The first time I saw the Nokia Lumia 1020 was during its maiden product launch in Hong Kong. I must admit I was drawn by the rather inspiring video showing the work that went into the camera. Sure it was a shameless work of marketing but from a real mechanical shutter covering the 41MP sensor to the optical image stabilization (OIS) mechanics, this is – in my view – a class all its own.

I’ve read comments complaining about the 1020’s hump housing the 41MP camera and flash. Seriously, has anyone ever looked at the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom? Compared to the 1020’s ‘hump’, the S4 Zoom is like a camel’s back!

This is a short review as I plan to follow it up with a review of the various software add-ons that Nokia introduced alongside the new hardware.

Display: The Lumia 1020 comes with a 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen display. Like its 920 and 926 siblings, the Lumia 1020 comes with a Clear Bright screen that you can easily see in outside bright conditions. Apple, LG, Samsung and Sony should figure out how they can deliver the same experience with their smartphones as Nokia’s smartphones including the 1020.

Audio: The 1020 has two microphones (top and bottom). The top mic, which sits next to the SIM card tray and the 3.5mm headset jack is for noise cancellation.

Buttons: The right side of the 1020 has a volume rocker, power and standby button and a dedicated camera button (other smartphones allow you to program one of the buttons to become a camera button but they have no dedicated camera button out of the box).

Weight: Despite the added components for OIS and the 41MP sensor, the 1020 is actually lighter (158g) than its sibling the 920 – its slimmer (130.4mm x 71.4mm x 10.4mm) too.

Connectivity: The 1020 comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC and LTE.

Other internals: With the release of the 64-bit A7 processor on the iPhone 5S, you’d wonder why Nokia would handicap the 1020 with a measly Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.5GHz processor. The reality is that combined with a decent 2GB RAM, the 1020 is actually fast. The Windows Phone 8 OS hasn’t slowed down the 1020 either. In fact, it’s still a relatively fast camera/phone.

Operating System: The 1020 ships with Windows Phone 8 called Amber which includes some new features like double tap the display to turn it on, or flip your phone over to silence it. Live tiles work as expected.

Apps: Nokia’s choice of Windows Phone as its operating system means it is handicap by the perception that it doesn’t have a sufficient number of apps on it. That could be a handicap if you are want to run all 875,721 apps currently available on Android or the 900,000 apps for IOS. But the truth of the matter is that the average user will only use about 30 apps over the lifetime of the device. I haven’t been able to find a listing of how many solitaire apps are on either platforms.

A real problem to date with the apps though is the lack of a centralized notification system. What happens is you have to scroll down just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

I have a Samsung S3 and have 20 apps on it – a smorgasborg of tools and a smattering of games. But recently I observed that my phone has started to significantly slow down and while no one – neither the folks responsible for Android or the tech support people at Samsung – can give me an adequate explanation for what is happening, I have surmised that its partly due to incompatibilities between some of the apps and the OS itself. Sure, we get free upgrades on a regular basis but you start to worry at some point whether all your apps are optimized to both the hardware and the OS. Chances are – they are not!

The 1020 comes with a Xenon flash giving you a white balance closer to daylight compared to the blue hue you get when using the LED flash on most smartphones. The Xenon flash comes in handy when you are shooting photos at an event – range is good. The result is better than most phone, and some digicam, flashes out in the market today, including the high-end offerings out in the market today.

Camera: Make no mistake Nokia is very much focused on the digital imaging experience. The Nokia Pro Cam software is intuitive and comes with controls like manual focus and exposure you can find in prosumer cameras. Of course, you can always rely on the everything auto setting – it works too!

A unique feature of the 1020 is its default setting of creating two files for every shot you make – a 5MP oversampled photo and a 34MP (16:9) or 38MP (4:3) photo. The 5MP is for use on Twitter, Facebook or sharing via e-mail. The 34MP and 38MP is for downloading into a computer for editing or printing.

Do you really need a 34MP shot? I saw a demo where you are zoom to any part of a 34MP shot and get a consistent detail on virtually any part of the image – it’s like magic, and its freaky scary.

Limitations: The 1020 comes with a maximum of 32MB storage and no option for external storage – so you wonder how many 5MP and 34MP/38MP shots you can store on the 1020 before you have to start connected the device to your laptop or SkyDrive to offload photos. It also has a 2000 mAh battery and no option to swap batteries so you will have to buy one of those external, portable battery packs to charge your 1020 on the move. There are two options available. In Hong Kong, Nokia is offering an external case that comes with a built-in battery – the Camera Grip or by making some adjustments. There are two options available.

Continuous photo shooting for extended periods is also a problem. I’ve observed erratic performance when it comes to shooting photos in rapid succession. The camera takes a second to focus and shoot – sometimes it works a little faster, sometimes it doesn’t. So action photos and instances that require you to get a shot at just the right moment may not happen with the 1020.

WHAT I LIKE

The 1020 is a camera first and a phone second. It is, for me, the answer to having both a camera and a phone day-in, day-out. It won’t replace my Canon G1X or my old Nikon D70 but I don’t have to carry anything extra with me every day. The 1020’s 5MP photos are simply better than my Samsung S3 or my wife’s iPhone 5. Lossless zoom is a nice freebie courtesy of the 34MP/38MP with the zoomed-in photo is a blessing. The 1020’s battery is not bad.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE

I love the Live Tiles but the lack of notification is a something I’d like to have.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a solid smartphone to own – and can hold its own against even the more technically souped up spec of the likes of Samsung S4, iPhone 5S or Nexus 5. There is a small learning curve to get off Android or IOS and ride the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon but I don’t think I know 70% of what my S3 running Android 4.2 today. So I can’t rightly complain about Windows Phone 8.

I think that the most popular apps will eventually come into the Windows Phone 8 platform – it’s just a matter of time. Microsoft does need to work to attract developers to help. For its part, Nokia has been working to deliver value to the Lumia series on its own.

I will stop here with this review and leave the review of the more exotic photoshooting experience for another session.

PHOTOS
IMG_2983 IMG_2984 IMG_2987 IMG_2988 IMG_2989 IMG_2992 IMG_2993 IMG_2994 IMG_2996 IMG_2998

I’ve been clamoring for a chance to test drive a Windows mobile 7 phone for several months now. Much of this interest comes on the heels of reasonably good reviews of the product even from those I feel are traditionally Microsoft Windows haters.
So it was with gusto that I accepted the offer by HTC’s PR agency in Hong Kong to review the recently released HTC HD7 mobile phone. The review units tend to arrive on my desk with very little ceremony and packaging. The HD7 came cocooned in bubblewrap and nothing else. No manual, no cable, no nothing. So I pulled out the micro-USB charger of my BlackBerry 9800 and started to charge the HD7. I left it charging for overnight just to be safe. I also discovered that the last reviewer didn’t bother to erase his data so I proceeded to look for the RESET option with the full intention of wiping out the phone’s data before I proceed with the review. Needless to say, this is where the trouble started.
This is NOT an iPhone. One of the qualities that make for an excellent beginner’s experience on the iPhone is that you don’t need a manual to get started. This, alas, is lost with most other smart phone manufacturers. In most cases, whether its a Sony Ericsson Xperia or an HTC or a Samsung Galaxy, you need to read the manual to use the phone for purposes other than making phone calls. What’s worst, its becoming a fad now not to print the manual to appear to be “green”. Most users will not quibble about this when buying the phone at the local retail store but soon after they switch on the device, owners will start to wonder how to (1) set up the phone; and (2) move data from the previous phone to the current phone. OOPS! No manual. What do I do now?
In my case I had to Google it to find the user manual. The manual says out of the box, you get a phone, battery, USB cable, 3.5mm stereo headset, power adapter, start here guide, quick guide, and safety and regulations guide.
OBSERVATIONS
The HTC HD7 phone follows the current cream of smartphones in terms of physical attributes: large, reflective screen; minimalist physical buttons (in this case, one for power, a rocker for volume and a camera shutter); three soft buttons near the button front of the panel; a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm stereo headset port. The back of the phone hides the battery and SIM slot. A 5 megapixel camera is flanked by two LED flash and a tiny speaker. There is also a kickstand that props the phone in landscape mode when all you want to do is watch a video.
A year ago, I’d argue that setting up accounts on a mobile phone was a pain. My view of this changed with the Android phones and now with the Windows 7 mobile phone. I set up my gmail, hotmail, yahoo and Facebook accounts with ease.
WHAT I LIKE
I’ve never been fond of the voice command function of phones because most require that you train the phone and half the time the software isn’t accurate. The HD7 changed my view of this. To use the voice command to make a call, you press and hold the START button and then say “Call” name. In the five times I tried it, it was flawless.
The primary purpose of a phone is to make calls. My earlier experience with NOKIA and Motorola is that finding names can be troublesome if you have more than a few hundred contacts in your database. In my case, its closer to 3,000. On the HD7, this can get complicated once you’ve created your multiple contact accounts as the software will automatically pull the contacts from your different accounts. Imagine if you have a name listed in five accounts. That person can appear five times in your People list. The good news is that on the HD7, you can link multiple contacts together.
I like the use of Tiles on the home page to make navigation to different applications very easy. Some of the best apps I’ve taken to really like, and wish other vendors would shameless copy, is the People hub. People was built to make social networking and micro-blogging a seamless and enjoyable experience.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE
The first time I was handed the phone, I immediately didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t get it to work. My years of intuition wasn’t sufficient (I wasn’t intelligent enough) to get the phone to work. I was puzzled why the phone didn’t have a micro SD card slot (It turns out the phone came with 16GB of built-in storage). So after a few days of playing around with the phone, I’ve finally nailed down what it was I didn’t like most about the HD7 – the battery life.
The other less annoying is the power button. HTC has this button flushed so close to the chassis I often find it hard to press when I need to.
It can be argued that part of the iPhone’s apple is the 300,000+ apps designed to specifically for the phone. This is what every major phone manufacturer from Sony Ericsson, to RIM, to NOKIA, to Samsung, to Google, and now Microsoft is trying to emulate. As of writing, the Windows Marketplace for Mobile has about 5,100 apps on it although most have a price tags ranging from US$8 and up. The most expensive one I’ve seen so far is from MerchantPlus costing US$120.
By far, proponents of the iPod Touch, iPhone 4 and iPad will say that Microsoft is still ways behind in creating a more acceptable user interface when browsing the Internet. Yes, on the HD7 Web browsing is a bit slower. Not sure if this is a caching or rendering issue. But at the same time, this is far more pleasurable than surfing even on the BlackBerry Torch (hands down).
ONE MORE THING
Windows Mobile 7 clearly shows that Microsoft has been studying the Apple iPhone strategy. I understand that Microsoft is forcing phone manufacturers to customize as little of the operating system’s user interface – a strategy that mimics Apple’s approach of closely integrating the hardware with the operating system (OS). Earlier versions of the Microsoft Windows mobile approach was to let mobile phone makers freely customize the user experience, making base OS upgrades difficult.
One of the things I like about my BlackBerry is that I can copy over photos, videos, music and files to the device simply by dragging the dropping the aforementioned files using Windows Explorer. With the HD7, and I was told all Windows Mobile 7 phones, the only option is via Zune, Microsoft’s implementation of iTunes. While it is annoying that you need Zune to move files in and out of the phone, the one thing Microsoft has done well was make the Zune experience more intuitive and enjoyable – try it. This is a big improvement over iTunes’ very staid and uninviting user experience. I’m guessing you will like it… eventually.
I will regret returning this phone to the PR agency but as with all good things, everything has an end. I am sure the next iteration of Windows Mobile 7 will be even better. And you can ‘almost’ safely say that with WM7, Microsoft has ‘almost’ finally come to understand what mobility is all about. Watch our Apple and Google, Microsoft is back in the game.
As for the HTC HD7 phone itself, there is nothing not to like with this phone except maybe the lack of a case to house the unit and protect it from accidentally pressing the sensitive capacitative screen. Otherwise I’d be happy to consider it a replacement for my current phone – BlackBerry Torch 8900… IF…
OTHER REVIEWS
Windows 7 mobile
USA Today
HTD HD7
Gizmodo
Stuff UK.TV
PHOTOS
Homepage of the HTC HD7

Homepage of the HTC HD7

Back panel of the HTC HD7

Back panel of the HTC HD7

Side view of the HTC HD7 showing buttons

Side view of the HTC HD7 showing buttons

Zune user interface on the HTC HD7

Zune user interface on the HTC HD7

A common problem with product reviews is that the reviewer will often use a few days to evaluate the performance or usability of a device and give judgment based on that. While it is possible to write a reasonably accurate review of a product after a few days’ use, in reality some of the kinks of a device appear after a bit more time of using it.
I was handed the BlackBerry Torch 9800 over a month ago and since then I’ve learned to appreciate the capability of the device as well as its limitations, particularly when pitted against the Apple iPhone.
OBSERVATIONS
On the point of size (111mm x 62mm x 14.6mm) it is not a small phone but then again it’s not exceptionally large either. It’s actually a comfortable form factor if you compare this to the news HTC HD7 (122mm x 68mm x 11.2mm) with a monstrous size frame. Indeed I often keep it inside my pant pocket, and while you can notice the bulge, it doesn’t look outwardly bulky. It’s not lightweight either at 161.9 grams but it’s just heavy enough for me to remember it’s there when I leave it for long periods of disuse.
I noticed reviewers of the 9800 call the phone’s screen resolution a deplorable 3.2″ 480×360 pixel when compared to the iPhone 4’s 3.5″ 960×640 pixel or the HTC HD7’s 4.3″ 480×800 pixel resolution. To be honest the 480×360 resolution is just sufficient enough for me to comfortably watch my favorite TV programs without causing me to squirm at the thought of seeing pixilated images. And given that I don’t have a habit of zooming at photos (as the iPhone ad suggests) I think I can live with this. After all the purpose for my favoring the 9800 over an iPhone or a HTC phone is to send messages.
After weeks of using the 9800, I finally managed to buy a case designed specifically for the 9800’s slider design. This means I can finally protect the outer shell of the phone. The new case adds 1.5mm to 9800 making it feel bulky. While I could accept the bulk in favor of better protection for the phone, it makes typing on the physical keyboard a little annoying (see photo) because of the reduced space between the upper keys and the screen.
When Apple launched its first generation iPhone, there was much speculation about RIM’s implementation of a touchscreen for the BlackBerry. History tells us that RIM’s choice of the SurePress technology for its first ‘touch’ phone didn’t quite get the acceptance the company hoped for. So the choice of a capacitative touchscreen for the 9800 is welcome news, indeed I still wonder why some phone makers are opting to use resistive touch screens on their devices when it’s already proven that capacitative offers better user experience. Maybe they are just trying to keep the cost down.
When I got the 9800, one of the first things I looked at was the CPU. At the time, the Qualcomm snapdragon clocking in at 1GHz was setting the standard for the core processor of most smartphones. So I was dismayed to find out that the 9800 only had a 624MHz CPU. Certainly from a pure spec perspective, the 9800 quickly looked old and outdated. Today, I don’t even quibble about the CPU.
The 9800 is the first BlackBerry to sport the much anticipated new operating system – BlackBerry 6. It is, without doubt, the best implementation to date and one can only expect further refinement of this operating system in future Blackberry phones. The user interface is nice, clean and customizable (to a certain degree).
Multi-tasking is the ability to do two or more things at the same time. For those of us who own an iPhone or an iPad with IOS 4.2, we are condemned to suffer Apple’s interpretation of multi-tasking: only the application that is immediately visible to the user is running, all others are sitting in suspended animation ready to pounce back to life when picked from a roster of apps. Like other BlackBerry phones, the 9800 supports true multi-tasking, meaning all applications that have been picked to run will continue to run until ‘closed’. This means that with a 624MHz CPU and 512MB of internal flash memory, the 9800 may eventually run out of steam unless you close some of the applications you don’t really need to be running at that moment. (more…)

 NOKIA, the European rubber boots maker that transformed itself into a mobile phone powerhouse in the 1990s is in trouble. So much so that it hired a non-Finn to run the global giant – something unheard of in 145 years.

Flash back to the 1990s when Nokia was seen the company to work for, the mobile phone to covet,and the darling of European politicians who used the Finnish phone maker as the benchmark of what a European company can achieve in the global stage.
So what went wrong? Simple! NOKIA forgot to innovate. It sat too long on it’s winning streak perhaps hoping that it would last forever. It banked on it’s marketshare and brand to keep it going. Wrong mistake!
If history is ever to teach us anything is that early success doesn’t guarantee the future. Several forces disrupted this winning streak. NOKIA should have seen it coming with the success of Research In Motion with it’s BlackBerry phones and proprietary mail service that won over the corporate world. NOKIA tried to emulate BlackBerry’s success but it’s failure to deliver a similar compelling service brought limited success to the company’s E Series phones.
Next came Apple with the iPhone. The iconic computer vendor delivered a two punch blow with an innovative new service delivery model in it’s twin strategy of iTunes and AppStore. A series of strategic moves on the part of Apple – from securing the cooperation of the American music industry (some might call it differently) to cajoling the software developer community to write applications built for the iPhone, and all delivered/sold via AppStore on iTunes created instant success for the burgeoning consumer electronics giant (yes, I would think by now people should stop thinking of Apple as a computer maker but as a consumer electronics manufacturer.
For sure Nokia wasn’t blind to the winning streak of Apple. It tried to create a music (LOUDEYE and TWANGO) and gaming (SEGA.COM) distribution platform. It also tried it’s hand at enterprise services via a JV with Siemens to form Nokia Siemens Network.  Taking it’s queue from Microsoft Windows Mobile, it sought to create an ecosystem of handset makers loyal to Symbian by acquiring the operating system and to give it back to the developer community as a platform from which to develop mobile applications. But this strategy was less than successful partly due to the arrival of Google Android – a new mobile operating platform many perceived as the true competitor to Apple’s growing dominance in the mobile OS platform. NOKIA stayed way too long on the ‘phones are for calling only’ concept producing phones that ‘connected’ people the way POTS did it and added a music player to amuse the musically inclined.
It failed to notice a crop of Asian brands like Samsung and LG inching their way aggressively at the low end of the spectrum while Windows Mobile and Android phones were coming in from Asia.  Unlike Sony Ericsson and Motorola which now offer at least two mobile OS as part of their portfolio of handsets, Nokia has stood it’s ground on Symbian even as the Finnish giant tries to update it’s smartphone strategy with an upgraded OS and a new line of handset products.
On the management front the departure of NOKIA board member Anssi Vanjoki on news of the appointment of Canadian Stephen Elop, former president of Microsoft’s Business Division to the top post. Elop faces a tough challenge ahead of him, changing a culture rooted in consensus, a development cycle that appears to slow to react to market forces, and an organization likely not thrilled at the prospect of working for a foreigner.
The new line of NOKIA phones announced in London will not turn heads at Apple or the Android community. They represent more of the same old, same old with some improvements in functionality and features. But they do not represent any significant shift in the company’s strategy.
Of course we have to give Elop a break since he’s only been in the job for less than 30 days and he still has to get a handle on the company’s assets. To be honest there is no honeymoon period in this job. If he even pauses to think too long, he will find the climb out of the hole NOKIA has rugged for itself even harder than when he first entered the hallowed halls of NOKIA land.
Is there hope for NOKIA? Will we finally see NOKIA delivering a multi-OS product strategy much like Sony Ericsson, Motorola, HTC, Samsung and LG? Will it try to replicate the success of Apple by creating a new OS that is on par with what Apple has done? (good luck on that). At the moment, we have to just wait and see. In the meantime, I will keep using my BlackBerry even as my swoons over the possibility of owning her first non-Nokia phone – the iPhone.

Mention ‘Smartphone’ and the products that come to mind are hand-sized devices about the size of your hand. Most weigh in excess of 180 grams. Most will show a bulge when placed inside your front jeans pocket, and I’d be very concerned about putting them on the back pocket.

The Sony Ericsson (SE) breaks this Smartphone tradition by coming in at a miniscule 83 x 50 x 16 mm. In fact the closest Smartphone rival of comparable capability is the larger and HTC Wildfire (106.8 x 60.4 x 12 mm).

Using the X10 mini can take getting used to. The UXP interface is an acquired taste (but don’t let my hesitation fool you, it doesn’t really take that much time to learn how to use the phone and most of its features).

Sony Ericsson X10 mini home page

Sony Ericsson X10 mini home page

Sony Ericsson X10 mini timescape

Sony Ericsson X10 mini timescape

Sony Ericsson X10 mini size relative to palm

Sony Ericsson X10 mini size relative to palm

 

WHAT I LIKE
In my view, four things combined to make this worth buying: (1) Android + UXP; (2) battery life in a small package; (3) reasonably good camera; and (4) size.

If you are a little overwhelmed by HTC Sense, you will likely appreciate the simplicity and capability of the UXP (UX platform). On the HTC Sense you can add widgets on each of seven home screens. But this is only possible because the phone’s display (say HTC Wildfire) is large enough to hold more than one widget. On the SE x10 mini, this is impossible given the 2.5″ (diagonal) display. But SE conceded this limitation by allowing you to post one widget on any of the 20 home pages. The one app per page actually minimizes the clutter I often find distressing as you start using the phone more frequently.

A phone of this size that supports 3G, GSM and Wi-Fi would surely conk out the battery even before eight hours is gone. SE continues its traditional of good battery life per charge with the X10 mini. I get about two days worth of calls, SMSes, emails via Wi-Fi, a few hours of music and one episode of a favorite TV series. The screen may look ridiculously small at 2.5″ but mind you I managed to comfortably watch a movie on the phone whilst I traverse the MTR stations in Hong Kong. No, I didn’t stay in the MTR station for the entire length of the movie. Instead I continue what I was watching each time I ride the train. All the HTC Android phones I tested don’t remember where I stopped the movie before stepping out of the train. As I result, I avoided using the phone. Yey, SE!

The SE X10 mini comes with a 5MP camera. I’ve tested the cameras on the HTC Desire, HTC Wildfire, and BlackBerry 8900, and I can tell you the X10 mini’s 5MP is a great little camera for taking shots outdoors. The photos are nice and crisp. You can’t this kind of quality from the other phones equipped with similar camera configs. SE also added a video light feature when you want to take videos with the phone.

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of building

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of building

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of park

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of park

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of space-museum

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of space-museum

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of garden at  night

Sony Ericsson x10 mini - outdoor shot of garden at night

While I carry a backpack everyday to work, I usually keep my phone in the front pocket of my jeans (left or right). With my trusty old BlackBerry 8900, its almost impossible to get the phone in, much less out of my jeans (I usually hold my breath and tuck my tummy in as I attempt to pull out the phone out of my pocket). The HTC Desire was just as tight. The HTC Wildfire was a little kinder to my pocket. The X10 mini fits in there and I can still cram a headset or a pack of tissue.
 

WHAT I DON’T LIKE
If there is anything to be learned from the Apple iPhone series is that simplicity of use is very important. Owners of Windows-based PCs, digital video cameras, digital cameras and DVD recorders don’t read the user manual that comes with their device. So it was for me that when I got the X10 mini to try out, I discovered that this is a complicated product to use. In fact I had to download the user manual from the Sony Ericsson website in order to learn enough about the phone to make practical use of it, like navigating using the UXP. Of course, once you get past the nuisances of the interface, everything else becomes simple.

Google Nexus One owners have likely upgraded to Android 2.1 or 2.2 by now. Some HTC phones are shipping with Android 2.1 with a few already earmarked for a 2.2 upgrade. Unfortunately for the X10 and X10 mini series, upgrade to 2.1 won’t come until the last quarter of 2010 (and likely it will be in the December timeframe). http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2010/05/05/sony-ericsson-xperia%E2%84%A2-x10-to-get-uxp-upgrade-in-q4-2010/

I am not altogether sure why but after a week’s use I started to notice a lag when using the X10 mini. Whether its trying to switch on the phone to make a call, or send an SMS, or read my email, I notice a lag of a couple of seconds before the phone switches to the app I want to use. This is particularly annoying because Sony Ericsson has added a sensor that detects if the phone is next to your face, indicating that you making a call. What happens is the phone screen blanks out. I understand this is to make sure that you don’t accidentally press a button while on the phone. But if you need to quickly press a button (say if you are on an IVR call), the time it takes for the screen to come back up is very annoying).

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m a long time SE handset customer for many years from my favorite T91 to my P810 and P900. I loved those phones. They worked as advertised and almost all cases I only have to take out the charger twice a week. This is a big difference compared to my wife’s experience with her Nokia phone. She’s a die hard Nokia customer despite the fact that (1) the Symbian interface lacks intelligence; and (2) the phones simply leak battery power big time.

Would I trade my BlackBerry 8900 for an X10 mini? Probably not! Why? I text a lot. I also read and respond to my emails on my BB. Nothing beats a physical keyboard for this kind of job.

I will be testing the X10 mini pro after this. Who knows? I just might change my mind.

Other reviews:
TechRadar
Pocket-Lint.com

Engadget
ITPro
Metro

Technical Spec
Sony Ericsson
Network: quad band GSM, 3G
Data: GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WLAN, Bluetooth, USB
Dimension: 83 x 50 x 16 mm
Weight: 88 g
Display: 240 x 320 pixel, 2.55 inch capacitative screen
Internal storage: 128MB
Camera: 5MP with VGA video @30 fps, video light and geo-tagging
OS: Android 1.6
CPU: Qualcomm MSM7227 600 MHz
External storage: microSD up to 16GB
Completer spec here: http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_xperia_x10_mini-3125.php

Both phones were released and quite a bit of reviews are available in the market. So as always I will provide you with links to some of the best reviews I’ve read on both devices.

This write-up is more about my experience using the two phones.

Much to Desire

The HTC Desire is billed by some as the top of the Android line for the phone maker. It resembles the Google Nexus One phone, and why not? Google commissioned HTC to build the Nexus One.

Physically the Nexus One is smoother and looks a little sleeker than the Desire. The sharp edges on the Desire are not good for your pocket if, like me, you have a tendency to slip your phone into your front pocket. Both phones have the same processor and battery rating.

As a communications device, Google got it right to include built-in noise reduction technology on the Nexus. This is very important since most mobile phone mics pick up literally everything around you, making it often hard to listen to the person speaking. So I wonder why HTC would want to drop this one technology so many other phone makers seem to ignore but is a common concern across all mobile phone users (Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung, Apple, HTC – are you guys listening?).

Anyway, let me go back to the HTC Desire. I observed that the back of the HTC Desire gets very warm very fast if the screen is on. So if you are surfing the Internet on the Desire or watching a movie, chances are you will need to buy a case to wrap the Desire in… Otherwise be prepared to get first degree burns if you hold the phone long enough. The only other phone I’ve ever handled that does this even worst is the Samsung Omnia i800 – in my view one of the worst phones I’ve ever had. I did speculate that the use of a plastic backing meant the Desire had no way to dissipate heat. You really must like what you are doing to keep holding the phone when it’s scorching your hand.

The second and only other, real gripe I have with the Desire is the lack of option to upgrade the OS. Apple may not listen to its customers when developing new products but once you’ve invested in one, Apple lets you upgrade the operating system as and when it becomes available, as long as the hardware supports it. In practical terms this means that you don’t necessarily have to upgrade to the next iteration of the same series unless you have a very compelling reason to – like you got money to burn. In contrast, with HTC to experience Android 2.2, I will have to buy a new phone. And when Android 2.3 (or whatever next iteration after Froyo), I will have to throw away my just recently bought phone to get an OS upgrade.

How stupid is that?

I understand that with the Nexus One, you can upgrade to the next OS. (more…)

Hands up if you carry more than a phone with you when you are out and about!

Apart from keys and wallet, my pockets hold a BlackBerry 8900 and an iPod Touch. Most executives I met have with them a phone and a BlackBerry (in this case used primarily for emails).

My wife has, would you believe it, three cell phones (no BlackBerry) everywhere she goes. These are all stuffed in her bag which if used properly can knock the wind out of you very easily (I think her bag weighs about 3 kg).

Every piece of portable electronic device requires regular battery charge depending on usage. At home we’ve got 2 sets of charges for my wife’s Nokia phones (all 3 of them) and I’ve got one charger for the 4 iPods I’ve collected. My daughter has a charger for her HP TX2 tablet PC, her mobile phone and her iPod nano. My son has a charger for his Nintendo DS Lite as well as his mobile phone. Between us, we’ve amass quite a collection of chargers. At times the collection of chargers can be very annoying as these tend to tangle every time.

I’ve always wished to have one appliance that would charge all of our devices regardless of make and model. The problem is that most devices don’t have the same power requirements and the makers also have different ideas when it comes to designing how to charge these devices.

A number of vendors like Targus, ESI and Griffin have come up with portable charges primarily designed for laptops and devices with USB connectors. But in most cases you can only charge 1 or 2 devices at a time. To do this, they also have to provide as many ‘tips’ as possible to match the various devices out in the market, including those for the Apple, Creative Technologies, Blackberry, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. For mobile phones the end to these different ports may be in sight.

The European Commission has managed to get agreement from 10 companies, including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, to agree to manufacture future phones based around an inter-chargeable design. But what about your MP3s, video players, portable video game consoles, laptops, and now ereaders?

 A few vendors have been working on a universal charger for as many devices as possible. One such vendor is Powermat with its Powermat Home & Office Mat and Powermat Portable Mat. Both models include a Powercube with includes 8 ‘tips’ for the most common mobile devices, including DS LIte, DS, Sony PSP, Samsung, LG and Apple. It also includes tip for a micro USB and mini USB. Optional accessories include receivers (adapter may be less confusing) for BlackBerry, iPhone and iPod (dock). (more…)