Awhile back I posted my take of the Sony Ericsson X10 mini and I indicated I would follow-up the review with its sibling the X10 mini pro.

I had high expectations for the X10 mini pro when I took it out of the box. My initial impressions on the physical aesthetics of the phone were justified. The X10 mini pro looks bulkier than its sibling but this is justified by the inclusion of a physical keyboard – with ‘real’ keys that you can touch and press.
Setting up the phone after a full reset (so I could clear any existing data settings by the previous user) was simple. This time I did not bother to look for a manual for the phone, instead I groped my way through the selection of menus, found what I needed, and kept on going.
Typing experience. Although this is a qwerty keyboard, some of the keys (numbers and special characters) have been moved around so it takes some getting use to it. When I first started typing I was concerned that my large thumb would make typing difficult. For the most part I was impressed that typing was easy EXCEPT when I was going for the E, R, T, Y keys as I always kept bumping into the edge of the display screen. The physical keys themselves need to be depressed with an effort to make the connection. I am not sure if this would change as you use the phone over time. But in my four days of using the phone, I found the effort to be unchanging.
In case you don’t feel the urge to slide out the keyboard, the T9 virtual keyboard is there for you. Personally I didn’t like my experience with the T9 keyboard, it kept interfering with my abbreviated SMS typing. I found it so annoying that I forced myself to slide out the keyboard each time I needed to send a text message. This can be a distraction if you are walking about town and you need to respond quickly to an incoming message.
More annoying, and I was unable to disable this function, is the appearance of the language bar on lower left hand corner of the tiny 2.55 inch screen. With so tiny a real estate, why did the engineers at Sony Ericsson keep this virtual button there. Did they think that a person typing a text would want to change language mid-entry? In fact this language bar quickly became a nuisance for me as it actually hampered my typing 50% of the time.
At 90×52 x17mm and weighing a mere 120g, the Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro is cute, distinctive and easy on the pocket. The 2.55 inch screen means the engineerings weren’t expecting owners of this phone to surf the web. Writing cryptic messages on Facebook or Twitting is not a problem but this is not the device for reading a full article from your favorite blogger or making a blog entry of your own, for that you really need a bigger screen.
I also didn’t notice it as much but watching a video from this phone quickly becomes impractical not because the screen is small but the reflective glass makes it hard to watch in a bright light setting (yes, even bright indoor lights).
As with its smaller sibling, the X10 mini, the pro has shortcut icons on the four corners of the screen. Changing these is easy. You can only have one widget per screen but that only makes sense since you have such a tiny screen. You can flick or swipe left or right to skim through these widgets.
If you Twit a lot or always want to know that’s happening in your Facebook account, Timescape streams these short messages with the avatar of the author lightly superimposed as a background for the message. Same goes for your sms messages.
Sony Ericsson phones are on par with the best multimedia gadgets out there. The X10 mini and X10 mini pro follow this tradition very well. The music player is excellent and despite the diminutive phone, you can still crank up the volume to hear it without headphones.
A distinguishing internal feature of this phone is that the battery is removable (woo hoo). The SIM card slot and micro SD card slots are all under the covers.
I found two things that annoyed me with this series. When you are talking to someone on the phone and you suddenly need to look at the screen, there is a time delay of about 2-3 seconds before the screen pops up. This is because Sony Ericsson blanks out the screen when the phone is close to your face. According to SE this is to prevent you from accidentally pressing any keys while talking on the phone. Granted that I accept this rational for blanking out the screen, the problem is that the lag time is rather long. Consider if you are retrieving your voice messages, or are going through an automated voice answering service, and you need to press a key to respond to the query, a blank screen of 2 seconds is very distracting.
Which goes to my second gripe about this phone: the processor is a slow 600-MHz. For an Android device with this much technology cramped into it, the 600-MHz can really slow you down. As a result, switching between applications becomes a real drag. At one point I was considering creating a short cut for launching an app to ‘kill’ applications if only to reduce the strain on the processor brought about by Android’s multi-tasking capability (but I didn’t bother since I only had this phone for a few days).
One of the endearing (for me anyway) features of this phone is its camera – a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash. SE gives you four options: auto, macro, sports and twilight; in addition to disabling the flash if you want take photos discreetly. As with the X10 mini, performance is ok in good lighting conditions but bad when the lights get low (I understand almost all the camera phones from other brands suffer the same fate). Video recording is 640×480 at 30fps – nothing special since some phones now record 16:9 HD quality. But in this tiny form factor, this is the best you should expect.

If you are into Google Maps and Navigation, the built-in GPS means you can use this phone to find your way around town – assuming you have 3G service. Don’t forget this phone doesn’t support multi-touch for zooming.

Despite the physical keyboard, this phone is not for reading long emails. Make no mistake, this is not a BlackBerry phone. You can’t expect to thumb through emails on the 2.55 inch screen. But if you are into sending lots of SMS messages, this is a phone is for you.

If there is to be one sin this phone has that I can’t really forgive is short battery life. With this phone, you have to charge the battery every night if the WiFi feature is left on all day. I didn’t really try it with Bluetooth although I am probably safe in saying the battery drain would be even worst.

You will probably noticed that I abstained from following my usual format for product reviews here. I thought I’d try out a slightly different style and allow for a more free flow of thoughts and ideas. I will switch to this model from time to time just so you don’t get bored reading. Have a great time.

Next review is my experience with iGor, my iPad – and the Apple Customer Service myths.

Links

Full spec for the Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro: http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_xperia_x10_mini_pro-3147.php

CNET Australia: http://www.cnet.com.au/sony-ericsson-xperia-x10-mini-pro-339301412.htm

IR Pro UK: http://www.itpro.co.uk/620578/sony-ericsson-x10-mini-pro-review-first-look

TechRadar: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/sony-ericsson-xperia-x10-mini-pro-703545/review

Photos

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro box

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro box Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro front

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro inside compartment - battery, SIM, microSD

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro inside compartment - battery, SIM, microSD

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro keyboard extended

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro keyboard extended

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro rightside view (volume rocker, camera shutter)

Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro rightside view (volume rocker, camera shutter)

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