Friday, 14 May 2010

The Sony Xperia X10.


I have high hopes. After the let down of the Vivaz, I'm still optimistic. The X10 proudly boasts the Android logo on the back of its box. Android is only as good as the developers that tweak it. HTC have made it their own and done a fantastic job with the slick OS. Time to see what Sony have done with it. First thing I notice, it weighs a ton. I reckon this thing will be sliding out of your hand before you know it! Upon boot up, I need to slide the arrow on a lovely arc to unlock the unit (nice). Then I see a semi familiar looking Android welcome screen, with icon shortcusts for Timescape (WTF?) Mediascape (Uh?) messaging and Dialler. swiping up from the bottom rids me of these wonders and shows me the standard Android main apps menu. I try and grab the scroll bar, but it is just for show. Its an iphone like swipe thats needed to browse the icons. To settings I go,  up the brightness, launch wifi and hook up to the store wifi, no problems. Looks rosy so far. Boot up the browser and despite the fact it lacks multitouch, (so no pinch and zoom) the handy +/- signs make zooming in and out a breeze as does the page expander button on the left. The screen is very clear and pleasing on the eye. The buttons at the base of the screen, show 1 square and a square divided into four. The square is the home button, the square divided into four, the menu button, Bit random, but easy enough to figure out. Sadly BBC iPlayer launches and states rather unsympathetically that the handset isn't supported. Which urges me to check out the app store, as I'm convinced the beebplayer app will. I struggle with the qwerty keyboard to punch my email address in and it auto fills as googlemail, when my email is gmail, then it blasts me with a "this field cannot be blank" message before I've even had a chance to fill it out. The Android Market looks sweet, this screen really is impressive. I boot up google maps while I'm waiting for beebplayer and google skymaps to install, which looks brilliant. Just like looking at a real backlit paper map. Google streetview fires up easy enough (press and hold a street, tap address and select street view). It looks nice and works easy enough. Trying to find 'my location' delivers the first minor disappointment. I'm told I need to adjust some settings, instead of being taken to them. Close app, Menu, Settings etc. No need in the 20th century, Please! Unlike the superb HTC desire, the Xperia only appears to have 3 customisable homescreens, perhaps this is a setting that could be changed, but 7 seems like a better number for me to have as a default amount. The music player (which is found under mediascape) and the photo viewer are clumsy and messy,whats wrong with simple folders and files? Time ti try TimeScape, booting this up shows me two options, to link TimeScape with twitter or Facebook. So clearly its a social networking App. Trying to enter my details into the keypad on the Xperia, I realise why I found it so difficult last time. To toggle between Letters and icons, you don't hit the shift key, you hit the globe/numbers button (Uh?). I then discover that should you make a mistake mid entry. you can't tap the screen (a'la iPhone) to the place where you made the error, or use the optical mouse to control the cursor (a'la Desire) you have to use the tiny on screen left/right cursors. However, when you've corrected the mistake, if you press 'right' again, tiny little 'o's appear (Why?) You have to change the field thats selected and go back. Ridiculous. 
Once this is set up, its clear that Timescape is much more than originally realised. Timescape has several tabs that appear at the bottom, music, video, facebook, calls, messages etc. Each tab animates blades that float in and out of view when the source is selected. So Timescape will show you, your most recent text conversations, emails, song's you've listened to, photo's you've taken or viewed and of course, status updates from Facebook. Which is rather cool. 
So to summarise, it's not half bad. Whilst it's true on the face of it, its a very slick and well presented machine, when you dig deep, its a little rough around the edges. Not quite as slick as the Desire, but innovative enough to make it feel special. Any body who ends up with one of these will realise that they have something quite special indeed. If brand name is important. Its a clear choice. Perhaps not the best choice, but its by no means poor. 

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