1 is not made by HTC… It’s made by SE with help from HTC and in-return, SE outsourced the production to HTC as otherwise HTC wouldn’t have helped them…

    Also, from your preview:
    “An interesting thing about this phone is that it has multicolor LEDs on each of the 4 corners and double white LEDs on the bottom of the front of the case. I was only able to get these to light up when booting up the phone . The bottom left corner lights up when activating the panel interface.”

    Now I got it!!! The LED lights at each corner gets activated when something related to the corresponding buttons happens. Like, the bottom left corner lights up when you activated the panel interface was because there was a button on the left side corresponding to it to manually rotate the display… I think if one activated the camera, then the light at the bottom right will light up, etc…

    Thanks…

  15. James says:

    @Kornal
    Wow thanks for the info!
    Seems like HTC have gotten quite well onto the UMPC/Smartphone scene! We could soon be seeing some interesting developments!

  16. kornel says:

    @Harry

    Thanks for clarifying! I remembered it was reportd early on that it was made by htc, and seeing as this particular prototype had HTC debug tools on it, made my think that was correct. Im obviously not up-to-date with smartphone news!

    @Tokyo Rob

    No idea, sorry. :/

  17. nova says:

    Thanks for the review. It really looks like a neat device. I was wondering if it comes with any graphic accelerator?

  18. Toby says:

    The different shape miniUsb is presumably the future standard, MicroUsb?

  19. kornel says:

    @nova
    No idea..sorry. Im pretty lousy at answering questions :/

    @Toby
    Its probably not microUSB. Too thick.

  20. linhgenius says:

    @Kornel:
    Does X1 has any accelerometer (orientation sensor like Iphone or motion sensor like W910i) ?
    Thanx for ur help.
    Good job, man.

  21. Ahmed El-Seidi says:

    Thanks for the review man.
    I was really looking forward to a closer look on this device.

    I am still worried though about the video drivers (As with HTC’s TyTN II).
    In your review, when XPERIA gets to change from portrait to landscape mode and vice versa; whatever is displayed is rearranged slowly.
    Is it missing the drivers or what?
    Cheers,,

  22. matt says:

    does it have an accelerometer?

    And

    is there a way to view the web and other apps in landscape view without sliding out the keyboard?

    And also…the web pages…when ur viewing them are u able to zoom in on the page content in any kind of way?

    Any instant messaging?

  23. Mukuana says:

    Does the xperia have a place for cell phone straps ?

  24. Afonso says:

    In your review you say it has a “Memory stick” slot.
    I think/hope you are wrong and it has a microSD slot

  25. Frank says:

    I usually tend not to critizise reviewers, but in your case, I must honestly say I am not impressed. The photos aren’t sharp and too small, there are no sample images (how hard can it be to bluetooth a photo or two to your phone), etc.
    No closeups whatsoever, no panels. You should have just copied the press release, that would have been better.

    Greetings

  26. David says:

    How long battery time is on sony x1

    sorry for my bad english

  27. marzan says:

    can any1 tell me the price of xperia in india

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