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Author Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 review
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Posted: 2008-11-17 16:59
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This review was originally posted at USEB. It has been reposted here for our friends at Esato to read, but we've left out the 250+ pictures, samples, etc., as it would have been far too much work including it all here. If you want to see these, you can visit the link above.

By Michell Bak and Paul Smith, 15th of November 2008

The launch of Sony Ericssonís premium high-end brand XPERIA back in February was a courageous and highly unexpected move that now seems to be one of the most brilliant moves in a long time. Without further ado, here is to our in-depth review of what is probably the best and most versatile smart phone to date - the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1.

Weíve been working hard on making this review our most in-depth review yet, and hopefully that shines through. In order to do that, weíve changed a few things here and there and added more categories to talk about. In order to cut down a bit on our bandwidth, weíve resized the many product screenshots to a more fitting size.

Advantages

* Quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM, GPRS & EDGE
* 2100 MHz UMTS, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA & 2.0 Mbps HSUPA
* WLAN 802.11b/g
* Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
* Integrated GPS with support for A-GPS
* Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
* XPERIA panels
* Opera Mobile web browser
* Excellent build quality and quality feel
* Premium aluminum design
* Full QWERTY keyboard
* Fast processor and loads of RAM memory
* Superb battery performance
* Gorgeous 3-inch, 800 x 480 pixels display
* 3.5 mm jack
* 3.2 megapixel camera and VGA video recording
* 4 GB memory card (micro-SD) included
* Excellent worldwide XPERIA support service

Disadvantages

* Windows Mobile 6.1 - being not so - Professional
* Minor software bugs
* No official support for Flash in web browsers (yet?)
* Would have been nice with a flush display
* Non-standard screen resolution
* Lacks accelerometer and TV-out
* Heavy weight at 158 grams
* Hefty price-tag

There are currently no Sony Ericsson phones that should be compared to the X1. Nor are there any that can match the X1 in terms of features and functionality. If we were to take a comparing look at the global market of smart phones, weíd find a tiny selection of smart phones that are similar to the X1, but not a single of these is a match for the X1. More on this later in the review.

The X1 comes in a nice looking white and blue box in a typical square shape. While thereís really nothing wrong with the design of the box, the X1 is supposed to be a luxurious handset that is at the top of Sony Ericssonís range. We would have wished that packaging had reflected this rather than just look like an ordinary product. Granted that this isnít likely to be a deal breaker for many, if any, it is still something we would like to see Sony Ericsson address with future products in this category.
Inside the box, the content is separated in three smaller boxes - one with the phone, one with accessories and the last one for manuals, promotional stuff and the software disc. The X1 product box includes the following:

* Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1
* Battery, 1500 mAh (BST-41)
* Charger (CMU-20)
* USB cable (DMU-70)
* 3.5 millimetre earphones (HPM-75)
* Spare stylus (ISP-90)
* Manuals, documents and promotional offers
* Software CD with ActiveSync and WayFinder Mobile

Note that the XPERIA X1 makes use of a mini-USB port instead of Sony Ericssonís proprietary Fast Port connector, which means that you wonít be able to use your old chargers and accessories with the X1. The charger included in the X1 sales package charges the phone via the USB cable, so donít throw this away! Speaking of accessories for the X1, Sony Ericsson has fortunately announced a few of these, including a cigarette lighter adapter, dubbed the CLA-70.

When you buy the X1 you will also get a 4 gigabyte memory card delivered separately, or at least thatís what happened with my X1. Other regions will receive a full length version of the movie ďHancockĒ on a 1 gigabyte memory card. I guess it depends a lot on your region and possibly also operator.

While weíre generally pleased with the bundled items, thereís no desk stand in the box, which would undeniably have been a nice addition to the X1.

Please note that the box in the un-boxing video below is not the final one. The smaller white boxes inside will be blue in the retail product.

Design

To some function is triumphant over form. Not that those people donít necessarily like a nice looking handset, but they value the feature set more. Well in the case of the X1 function and form meet in a holy union that produces something quite magnificent. Not only does the X1 have an enviable feature set, it also has the looks to match. The handset is quite frankly stunning, both in terms of how it looks and how it feels. Sony Ericsson has been criticised in the past for the design of their handsets, but I think this time is different given the interplay between hardware aesthetics, build quality and the panel interfaces. All the elements come together to not only complement each other, but accentuate one another.

Letís start with taking an overview of the handset in terms of how it has been designed. When you first look at the handset you are met with a monolithic block of metal, which surprised me by not being as wide and big as I had imagined. Itís apparent simplicity is both welcome and deceiving though. Sliding out in an arc is the full QWERTY keyboard. Metal keys in a metal casing not only make for a well built keyboard, they ooze quality to boot. This isnít a cheap toy with plastic keys and a tacky looking setup, no this is the Savile Row of smart phone keyboards. The back of the handset is again metal and again it exudes quality. The metal finish really does enhance the presence and premium nature of the X1. If there is one let down here it is that perhaps the camera module looks a little awkward, but thatís a minor gripe. Itís telling that Sony Ericsson choose silver (Steel Silver) and black (Solid Black) as the colours of the X1, no Ďfuní colours here for a handset that is at the forefront of their product line-up. Let us go through the basics of the design first, and then follow up on some of the special parts of the phone.

The front of the phone is pretty much dominated by the large display, which weíll talk more about later on. At the top youíll find the call speaker, as well as a video call camera and light sensor. At the bottom are a set of keys, including two soft keys, call keys, the proprietary Windows Mobile OK-key, and of course the XPERIA panels key. In the middle of it all is a 5-way d-pad, which doubles as an optical joystick.

Thereís nothing too special about the back of the phone other than the aforementioned camera.

The left side of the phone holds the mini-USB port, micro-SD card slot, as well as the X1ís only speaker. The right side holds volume/camera zoom keys and the camera shutter button.

The microphone is located at the bottom of the phone along with a lanyard eyelet. The power switch is placed at the top of the phone, and so is a 3.5 mm jack port for listening to music and alike with your favourite headphones.

The large 1500 mAh BST-41 battery, curiously codenamed Hercules, is kept behind a stylish battery cover. Sony Ericsson claims there is no battery with a larger capacity on the market at the moment. We must say that itís an excellent battery with excellent battery performance. Iíve managed to keep the X1 running for five days per charge while still calling, making use of WLAN, Bluetooth, and e-mail. Thatís just magnificent!
Also hidden behind the battery cover is the SIM card slot and the micro-SD card slot as previously mentioned.

Keyboard

The keyboard itself is quite possibly the best keyboard on a smart phone ever. Thatís quite a big claim to make, but let me explain why. The build quality is fantastic; the keys feel strong and robust whilst also being easy to use. The combination of the high quality plastic and this robustness gives a very satisfying feel to the keyboard. It reinforces the X1ís status and makes you feel that you are using a handset that is at the top of the range. If I had one niggle with the keys it was that the tactile feedback could have been a little stronger, but overall it was perfectly fine. When you slide the keyboard out it does so with a feeling of weight, not heaviness, but of satisfying weight that makes you realise this isnít a cheap product quickly and poorly built, but rather a handset that has been laboured over and wants to present itself well. The keys donít feel cramped and I was able to use it to type both comfortably and quickly. Thatís one of the things that you really notice about the overall design of the handset, the hardware has been made to look and feel good, but hasnít been forced to sacrifice usability in the process.

There has been much mention of the X1 being an Ďarc sliderí and I want to touch upon this concept. The idea is simple enough, the screen (itís actually the screen that slides and not the keyboard) slides up in an arc away from the keyboard so that it is at a slight angle, which makes both typing and viewing the screen easier because one can hold the handset in a more natural position and be able to view the screen normally. Beyond this simple and practical premise though lies something else. Firstly is another example of what I mentioned above, function and form combining into one to serve and promote one another. Secondly though it helps to make the X1 stand out that little bit more. Sure it isnít a flashy feature, but it does differentiate the X1 that little extra bit by the way it is executed. The arc design doesnít feel strained or mechanical; rather it feels fluid and natural.

What really excited me about the keyboard was that it doesnít appear to have been added as something that was merely necessary i.e. hereís a keyboard so it is easier to type long e-mails. It looks and feels like a keyboard that has been treated on its own merits rather than as simply another part of the handset. Itís almost as if the keyboard were its own mini design project and given as much respect as designing a standalone product would have received. Itís hard to over-estimate just how good this keyboard looks and feels.

Screen

The first thing that strikes you about this touch sensitive TFT screen is its size. The 3-inch display takes up almost the entirety of the front of the handset and is the most prominent aspect of the handset when it is closed. One aspect of the screen design that we both agreed upon was that it should have been flush with the handset casing rather than slightly recessed. This isnít a major gripe by any means, but when you are dealing with a premium product small touches really do count. As it stands the screen is not flush, but this has no real impact on how one uses the X1, it was more an aesthetic point we were making.

The screen is glorious, and it is one of the best screens you will see on a mobile device. Not only is it clear and crisp, it also has a beautifully vibrant and rich quality to it and it is no understatement to say that it is a joy to watch video or view pictures on it. Even when you are just browsing through menus you notice how clearly the fonts are rendered on the high resolution WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) display. The X1 is billed as both a business and a multimedia handset and the screen really does justice to both of those requirements.

Below youíll find a display comparison between the X1 and the Sony Ericsson K850. The X1 is the phone on the right or top, depending on what picture youíre looking at. All the photos were shot in RAW using manual settings to eliminate any chance of mixed results.

Judging by these comparison shots, how many colours do you think the display is capable of showing? Keep in mind that the display on the K850 is among the industryís finest with its 262.144-colour TFT display. Now, what about the X1? 262.144 colours like the K850? More than 16.7 million colours like other competing products? No - the display is capable of showing up to 65.536 colours. Now what does this mean? Absolutely nothing. I often refer to this as the display colour race, and itís as pointless as the camera megapixel race. Quantity is one thing; quality is an entirely other thing. Another factor playing a rather important role with regards to display colours is the processing power of the product itself. Sure, the X1 does have a very impressive and rather powerful processor, but fact is that there is really no reason for using a display capable of showing more colours. This will require a frame buffer either 50% (for 24 bits) or 100% (for 32 bits) larger than it currently is. I donít want to go into details about this, but you can read more about this here at Microsoftís Windows Mobile blog.

Build quality

This is the part I was most looking forward to writing because I get to praise this handset to the high heavens. The quality of the materials used arenít good. They arenít super. They are incredible! When I held the X1 in my hand I felt I was holding something of substance. Itís the materials that do that. Running your fingers over the handset you can feel the metal casing, which performs a number of functions. It reassures you. If you have bought an X1 you have probably spent a not inconsiderable sum on it and feeling that metal reassures you that this is a high-end product worth the money. Secondly it protects the handset of course. You get the impression that the odd drop wonít crack the handset open. Thirdly the metal finish makes the X1 pleasant on the eye. You shanít be ashamed to take your X1 out and show it to people because it most certainly does not look cheap or throw-away.

I mentioned holding the handset so letís go back to that for a moment. There are two small annoyances that I must mention first. One is that the screen section has a slight wiggle when extended, but only when you press the screen. This isnít a major problem and to be honest I was half expecting it, but it does detract from the premium nature of what is otherwise a very well put together piece of technology. The other is that the keys underneath the screen click a little too loudly. Now this last point is arguably one of personal taste and some may disagree with me on this particular point, but for me the click was just that little bit too much. Those minor issues aside the X1 feels like a bespoke product not a mass produced handset.

User interface

When it comes to the user interface and user experience, which is said to be what XPERIA is all about, the X1 is a bag of mixed chocolates. The software includes applications by HTC, Sony Ericsson and of course the regular Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional applications. This means that there are a lot of different interfaces and ways of interacting with the applications throughout the phone.

We would have wished for this to be different, but then again, weíre talking about a Windows Mobile handset, which is terribly limiting for the manufacturer in terms of personalizing the interface itself. Fortunately, the XPERIA panels are capable of replacing most of the not-so-charming Windows Mobile menus. More about that later on in the review, though.

Some parts of the interface are finger-optimized so you can easily use it with your finger only. Other parts are a bit more tricky and not so friendly on your fingers, but Iíve really only been in need of the stylus a few times when using the phone. Iíd like to note that even though Windows Mobile is not optimized for finger usage, it is possible to swipe through lists of applications and items with your finger, as the X1 supports kinetic scrolling. You can also browse through your messaging folders and messages by swiping your finger either left or right on the display. This means that the stylus can be left in its position for most of the time.

Regular Sony Ericsson users will be let down by the fact that thereís no support for Ďrealí themes. Well, letís e fair: you can install themes, but they are far from as extensive and customizable as those for Sony Ericssonís feature phones and other smart phones.

Fortunately, the Windows Mobile platform makes it possible to customize the device a lot by installing various applications and plugins. Some also work on the Home screen, including the Windows Live application, as you can see above.

We would have posted a video of how the user interface works, with special emphasis on the finger gestures, but noticed the demo video included parts with e-mails containing confidential material that cannot be posted. Weíll try to update the review with a video later on, though.

XPERIA panels

The XPERIA panels are among the most interesting things about the X1. The idea is to have an XPERIA panel that replaces your standard Windows Mobile desktop or Today-screen. The X1 makes it possible to choose from a total of nine activated panels with several more that can quickly be activated, thereby replacing others. To gain access to the panels, simply press the ďX PANELĒ key on the lower left of the X1. An animated window will pop up with several panel view animations and other eye-candy. You can easily select a panel by simply pressing it. Note that itíll take a few seconds for the panel to load after having pressed it and that the loading time varies quite a bit from panel to panel.

The following panels are currently available either preloaded or as a free download. In some regions, localized panels by news papers, etc., will also be available.

3D Fish Panel (preloaded)
The 3D Fish panel is probably one of the simplest of the panels, or at least so it seems. By just looking at it, all youíll notice is that it displays the date and clock. And then there are the fish - what do they do besides swim around, pass gas and bubble once in a while? Well, first of all there are up to four fish on the desktop, although the most common thing would be to have three fish there. The fish have names; Demekin, Ranchu, Wakin and Ryukin. Demekin indicates the battery level, and when the battery level drops below 10%, Demekin will change colour from black to red. Ranchu is the second fish, and turns to gold when thereís an unread message. The colour of Wakin turns silver when sounds are off, and Ryukin only appears when there is a missed call.
The fish will follow your finger if you press somewhere on the screen, and theyíll react to finger taps by fleeing.

Cool Hunting (free download)
The Cool Hunting panel is basically a news feed from the Cool Hunting website that features daily updates on ideas and products in the intersection of art, design, culture and technology.
This panel is not preloaded on the X1, but is offered as a free download.

Dashwire (free download)
Dashwire offers a service that automatically mirrors the content on your mobile phone to the web. This way you can manage most of your data, including text messages, contacts, photos, ringtones, and favourites, on any computer with access to the Internet by logging into your account. I must say it seems like a brilliant idea and service, but to get it started on the X1, you have to download the Windows Mobile client. Unfortunately the download link didnít work on the X1, making this panel utterly useless, at least for as long as you donít have the client installed.
This panel is not preloaded on the X1, but is offered as a free download.

Google Panel (preloaded)
The Google panel provides quick access to Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Photos, as well as Google search from your XPERIA X1 home screen.

Media Xperience Panel (preloaded)
Among the most advanced panels is the Media Xperience panel, which is likely to become one of your most commonly used panels as well. The Media Xperience panel can be used to keep track of your photos, music, videos, games, and contacts. The graphical interface is just stunning regardless of being in the photo view, watching a movie or listening to music - even the menus are smooth and elegant. Itís super easy to navigate by flicking your finger pretty much anywhere and the panel is very fast in use. Itís also customizable in the way that you can change the background animation. It will also change the colour of the panel depending on the time of day.
Generally speaking weíre hugely impressed with this panel, although it does have a few minor annoyances like the fact that it shows WAVE music files but opens them in the built-in Windows Media Player, and also the short pause there is between switching songs. Some will also argue that it should have included equalizer settings.

Slideshow Panel (free download)
A rather simple slideshow panel thatíll make use of your camera folder and display your snapshots on the standby screen. You can also flick through the thumbnails if you want to skip a few images.
This panel is not preloaded on the X1, but is offered as a free download.

Sony Ericsson Panel 1 & 2 (preloaded)
Both the Sony Ericsson panels are highly customizable panels, each with shortcuts to various settings and applications. Both can display time and date as well as a calendar directly on the home screen. As said, the panels can really be customized to fit virtually any need, including different colour sets, eight different clock/calendar layouts, several city clocks, web feeds, connectivity buttons, appointments, tasks, temperature, and user-defined launcher applications.

Spb Mobile Shell (free download)
Here is yet another very interesting and highly customizable panel, this time from the brilliant developer, Spb. This panel is basically capable of turning most parts of the phone into parts with a finger-friendly layout and menus and cool transition effects. The panel is split up in three tabs: One for applications and settings, one for general information such as time and date info as well as the calendar view, and last but not least your contacts. You have to manually assign the contacts, though.
This panel is not preloaded on the X1, but is offered as a free download. Weíd highly recommend you download it!

Standard Windows Mobile (preloaded)
This is pretty much the standard Windows Mobile home screen look, feel and functionality weíre talking about here. The home screen acts as a bit of an overview of the current activities on the phone with shortcuts to the most commonly used applications, such as messaging, Windows Live Messenger, tasks, appointments, etc. You can also install application plug-ins of your own liking directly on the home screen. Odds are that most people will eventually end up doing so because it can make it a lot easier to use the phone.

Windows Live Panel (free download)
The Windows Live panel offers an overview of the Windows Live services installed on the device. It lists your Live Messenger details, adds Live Search functionality to the home screen and provides an easy sync option.
This panel is not preloaded on the X1, but is offered as a free download.

XPERIA Radio Panel (preloaded)
The radio application is actually an XPERIA panel, so it seems youíll have to do with that. The panel is pretty simple with its large controls and nothing more. The radio quality seems fair. You can read a bit more about the radio panel further on in the review.

All the aforementioned panels that can be downloaded for free can be found at Sony Ericssonís Fun & Downloads section.

XPERIA Panels SDK

It is even possible to develop panels yourself with Sony Ericssonís panel SDK (software development kit). The X1 supports both native and HTML panels making it possible for almost anybody to develop panels for the X1. To test this out, I had a go at developing an HTML panel because Iíve got a bit of experience in this area. To my great surprise, developing panels for the X1 was like a walk in the park! It all seems so easy to do and thereís plenty of functionality to add in the panels.

Note, that the XPERIA Panels SDK only works on a PC with the following rather hefty applications installed:

* Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional SDK (freeware)
* Visual Studio 2005 / 2008 Professional (commercial)

Fortunately, the latter can be downloaded for free as a 90-day trial, which should give you plenty of time to develop a panel or two.

You can read much more about the XPERIA Panels SDK at Sony Ericssonís developer page.

Hardware

The hardware platform used in the XPERIA X1 is dependent on the region. The European / world variant - X1i - makes use of the Qualcomm MSM7200A chipset (made in 2007), while the American variant - X1a - will make use of the Qualcomm MSM7201A chipset (made in 2008). The MSM7201A chipset is theoretically speaking the successor of the MSM7200A chipset, although the differences are almost non-existent.

The reason for the different chipsets is said to be a Broadcom patent infringement by Qualcomm back in June 2007. The suit is said to have something to do with video compression in the MSM7200A chipsets. Because the lawsuit is about an American patent, the MSM7200A chipset is used in all non-American variants, and the newer MSM7201A chipset is only used in the American variants.

As you can probably imagine, the real difference in the chipsets is about video compression. The MSM7201A chipset limits video recordings to QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels) and up to 24 frames per second video, whereas the MSM7200A chipset supports VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) video recording at up to 30 frames per second.

Regardless of the chipset, the ARM11 applications processorís clock frequency is at 528 MHz. Thereís actually also yet another processor in the X1, only that this ARM9 processor at 256 MHz is dedicated to accelerating application processing and for simultaneous modem processing. The processors do a wonderful job at making sure the X1 feels fast in applications.

The X1 comes with a total of 384 megabytes of RAM memory. Only 256 megabytes is visible in the system, but this is because these 256 megabytes is strictly for applications. At boot thereís about 152 megabytes free.

The remaining 128 megabytes of RAM memory is used for both the video graphics and CPU. According to the MSM7200A datasheet, the graphics part of the chipset (presumably the ATI Imageon 2300 or 2700G chip) is capable of delivering up to 4 million 3D triangles per second, and 133 million 3D textured pixels per second fill rate. Furthermore, it supports OpenGL ES - link that up with the large amount of dedicated video memory, and youíve got an awesome power horse or gaming machine.

Operating system, applications and organizer

The X1 runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system, which means that itís running what is probably the worldís most advanced mobile operating system for business purposes. It does a good job for regular users, especially due to the comprehensive help articles available, but thereís no doubt itís been developed for business users. Sony Ericsson actually announced the X1 almost two months ahead of the announcement of Windows Mobile 6.1, hence the at the times awkward situations when Sony Ericsson was asked to comment the operating system in detail.

Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional is a smart phone operating system, so you have naturally got access to thousands of software titles. When writing this there are almost 8,000 software titles compatible with the X1, according to Handango.

You can read more about Windows Mobile on the official website as well as Wikipedia.

The file explorer is quite good. You can see most of its functionality in the screenshots below, including support for copying and pasting files, creating folders, sorting and renaming files.

The calculator is pretty standard, as seen below. We would have wished for a different design, though.

Adobe Reader LE 2.5 comes pre-loaded on the X1, and it does a great job at showing even large PDF files. The application is super fast and supports kinetic scrolling. You can zoom in on documents, rotate the screen, and search documents for words.

Having the ability to search the device for any data is excellent. The search works well, even showing previews of the results, and you can filter the search as well.

The built-in picture and video viewer is pretty standard. Not a whole lot to say about it besides that it supports slideshows.

Tasks are pretty standard as well. You can create and edit tasks, add reminders and send as vCalendar.

The built-in calendar is very good. Itís capable of doing just about anything you expect, including creating and proposing detailed appointments. It offers quite a bit of customizability options, so you can customize it to fit your needs. You can toggle between day, week, month and year view.

Internet Sharing makes it possible to share an Internet connection between a PC and the device itself. In my case, this was set up automatically (and it works!), but it is possible to alter it if thatís what you want.

The Streaming Media application is developed by HTC, who also developed the rather excellent default task manager. This application is capable of playing streamed media, as the name suggests, but I havenít really tried this out, as the Windows Media application opened every time I opened some sort of streamed media.

Office Mobile includes four office applications; Excel Mobile, OneNote Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile and of course Word Mobile. Theyíre all great applications that should enable you to handle documents on the go.

Excel Mobile is the mobile version of the worldís most known spreadsheet application. Itís a decent spreadsheet application and is indeed capable of doing quite a few of the things you know from the computer version, such as handling of multiple sheets, graphs, various formatting options, and lots of functions. Itís not complete replacement, and it is indeed not meant to be either, but I think it will do just fine for most people. Spreadsheets are saved in Word 2007 file format.

OneNote Mobile is an application to handle notes complete with formatting, pictures and sound.

PowerPoint Mobile is the default presentation application. One should think of this as a presentation viewer rather than anything else, as it is not possible to edit or create presentations. It is possible to zoom and set a few playback settings, though.

Word Mobile is probably the most complete of the four Office Mobile applications. It supports basic formatting, as well as the insertion of lists, etc. It also features a spell checker and word counter. Word Mobile will display inline pictures, but they cannot be moved. As a matter of fact, parts of this review have been written on the X1 with Word Mobile.

Games and JAVA

The X1 comes with four native Windows Mobile games pre-installed. These are Astraware Sudoku; Bejeweled 2; Bubble Breaker; and Solitaire.

Astraware Sudoku - An impressive sudoku game that offers pretty much everything any sudoku fan could think of. The graphics look good, and the interface is fairly optimized for finger use. The game makes excellent use of the large display. While the game can be a bit slow at generating new puzzles, it wasnít really that much of an annoying factor. I like the fact that the game also displays the current battery status - itís just a neat little feature!

Bejeweled 2 - First and foremost: This is a demo that only works five times! The object of the game is to match identical jewels on a board of differently coloured jewels. You match the jewels by swapping the jewels. I think this could actually be an interesting game that would appeal to a lot of people, probably even more than the sudoku game also produced by the same manufacturer, so it beats me why the included version of Bejeweled 2 is only a demo version.

Bubble Breaker - A well-known and mostly loved game for users familiar to the Windows Mobile platform. Judging by the name of the game, the object of the game is pretty much self-explanatory - you have to break bubbles. You start out with a board of almost 200 differently coloured bubbles, and your job is to wipe the board clean by breaking the matching and linked bubbles. It sounds easy, but it takes quite a lot of practice to get really good at it. You can change between four game styles, each making the game either a bit harder or maybe even a bit easier.

Solitaire - My guess is that most people know what solitaire is about, so I will not go into details about that. There are not a whole lot of game settings to this game, although you can set the settings for draws and scoring, as well as the image of the card back. Itís unfortunate that the game does not take advantage of the X1ís high resolution display, making it a slightly uninteresting game.

Naturally, you are able to install more than just native Windows Mobile games - JAVA is also supported, although itís far from as good as most other Sony Ericsson phones, as youíll soon find out. The XPERIA X1 supports the following Java Specification Requests (JSR):

* JSR-75 - File/PIM access.
* JSR-120 - WMA (Wireless Messaging API).
* JSR-135 - MMAPI (Mobile Media API).
* JSR-139 - CLDC (Connected Limited Device Configuration) 1.1.

As you have probably noticed, thereís no support for the 3D graphics JSR, JSR-184. The amount of available JSRs is rather limited, and Windows Mobile is to blame for this. In comparison, Sony Ericssonís currently best phone at JAVA applications and games, the C905, supports no less than 24 JSRs, currently providing the best handset JAVA compatibility on the market.

Because of the many JSR-limitations, I was unable to benchmark the X1 with our JAVA benchmark application, SPMark Java. The device does perform well in regular two-dimensional JAVA games and most JAVA applications, though. Just make sure the JAVA applications and games you install on the X1 have been either developed specifically for the large screen or are resizeable in dimensions.

While I was unable to test the JAVA performance thoroughly, Iíve run GLBenchmark CL 1.02 on the X1 to test the deviceís overall performance. GLBenchmark is a native Windows Mobile application. The X1 really shone during the benchmarks, and proved excellent three-dimensional gaming performance. While the application for unknown reasons was unable to complete all the tests, including the second three-dimensional gaming test, I would not doubt for a second that the X1 will excel in heavy applications and games.

Camera

While the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 is not a camera-centric device, it does pack a rather impressive 3.2 megapixel (2048 x 1536 pixels) CMOS-based camera with touch auto focus. Thereís no self-portrait mirror, but the X1 does sport a pretty decent LED flash.

The camera interface looks really hot, and the impressive display works brilliantly as a large viewfinder. The icons are of decent size and can easily be used with your fingers only. From the main camera screen, youíll have the option to toggle between the camera modes, access the settings and of course exit the camera application. If you choose to access the settings, youíll be prompted with the four most commonly used settings - Scenes, Focus, Light, and Shoot mode. Once youíve pressed the settings icon, you can press it once again to access the slightly more advanced settings. The camera-specific settings are listed below.

* Scenes - Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Twilight, Sports, and Document
* Focus - Touch, Auto, Macro, and Infinite
* Light - Off, On
* Shoot mode - Normal, and Multi-shot
* White balance - Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Sunny, and Cloudy
* Effects - Off, Negative, Solarization, Sepia, and Black & white
* Picture size - 3 MP, 2 MP, 1 MP, VGA, and QVGA
* Picture quality - Fine, Normal, and Economy
* Widescreen - Off, On
* Shutter sound - Sound 1, Sound 2, Sound 3, Sound 4, Off
* Time and date - Off, On
* Default scene - Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Twilight, Sports, Document, and Last used
* Default shoot mode - Normal, Multi-shot, and Last used
* Default focus - Touch, Auto, Macro, Infinite, and Last used

And here are the general camera settings, applying for both stills and video.

* Camera source - Back camera, Front camera
* Self-timer - Off, 2 seconds, and 10 seconds
* Auto review - On, Off
* Save to - Phone, Memory card
* Reset file number
* Reset settings

Before going into great detail about how the camera performs, I think itís important to say that the camera software algorithms are totally different from anything else weíve seen in Sony Ericssonís phones - and this is a positive thing! With the X1 your chances of capturing all the details in a photo are much higher than with most ordinary Sony Ericsson camera phones. Having said that, letís have a look at some camera samples from the X1. Weíve limited the amount of thumbnails on this page, but you can find a lot more on this separate page, where weíve covered both pictures in daylight, indoor and in even worse lighting conditions.

[samples available at the link]

In terms of picture quality and details, the X1 is among the best of its class - for a mobile phone camera, of course. In optimal conditions it could actually match most low/mid-end compact consumer cameras in terms of pure picture quality, which is surprising to say the least, considering most of Sony Ericssonís camera-centric Cyber-shot branded offerings fail to do just that.

Pictures from the X1 are generally well-saturated and the cameraís colour spectrum seems to be put to good use. While colours are good, the X1 suffers from a horrible Ďbugí, known to many Sony Ericsson (smart phone) users - purple colour fringing. Iíve taken a number of pictures with the X1, and Iím sad to say that this phenomenon occurs in about one out of four shots. Although it mainly happens when taking pictures in poor lighting conditions, it can happen in excellent conditions as well. But because it most frequently occurs in bad lighting, I suspect it might have something to do with the white balance settings. Continuing on that theory, thereís a chance you can avoid these by manually setting a correct white balance setting for each and every shot. This is not something Iíve had time to try out, though, so itís solely based on my theory for now.

The camera metering seems to be working all right, meaning that the phone is generally quite capable of determining a proper exposure. I would have liked an option to change the metering mode, though.

The flash on the X1 is pretty average in terms of strength. It is too powerful to use for macro shots, and using it for that will most likely result in a largely over-exposed image. I would say it performs best within a range of 0.5 - 1.5 metres with a slight chance of the latter being a bit of an exaggeration from my part.

According to the EXIF data on the picture samples, the optical aperture is fixed at f/2.4, which is larger than the aperture on most - if not all - other Sony Ericsson camera phones. The size of the aperture is among the most important factors when dealing with small camera sensors, and it basically means that the larger the aperture is, the more light will be admitted to the tiny pixels on the sensor. Not to mention the other great benefit with large apertures, which is the narrow depth-of-field you get. This is essential for portraits and close-ups, and pretty much any other sort of pictures where the focusing plays an essential role. Admittedly, this does not have much of an impact on the depth-of-field and ďbokehĒ on the small camera sensors used in mobile phones, but I wouldnít write off any kind of difference just yet.

The X1 is Sony Ericssonís first phone capable of recording video clips in VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) at 30 frames per second. The video bit rate is at about 600 Kbps, which sounds surprisingly low to me, but somehow the videos still look quite good for a mobile phone. The video clips are without a doubt of higher quality than anything else Sony Ericsson has managed to come out with, and the videos will actually come out very good if you keep the phone relatively still while recording.

The audio quality, however, is far from impressive. First and foremost, videos are recorded in mono sound. Secondly, it makes use of the rather horrible AMR codec for compressing the audio, whereas most new Sony Ericsson phones make use of the AAC codec. Another thing to note is that the frequency spectrum tops at 8 KHz, which results in a frequency spectrum almost four times narrower than that of, say, the Sony Ericsson C902. In short, the video audio part of the X1 is a bit of a let-down.

You can find some sample videos from the X1 below. Please note that the videos have been decreased in quality and frame rate on blip.tv. Also, one of the videos is shot in poor lighting conditions, hence the even lower frame rate. Weíve supplied download links for the original files below each video, if you would prefer to watch the original video clips instead.

[samples available at the link]

The camera preview functionality is pretty neat, and while it does not allow you to zoom in on your snapshots, it does allow you to send photos via e-mail or MMS. You can also delete photos from the phone and show additional information on the photos. The camera preview interface looks the same as the camera interface, which is a positive thing.

Music and FM-radio

When it comes to music, the X1 yet again delivers. Two music players are pre-loaded on the X1; Windows Media application and the one available in the Media Xperience panel. Letís start with Windows Media application.

The afore-mentioned user interface hiccups once again strike in the Windows Media application. One minute youíre browsing a boring view of the library, and the next youíre on a pretty good looking player screen. It simply feels half-hearted in a way. Any way, itís generally pretty easy to navigate the menus, and Iím quite sure most people will be able to do so without any problems. The player itself is also easy to use with its fairly large and intuitive icons. The design of the player resembles Windows Media Player 11 on a PC. Thereís not a whole lot of functionality to the player, though. You can shuffle and repeat songs, and create play lists as well, but thatís about it.

The Media Xperience panel music player is definitely the one to go for, if you want an impressive, smooth and finger-friendly user interface as well as a few extra features. The panel player naturally sports the option to shuffle and repeat songs. It supports play lists as well, just like the Windows Media application. The difference between the other player and this, however, is that you have quick access to other tracks by the same artist or on the same album just by pressing the artist title or album title in the player. This is really clever, and works a treat!

The sound quality is rather high in both the Windows Media application and Media Xperience panel.

The X1 also has a built-in FM radio tuner, which can be used once youíve plugged in a headset. As far as weíre aware, the FM radio is only available through the radio panel, which is a bit of a pity. You can store up to six FM frequencies. The controls let you tune and fine-tune the FM frequency. Once youíre all set, the radio station details will be displayed just below the clock, thanks to the built-in RDS support. When it comes to the quality of the radio, itís mainly good. From time to time we noticed background noise, but this is probably due to signal interferences rather than the X1 itself. Overall, we like the radio part of the phone, but we canít overlook the fact that it lacks some of the functionality found in Sony Ericssonís feature phones, such as support for up to twenty frequencies, automatic storing, as well as built-in support for Sony Ericconís TrackID service.

Some will agree with me on the fact that itís a pity that you have to change your panel to use the radio or enjoy a nice music experience. Fortunately, a developer at XDA-developers has found out how to make the Media Xperience and Radio panels into separate applications that can run in the background as any other application. Read more about this here.

GPS navigation

The GPS chipset is called gpsOne, and is manufactured by Qualcomm. The chip supports both standalone operation of the GPS unit, as well as assisted operation, called a-GPS, which also makes use of the cellular network to get an almost instant GPS satellite fix. We recommend using a-GPS as it is noticeably faster, but keep in mind that it will cost a few pennies in data transfers.

Our initial GPS fix took less than 15 seconds which is remarkable for a phone, especially considering this was indoors, although near a window. Our second test with Google Maps took a bit longer, also indoors, but this time not near a window. Whatís surprising about this is that its precision was incredibly high, and that it was capable of connecting to six active GPS satellites. Honestly, I doubt any dedicated GPS navigator would get a result more precise than this.

Using the built-in GPS drastically affects the battery, and I doubt the X1, despite of its enormous battery, will be able to last more than a few hours of GPS usage.

The X1 comes with two applications that make use of the built-in GPS unit; Google Maps and WayFinder Navigator. If youíre looking for a GPS navigation application, weíd recommend you use WayFinder as Google Maps isnít really developed with that kind of use in mind. Note that WayFinder Navigator isnít pre-loaded on the X1, and that you have to manually install this from the CAB installer on the bundled software CD.

Google Maps is a known pre-loaded application to Sony Ericssonís feature phone users. It also comes pre-loaded on the X1, and basically offers the same functionality as on Sony Ericssonís feature phones. You can naturally pan around the world, and zoom in on special areas if thatís what you want. You can easily toggle between the map and satellite view, but no doubt youíll want to use the satellite view the most as it looks magnificent on the X1ís large high resolution display.

You can also make use of the built-in GPS unit. While it does not offer a whole lot of functionality other than showing your current location, itís still pretty cool. Once it has found your location, itíll play a message telling you that youíve reached your destination. Sign that Google Maps will support real navigation in the future? Could be. In addition to this, You can also locate your contacts based on the information youíve added in the phonebook.

A note of caution when using the application, though. Itís very heavy on data, and you shouldnít use it unless youíve got a data plan or are connected to a WLAN network.

To prove just how good the GPS in the X1 is, hereís a picture from my window. What you see is the playground that is just above the white dot on the fourth Google Maps screenshot. Pretty precise, wouldnít you agree?

Initially, Wayfinder Navigator feels a bit buggy, and shuts down several times during the test. Itís also a tad slow in menus and when browsing the maps. You must also make sure that there is a working Internet connection on your phone, and the phone antenna must be on as well. If this is not the case, it simply wonít work.

Once you get past these issues, WayFinder Navigator is actually a pretty good GPS navigation application. Itís possible to search for locations, shops, tanks, restaurants, people, and so on, directly from the application. You can then base a route on the search results.

Other than that it naturally works as any other navigation application. You can do A to B navigation based on either your current position, favourites, search results or a position from the map. It will calculate the route, time and expected time of arrival based on whatever preferences you chose. Voice turn-by-turn navigation is of course going to help you throughout the route. There are lots of settings to play around with to satisfy the geek within.

Sorry about the Danish screenshots below. Hopefully you get the idea anyway.

Overall, weíre very pleased with the GPS in the X1. Itís fast and precise - just how we like it!

Connectivity

The XPERIA X1 is a quad-band GSM phone (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) with support for GPRS and EDGE. It furthermore supports tri-band (900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz) HSPA - 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, 2.0 Mbps HSUPA. If you make use of both the downlink and uplink connection at the same time, youíll get 3.6 Mbps HSDPA + 2 Mbps HSUPA. Simply put: cellular connectivity is excellent!

Bluetooth is naturally also a part of the X1ís astounding feature set. It features Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rates (EDR), but unfortunately file transfers seem a bit slow. According to our test results, the X1 is capable of sending and receiving data via Bluetooth at 70 - 80 kilobytes per second. When it comes to Bluetooth profiles, the X1 is pretty well equipped, supporting the following Bluetooth profiles:

* A2DP - Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
* AVRCP - Audio/Video Remote Control Profile v1.0
* FTP - File Transfer Profile
* GAP - Generic Access Profile
* GOEP - Generic Object Exchange Profile
* HFP - Hands-Free Profile
* HID - Human Interface Device
* HSP - Headset Profile
* OPP - Object Push Profile
* PAN - Personal Area Networking
* SAP - SIM card access profile
* SDAP - Service Discovery Application Profile
* SPP - Serial Port

Also supported is Wiress LAN networking (WLAN). The X1 supports 802.11b and 802.11g networks for speeds up to 54 Mbps. Overall WLAN reception seems above average, but it could have been better. I think this is due to the great amount of metal used in the phone.

Last but not least, it also supports USB transfers via miniUSB v2.0. File transfers are generally pretty quick, although it is undeniably faster to use a microSD card reader.

There is no support for the ageing infrared data transfers. I doubt anyone makes use of it anymore, and Iím actually quite pleased there is no support for it, as it would have taken up unnecessary space.

Synchronization

ActiveSync is the application that keeps your X1 synchronized with your computer and vice versa. Once youíve installed ActiveSync on your computer, itíll automatically start in the background and monitor if the X1 is connected or not. Once connected, the application will be maximised and tell you the phone has been connected. At the same time, the application starts in the background on the X1. By default, ActiveSync will automatically begin the synchronization process in the background. The process is generally pretty speedy, but it of course depends on what kind of data you are synchronizing.

ActiveSync is capable of synchronizing the following data on both the X1 and computer:

* Calendar
* Contacts
* E-mail
* Favourites
* Files
* Media
* Notes
* Tasks

The most commonly used connection type would be via USB, but it is also possible to synchronize via Bluetooth.

The X1 naturally also supports Microsoft Exchange, if thatís what you prefer.

Instant messaging, e-mail and web

The X1 sports the excellent Windows Live Messenger client. The client has to be the most impressive and feature-rich Messenger client on any mobile device - period! The design of the client resembles that of the computer client, which is rather positive. It provides an excellent overview of contacts and conversations, especially on the X1ís high resolution screen. It is naturally capable of sorting contacts based on their status. You can add new contacts, remove and block contacts and view contact info as well as the contactís Live space directly from the X1.

The most interesting part of an instant messaging client is of course how the actual instant messaging works. And itís just excellent. Again, the high resolution display proves excellent for providing an overview of the conversation. You can add up to 40 different emoticons in your messages. Itís possible to send and receive files, including documents, pictures, songs, and videos. If a contact sends you a message, while the application is running in the background, an icon will appear at the top of the display. Tap it once, and youíre back in the conversation! The client also supports group conversations and the recording as well asplaying of voice clips.

Being that the X1 runs Windows Mobile 6.1, which is an operating system mainly targeting business users, the e-mail part of the phone is just excellent. Iíve had no problems sending nor receiving e-mails from either Gmail account or e-mail account at se-nse.net, both based on the POP3 protocol. The device does support IMAP protocols, but thereís a bug in all Windows Mobile 6.1 devices rendering the any IMAP account unusable if any SMTP error occurs. Fortunately, Microsoft has released a hot fix for you to install, which can be downloaded here. For unknown reasons, the fix is currently not available via the on-device Windows Update, though.

E-mail setup is incredibly easy, and the operating system has got quite a few service settings pre-loaded, e.g. the settings for Gmail. The e-mail client supports formatted HTML emails, and they look particularly nice on the high resolution screen in landscape mode.

When synchronizing the X1 with your computer, your e-mail account details and e-mails will automatically also be transferred to the device, which could come in handy from time to time. Everything will be added in a new e-mail folder to stay clear of mix-ups.

I really rather enjoy the e-mail client, but I most say there is one thing that bugs me a lot about it. Thatís the fact that thereís no option to mark all messages, regardless of whether youíre browsing MMS, SMS or e-mail messages. You have to manually mark all the messages with your finger, stylus or whatever you use. That can be really annoying if youíve got several hundred or thousands of e-mails.

Now on to one of the more interesting aspects of the X1 - the web browser(s!). Not only does the X1 come with the practically useless and slow Pocket Internet Explorer, that no one wants to use, it also comes with the sublime Opera Mobile 9.5. Opera Mobile 9.5 was a beta version in our units running final software, so itís probably safe to say that the browser will be a beta version even in commercial units. Not that this matters, though, as weíll get into details on in a second.

Letís begin with the less interesting default web browser, Pocket Internet Explorer. The browser supports favourites, is capable of zooming and offers a few different view modes, although the difference between the modes is far from staggering. It can display full HTML websites that make use of old CSS and HTML standards. Anything newer than CSS Level 1 will be terribly rendered - just have a look at the screenshots below. The browser does support cookies, though, and is capable of warning against insecure websites. It does have a cache memory as well, and can save your browsing history for as long as youíd like it to. Overall, we wouldnít recommend using Pocket Internet Explorer for just about anything. Itís slow, lacks quite a lot of features, and most importantly it fails to render most websites correctly. A bit like the desktop version, ehí? Microsoft has just announced Mobile Internet Explorer 6, though, which seems like a major update that adds a lot of functionality to the browser. Hopefully Sony Ericsson will include it in a firmware update in the beginning of next year.

What we will recommend you to use, however, is the Opera Mobile 9.5 web browser. It is both faster (up to 2.5x faster!), more secure, easier to use and generally a whole lot better than Pocket Internet Explorer. Its rendering engine is really good, and the browser automatically adjusts websites to fit the screen. You can pan around websites using your finger, and zoom in on an area by double tapping. You can save websites and images directly from the browser as well for later use. The browser supports AJAX and is currently the most standards compliant mobile browser on the market.

Opera Mobile 9.5 beta sports tabbed browsing, auto-completion of website addresses, browsing history and bookmarks. Itís got a built-in pop-up blocker, and will help you remember your passwords with the built-in password manager. You can also upload content and files directly from the browser.

Overall, Opera Mobile 9.5 beta is the browser to go for if youíre planning on frequently browsing the Internet on your XPERIA X1 or any other Windows Mobile (or UIQ, for that sake) powered handset.

Contacts

The X1 practically has unlimited storage for contacts. The following data can be added to each contact:

* Name
* Picture
* Company, Department, Job title
* Work telephone numbers, fax, address
* Instant Messaging details (up to three addresses)
* E-mails (up to three e-mail addresses)
* Mobile telephone number
* Ring tone
* Web page
* Home telephone numbers and fax
* Home address
* Other address
* Categories
* Pager
* Car telephone number
* Company telephone number
* Radio telephone number
* Assistant and Assistant telephone number
* Manager
* Govt. ID
* Account
* Customer ID
* Birthday
* Anniversary
* Spouse
* Children
* Notes

That was quite a bit, wasnít it?

The phonebook offers lots of functionality besides the immense amount of contact data it can store. You can send contacts via Bluetooth or SMS/MMS, filter by categories, send contacts as vCards, as well as locate in Google Maps and WayFinder. You can quickly find a contact by using the letter shortcuts on the right of the screen.

It seems there is no option to back up your contacts. ActiveSync and Microsoft Exchange support make up for this, though.

Messaging

The X1 of course supports both MMS and SMS messages. We havenít been able to test out the MMS functionality as the X1 is not currently supported by our cellular operator. Weíll have to get back to you on that on later! Instead weíll talk about SMS messages, also known as regular text messages.

Thereís not a whole lot to say about text messaging on the X1, though. Compared to Sony Ericssonís feature phones, the user interface is incredibly boring and far from as intuitive. The editor is only quite limited compared to that of Sony Ericssonís feature phones or even UIQ-based smart phones; there is no support for smilies, no predictive input, no xT9, etc. What the X1 does sport that Sony Ericssonís other offerings donít, is the chat / conversation view. This basically means that it will keep track of your conversations with each contact, and present the conversations in a chat view. Again, the interface is far from impressive, but that doesnít lower its functionality.

The X1 is literally capable of saving as many text messages as youíd like - just make sure youíve got the memory for it on the phone, as this is the only limit. Still, we wouldnít recommend saving more than a few thousand messages in order to not slow down the phone.

Calls

The X1 allows you to make two kinds of calls - voice calls and video calls. There are several ways of calling someone on the X1. You can either find the contact in the phone book or list of favourites, or you can dial the number on the screen or keyboard, or alternatively search for the contact by name or any other meta data using the keyboard. Note that the latter only works with the default Windows Mobile panel.

The signal reception is generally pretty good, although we have experienced a few hiccups once in a while.

Voice calls work well, with very good audio quality. Background noise is hardly noticeable during calls, and the volume of the call speaker is excellent.

Itís hard to judge the quality of video calls due to the technological limitations, but itís no worse than anything else Iíve seen. The quality of video calls in general is far from impressive, though.

What is XPERIA?

XPERIA is Sony Ericssonís relatively new premium brand, destined to introduce the world to mobile convergence. XPERIA was introduced to meet the growing need for mobile web communication and multimedia entertainment on mobile devices. In addition to this, Sony Ericsson has said that the brand will reflect Sony Ericssonís vision for a premium, energised communication user experience. The XPERIA brand and series is exclusively for high-end premium devices.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 is Sony Ericssonís first attempt at true mobile convergence, and as you might know by now, it looks very promising.

To show that Sony Ericsson is taking the premium XPERIA brand seriously, they have launched a worldwide support service for the XPERIA X1, which is currently the only XPERIA device announced and available. With the purchase of an X1, youíll get an X1 support card, thatíll provide customer service levels above the usual. Youíll have a special support number on which youíll have direct access to a team of XPERIA experts that can help and guide you through most problems. In addition to that, Sony Ericsson offers worldwide support service during the first twelve months of the product warranty. If the phone for some reason stops working, youíll be able to get an immediate replacement in most places. All you need is the X1 support card, which will of course be replaced with a new support card as well.

[ This Message was edited by: Mizzle on 2008-11-17 16:01 ]
Mizzle
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Joined: Oct 06, 2006
Posts: > 500
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Posted: 2008-11-17 17:03
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Continued...


Market comparison

Thereís currently only one smart phone similar to the XPERIA X1 on the market, and that is the HTC Touch Pro. Below youíll find a comparison chart of the HTC Touch Pro and the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1.

[see link for chart]

As you can see from the comparison chart above, the HTC Touch Pro and Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 are generally very much alike. The majority of the hardware is identical and same goes for the software. The HTC Touch Pro has slightly more RAM memory for applications and a smaller physical size. The X1 weighs a bit less, has a slightly larger display with a higher resolution, a lot of dedicated RAM memory for video and graphics and also a higher capacity battery compared to the HTC Touch Pro.

You might think weíve forgotten all about the HTC Touch HD. Well, we havenít forgotten it, but weíve left it out of this comparison as it in our opinion is targeted at another audience than that of the X1.

Some will argue that the X1 is more like a mini-computer than a phone, so itís only natural to compare it to a netbook - you know, those small laptops that are designed for browsing the Internet and work on the go. Just about all the major computer manufacturers have got one or more netbooks on the market, and most of them are very much alike in terms of pure specifications, which is what weíll be looking at here.

While most netbooks are powered by processors that are far superior to that in the X1, and several times the amount of RAM memory, the netbooks do run an operating system that is dependent on significantly more resources than Windows Mobile is. I have personally got an Acer Aspire One netbook, and my guess is that I could perform 95 percent - if not more - of the tasks I do on the Acer netbook on the XPERIA X1 due to its fast processor, large amount of RAM memory, WLAN, full keyboard and excellent display. Sure, it would most likely be a bit more difficult on the X1, but itís definitely possible.

Recommended applications and links

* XperiaTweak - www.cliffords.nu
* CorePlayer Mobile - www.coreplayer.com
* Resco File Explorer w/ add-ins - www.resco.net
* XPERIA X1 thread at XDA-developers - www.xda-developers.com
* Xperiancers - www.xperiancers.com
* XPERIA X1 - www.xperiax1.com
* XPERIA X1 - www.xperiax1.net
* Inxperia - www.inxperia.com
* XPERIAX - www.xperiax.net
* XPERIAS - www.xperias.ru

This list will be continuously updated both based on our favourite applications and links, as well as our readersí.

Conclusion

What can we say about the X1 then? We can proffer such terms as sublime, magnificent, etc., but they donít really do this handset justice. If you look at the score we have given this handset it is just a whisker away from being perfect, an eighth away from perfection in fact! But grandiose terms and scores donít tell the whole story. We need to put the X1 in its proper context to full appreciate it and understand its position in the market. As it stands at present the X1 is arguably the best smart phone available or certainly one of the best. In terms of features it ticks all the right boxes with few serious omissions. In terms of design and build quality it is a triumph. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to have owned a Sony Ericsson P800, the companyís first smart phone and a product that really put Sony Ericsson on the high-end map. Since then we have seen Sony Ericssonís smart phone line decline somewhat and fail to live up to that promising start. The X1 halts that decline and indeed it reverses it, setting a new height for Sony Ericsson and smart phones in general.

The X1 isnít perfect of course as you will have seen from this review, but its failings are minor and are unlikely to be deal breakers. The design has a few niggles here and there and the feature set perhaps lacks the odd thing here and there e.g. no TV-out and no TrackID, but for the most part the X1 holds its head high above the water line in terms of its capabilities. The one thing that does limit the X1 is the choice of operating system; Windows Mobile 6.1. Most people will admit that Windows Mobile isnít the easiest mobile operating system to use, especially with a touch screen, and that it lacks the charm and grace of some of its rivals, but it is functional at least. The panel interfaces do a superb job of covering over Windows Mobileís uglier aspects in day to day use, which is most welcome indeed. The panel interfaces themselves are one of the high points of the handset and a real joy to use, and as developers produce more panels this situation can only get better. One thing to note is the relatively high price, but being that this is a premium product and given the current market pricing, we find the price most appropriate.

Long gone is the age when smart phones could be functional and ugly, consumers increasingly look to a handsetís looks as well as its feature set and that includes smart phones. The X1 is one of the market leaders in this respect. There are other smart phones out there of course, but few approach the X1ís combination of functionality and beauty. The X1 really is a smart phone for the everyman; a combination of superb features, great panel interfaces, luxurious design, impressive battery performance and solid build quality make the X1 a handset that will appeal to everyone from the serious business user to the early adopting geek to the multimedia junkie. Sony Ericsson has outdone itself with the X1, and it will hopefully be the spark that sets of a renaissance in Sony Ericsson smart phone sin the years to come. In the present, consumers can look forward to owning a superb piece of technology.

[The review is partly based on a near-retail hardware prototype unit (prototype build PQ2) and a retail unit, both with final ROM software (version 1.02.931.3; firmware version R1AA017)]

This review was originally posted at USEB.
iva_se
X2 Black
Joined: Jun 07, 2007
Posts: 213
From: Georgia, Tbilisi
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Posted: 2008-11-17 17:08
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WOW

Thank

Good

Best X1 Review
XPERIA
MWEB
Xperia X10 Black
Joined: Feb 13, 2005
Posts: > 500
From: somewhere nicer than you
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Posted: 2008-11-17 17:09
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That's a shoe-in for review of the year if ever i saw one
However i had the original P800 and i thought it a horrendous plasticky piece of junk , i was gonna ask you about the possible limitations of the 64K screen, but on 2nd thoughts
Mizzle
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
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Posts: > 500
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Posted: 2008-11-17 17:17
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On its second day, the review has demanded a total bandwidth of close to 60 gigabytes. We've never experienced such a hype about a review before
BoyBawang
Xperia X10 White
Joined: Nov 02, 2007
Posts: 332
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Posted: 2008-11-27 01:52
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Do we have a better evidence about the extra 128 video RAM claim? it seems too big for a 800x480 screen. Only 3d games need that vast amount of Video RAM. even Xbox1 has only 64MB of total shared RAM.
QVGA
Nokia Lumia 1020
Joined: May 23, 2006
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From: Pakistan
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Posted: 2008-12-09 06:29
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Looks like an excellent device. However the different CPUs in different regions is kind of confusing
SloopJohnB
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Joined: Oct 28, 2004
Posts: > 500
From: the blue planet
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Posted: 2008-12-09 08:10
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Mizzle, maybe it was because the review itīs so big that each view results in 1gb of bandwith! just kidding! just kidding! hehe
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