The Xperia X10 Mini Pro arrived to our desk a couple of days ago and this is our first impression of the new Android model from Sony Ericsson
Xperia X10 Mini Pro is the third handset available from Sony Ericsson running Android operating system. The previous Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 being the two others. All devices are running on Android 1.6 and they will all be upgradeable to version 2.1 in 3rd quarter this year. Xperia X10 Mini (not Pro) is, at the time of writing, the worlds smallest Android device. It measures only 83 x 50 x16 mm and weight only 88 gram. The competitors will have difficulties beating this small size for the next few months.
The X10 Mini Pro is a bit larger with the dimensions 90 x 52 x17 mm. The X10 Mini user interface is created with one thought in mind. Everything should be doable with just one hand. And it is. That is both text input and navigation. The touch interface on X10 Mini Pro is the same as X10 Mini, you can enter text via the display only if you like prefer that. But the X10 Min Pro also has a extractable QWERTY keyboard so texting can be done much quicker. Two hands are needed for this of course.
The few hardware differences are the QWERTY keyboard, size, weight and battery. Included in the sales package of the X10 Mini Pro production unit we received, we found a BST-38 battery with 970 mAh capacity. Depending on usage I guess that will give 1-4 days before charging is needed. X10 Mini Pro has a exchangeable battery while the X10 Mini battery is built in, and therefore must be changed by a Sony Ericsson Service Center when it is worn out. If I recall correctly, the general lifespan for a Li-Polymer battery is up to 3 years or 1000 charging cycles. The expected lifetime for a mobile phone is beyond that, so if you own a X10 Mini, you might end up sending the phone to a service center within three years time. Remember iPhone anyone? The built-in user manual says it is smart to charge the battery as often as possible: "Charge the phone often. The battery lasts longer if you charge it frequently"
Xperia X10 Mini Pro to the left and X10 Mini to the right
The sales package includes a Xperia X10 Mini Pro, Battery BST-38, stereo headset MH610, USB power adapter, and a USB cable. The X10 Mini Pro can be charged using the included power adapter or by connecting the USB cable to a PC. You might have noticed the strange plug on top of the X10 Mini Pro. This is a regular 3.5 mm audio jack and a proprietary Sony Ericsson connection. It can be used for standard headset but also for controlling phone function with accessories like Sony Ericsson MH810. The headset MH810 can change music tracks and answer calls with the press on a headset button. This headset is not included in the X10 Mini Pro sales package.
If you are interested in the Xperia X10 Mini Pro I guess you already have checked out the X10 Mini which has been available for a couple of weeks now. Both phones are relatively small by todays standard, at least for an Android phone with a touch screen display. You will probably not find anything similar during the next few months.
The obvious difference between the X10 Min and X10 Mini Pro is the sliding keyboard. As the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro has basically the same software installed and the same display size, the two features making you want the one or the other is the smaller size of the X10 Mini or the full QWERTY keyboard found on the X10 Mini Pro. When I checked out the two models at the Mobile World Congress back in February, my main impression was that the model with the keyboard was the one for me. I have used the X10 Mini without keyboard for over a month now, and I am getting used to touch the display for text inputs, so I am not so determined anymore. If you have used a QWERTY slider for some time, you know this is something you want with your next phone as well. I have seen numbers saying the number of QWERTY keyboard phones sold increases noticeably, and I am sure more and more phone models will have a hardware keyboard as well as a touch display. I will not be surprised if the much larger X10 will have a successor called X10 Pro with a QWERTY keyboard anytime soon. Choosing the X10 Mini or the X10 Mini Pro boils down to smaller size, the keyboard or your usage pattern. For those doing a lot of texting and composing emails, the X10 Mini Pro is the answer. If you mainly are using the phone for phone calls and only occasionally are entering text, you should go for the X10 Mini. Remember that the Android operating system is created with touch screen input in mind. All applications found in the Android Market are working perfectly well with just the screen as the input method. My advice to you is to check out the two models in real life and make the decision based on how it feels like holding them in your hand. Personally, I just love the small size of the X10 Mini, but still prefer a decent keyboard.
One of the settings in the X10 Mini is to change the orientation of the screen content automatically. Some parts will not rotate, and that is the desktop. The desktop is locked in portrait mode regardless of the auto-rotate settings. The X10 Mini Pro operates a little different. When the keyboard is closed, the desktop and main menu are locked in portrait mode. Depending on the display settings, other applications will rotate according to how the phone is orientated. If you open up the keyboard, auto-rotate is disabled, and the phone will show all content in landscape mode. Also the desktop/main menu.
Xperia X10 Mini Pro is, like the entire Sony Ericsson Android range of phones, running version 1.6 of the operating system. For most people, this is not an issue. Sony Ericsson has taken steps to tweak the OS to add some of the functionality originally found in 1.6. The user experience still feels very good. One example is the four application icons found in every corner of the main menu. These are specially designed for the X10 Mini and Mini Pro because the user interface in both phones are designed for one finger usage. Everything in the phone can be accomplished by using your right or left thumb. The phone size is small enough for the thumb to reach every inch of the touch display.
The Xperia X10 Mini Pro has a keyboard backlight. The light is powered on or off depending on ambient light. This can not be turned off or on in the settings and is entirely controlled by the phone.
The Xperia X10 Mini Pro will be available in stores shortly and the expected price difference between X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro is approximately 10 Euro. So I do not think that will prevent anyone from choosing the X10 Mini Pro instead of the X10 Mini. The Xperia X10 Mini Pro is my choice.
Our unboxing video of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro
Xperia X10 Mini on top, and X10 Mini Pro below
The Xperia X10 Mini to the left, and the X10 Mini Pro to the right
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to the left and Xperia X10 Mini Pro to the right
Xperia X10 Mini to the left and X10 Mini to the right
Xperia X10 Mini Pro keyboard backlight
Remember the Ericsson T66? This was also a very tiny mobile phone but the display was not very large