In addition to major hardware differences, the biggest change is that the X10 is powered by Android OS 1.6 instead of Microsoft's Windows Mobile. The X10 also doesn't have a hardware keyboard; all interaction is done using a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen and three buttons beneath the display.
Underneath the surface lies Qualcomm's fast 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, making it Sony Ericsson's most powerful smartphone.
The X10 represents the first Sony Ericsson phone with Google's operating system, and its launch took quite a while, mostly due to the vast UI-related modifications the company made. Unlike other manufacturers' Android interfaces, Sony Ericsson's focuses on multimedia content and Internet communication.
BUILD & DESIGN
The X10's small box in belies its actual size. It's Sony Ericsson's biggest phone to date and one of the larger cell phones on the market overall. It's unsurprising, given the size of its display, which covers almost the entire front of the handset (119x63x13 mm) and it's a comfortable fit for a large palm.
Clearly aware that the phone's size may be an issue for some customers, Sony Ericsson presented two smaller versions at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. The Xperia X10 mini and Xperia X10 mini pro are going to be available later this year.
The X10's black, sharp-edged design gives it a certain serious, even severe air. The phone's sides are covered with curved aluminum, which gives it a futuristic look. The right side of the handset features multimedia control buttons, i.e. controls for the camera and MP3 player.
The battery cover stretches over the entire back of the X10 and is not easily removable. Since it doesn't slide on and off, you need to use your fingernail to remove it. This, in turn, is only possible in a groove at the bottom of the handset. Right next to it are lanyard holes, though neither lanyards nor pendants seem to be appropriate accessories for the phone.
A 4-inch capacitive display with a resolution of 480 x 854 and 64K color support brings good image quality and features. Android OS in version 1.6 comes with a 64K color limit, but you can upgrade Xperia X10 to the latest version of the operating system, 2.1, which supports 16M colors. The difference isn't that noticeable, so it doesn't diminish the experience of the lavish screen, which is far better than screens on past Sony Ericsson handsets.
It has excellent contrast and is adjustable according to surrounding light, which is among the display's best features; the image remains clear even under direct sunlight. Sometimes the image might seem too bright, but this can also be adjusted in the display settings.
The screen is very sensitive; the reaction to finger touches is fast, but more important, precise, which facilitates the use of virtual keyboard in both the horizontal and the vertical position (full QWERTY keyboard appears on the screen in both cases). Similarly, browsing through photos and contacts, web page scrolling and other actions that include moving the finger across the screen can be performed quickly and accurately. The 1 GHz Snapdragon processor definitely brings something to the table.
However, multi-touch is not supported. Unfortunately, it won't be supported even if Android OS was upgraded to version 2.1 (or later) due to "hardware issues," according to Sony Ericsson. Unlike other handsets with Google's OS, web pages and photos can't be zoomed in by pinching. Instead, zooming in can be performed by pressing the icons marked by the plus and minus signs that show up on the screen in certain situations. It's one of the biggest downsides of the phone.
The three buttons below the screen upfront have the same specific function at all times. Pressing the left button always activates the standard context menu that offers the same choices on every Android handset (the list of available options changes according to the active application). Pressing the middle button always brings you back to the home screen, while the right one is a one-step-back button.
As soon as the buttons are pressed, two small lights between them light up. The lights are mostly for aesthetics, not functionality. All three buttons are clearly marked and protrude enough to be easily pressed without looking.
Multimedia buttons around the sides are significantly smaller, flatter, and poorly marked. They don't react promptly, but with a delay of a few hundredths of a second, so it's a good thing photos can also be snapped by pressing the much more sensitive screen instead.
The top of the handset contains the power button, a micro-USB port covered with a flap and a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack.
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