Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 review

Now that we’ve had some time to spend with the XPERIA X1, we’re going to break down the various features and give you our in-depth review. We’ll continue to update this post as we use the device more, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what’s at hand — a brand new Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1! Full review is after the jump. Pictures will be added shortly.

Screen:

With a 800×480 VGA screen, you can’t really go wrong right? Right. We’ve got to say off the top that this is the best-looking screen we’ve ever seen on a Windows Mobile device. It puts all the others to shame. It’s not just that the screen has an amazing resolution, it’s that the screen is vibrant and clear as day. If your vision isn’t top notch you might have to increase the font size in settings because it gets a little small with that super high-res. Sunlight couldn’t phase it either as we had no problem using it on the go outside.

Audio quality

We didn’t put the speakers through our normal tests just yet to be honest. We tried a couple MP3s and they sounded good, not great. The speaker volume in general could have been a little louder and the sound could have sounded a little fuller. Speakerphone was the same. We’ll report back with more detailed findings.

Notification lights

If you’ve seen the Sidekick LX, you’ll know what we’re talking about. There are 4 independant notification lights on the four corners of the X1. These are LED lights that change through various colors. Unlike the Sidekick, you have complete control over the notification settings. Only want people to think you’ve got a UFO in your pocket when you’re getting a text message? No problem. There’s a lot to choose from to suit your own needs. The lights offer a nice touch and weren’t too over-powering and bright which we were afraid of. The kids will love it.

Call quality

Calls came in and out with crystal clear quality. The ear speaker was plently loud and the party on the other end said we sounded like we were on a land line.

Data Connectivity

Name something you’d like to see in a mobile device… HSDPA? Wi-Fi? GPS? The X1 has all of it. T-Mobile USA lovers will also be overjoyed at the fact that an AWS 1700MHz version is coming. Our unit had the 850MHz/1900MHz US 3G bands so we were rockin’ over HSDPA just fine. In fact, web browsing was abnormally fast. We didn’t find much of a difference between browsing over Wi-Fi or HSDPA. That’s probably due to the bottleneck of the phone in general, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Build quality

Another winner for Sony Ericsson. While the device isn’t the lightest phone on the market, we think it’s build quality is almost second-to-none. Maybe even iPhone status. It’s just so sturdy and well put together. We have to give HTC some mad props on this one. Could you please try and incorporate some of this newfound metal addition into some of your devices HTC? Please. The sliding mechanism was fantastic even though the device isn’t a normal “flat” slider. Major points for build quality.

Usability factor

This could be subjective depending on your view of Windows Mobile, but we found the X1 to be on par or better than any Windows Mobile device we’ve used. Baring the keyboard issue, (see below) there wasn’t anything that hindered us from taking full advantage of the device. When closed, the device gives you access to all necessary shortcuts on the bottom front of the unit. Slide it open and you’ve got access to everything you could want. People have wrote us and asked about how it is to use the phone when the QWERTY keyboard doesn’t have directional keys, but they’ve overlooked something — the optical joystick. This works wonderfully well and doesn’t have a learning curve. It’s a natural extension of what we’ve been forced to use in the past. There was a “cursor” menu in settings but no cursor showed up on the screen. You also have full control over the sensitivity of the optical joystick. Making phone calls was comfortable and we didn’t have any issues with people hearing us or us hearing them.

Keyboard

The keyboard is a sensitive area for many people. Anyone who follows us know we take it very seriously — we put them all through the ringer! So, it pains us to report, that at least with our particular unit, the keyboard wasn’t great. It didn’t take time to get used to it, it just didnt perform like the way we had hoped. The reason is because the keys almost are completely flush with the case and don’t give good tactile feedback when pressed. Odly enough, the spacebar was actually ok. It faired the best out of all of them. We understand why there really is no travel in the keys — there is a huge sliding mechanism right over them — but we would have liked to see a little more feedback when typing. They have this triangular pattern on top which does make it easy to feel them, but you don’t get a good response when actually pressing them down. The backlight on the QWERTY ‘board successfully helped us find the keys when it was nightime, but that still didn’t help when typing. We said this before, but if we had to compare the keyboard to anything, it would be Sony’s UX-series computers. It’s the same exact thing.

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