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The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 feels as if it’s been around for ages. It’s almost a year since its Rachael UI, now known as UX, was first leaked and coming on for six months since it was officially unveiled as one of the best Android phones so far. So how does this so-called superphone stand up now it’s surrounded by some serious Android rivals?

First impressions

There’s no denying that the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is a stunner of a smartphone. Its 13mm frame is beautifully crafted and scooting around Android on Sony Ericsson’s first decent touchscreen is more often than not a real delight. Pics from the 8.1 megapixel camera are every bit as good as those on a basic compact and that 4-inch panel is perfect for watching clips, whether they’re home-made or Hollywood.

8/10

Design

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The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is perhaps the mobile maker’s most well crafted phone yet, alongside the sleek, yet slightly plasticky Sony Ericsson Vivaz. In spite of rocking a massive 4-inch screen, it’s slim at just 13mm and its rounded rear means it sits comfortably in the hand. We got our hands on the all-black edition and think this has to be the way forward over the more bligtastic white model which is also being touted.

The hard keys on the Xperia X10 sit flush against the body, with a 3.5mm headphone jack stuck squarely at the top of the device, making it easy to bang in your buds when it’s in your pocket. There’s no lens cover for the snapper, but that does mean this is significantly slicker than the creaking Satio.

8/10

Features

Aside from the UX software (of which more later), the key feature on the Xperia X10 is its excellent camera. This is every bit as good as the smart shooter found on the Vivaz and perhaps better thanks to a larger, 460 x 854 display. The adaptability is phenomenal, with shooting modes ranging from sports to nightshot to make your pics sing. Then there’s smile and face detection, not to mention one button upload access.

Video is also great and proves that in terms of imaging on Android, Sony Ericsson is setting the standard. Other top-end features include the very clever Infinity button - an infinite loop which appears when using music or other media and offers recommendations from the web at the press of a button. Use it in messaging to access all your missives from one particular contact.

8/10

Software

The UI formerly known as Rachael is pretty neat and split into two parts: Timescape and Mediascape. The latter houses music, movies and photos, and can be accessed by tapping on the homescreen. Not only is it an easy one-stop-shop for all your content, it’s also deeply integrated with the web, with the Infinity button really coming into play and acting as a clever recommendation engine.

Timescape is where your social networking messages and contacts mesh. The idea is very similar to HTC’s Friend Stream, but the stacked contacts look awkward and appear like a Rolodex. The result is at times infuriating and has clearly been done in an attempt to give Sony Ericsson some nifty design edge. Instead, it just looks naff. In fact, while the entire skin is handy, it’s just not a patch on the brilliant HTC Sense.

And that brings us to another niggle. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 may only just be coming out, but it’s still shipping with last year’s Android software, 1.6. It’s a shocking move from SE and one that places it well behind rivals from HTC, Motorola and Google. It means no multiple Gmail accounts, no Goggles and less stability.

7/10

Ease of use

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The touchscreen on the Xperia X10 is great and can handle strokes and sweeps without any of the niggling prods we’ve needed on previous Sony Ericsson touchscreen phones. But that’s not to say this is an easy phone to get to grips with.

Yes, the Android UI is underneath and easy to handle. But the onscreen keyboard is a shocker, a really poor piece of design, with the smallest space bar imaginable. You can swap this awkward iteration for the vanilla Android one, but neither live up to HTC’s Android 2.1 ‘pads, found in the Legend and Desire.

Another major issue is the lag. This phone has a Snapdragon processor, but its lack of response when zooming through menus is alarming. SE needs to get Android 2.1 on board ASAP.

6/10

Specifications

  • 4-inch, 480 x 854 screen
  • 119 x 63 x 13 mm 135g
  • Android 1.6 with UX UI
  • HSDPA, Wi-Fi
  • Digital compass
  • 8.1 megapixel camera

Overall mark: 8/10

Compare Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 deals at Top10: Sony Ericsson Xperia 10

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