New Gadget: Sony Ericsson XPeria X1 September 13, 2009Posted by baldricman in Tech.
Tags: htc, iphone, mobile, panel, phone, smartphone, sony ericsson, x1, xperia
My new XPeria arrived on Thursday, and now that I’ve had a few days to play around with it, I thought I’d share some of my initial observations on it. This is not a review, just some impressions – I don’t pretend to know much about smart phones, so if I compare two phones and get it backwards, remember this is just my opinion 🙂
When selecting a new phone, I had had quite a broad range of choices, most notably between the XPeria, the HTC Touch Pro 2, one or two Nokias, and of course the iPhone. To cut a very long story short, I had not had much face-time with any of the phones, and only had user reviews to go on, as well as past experience with the different brands, and of course the price tag 🙂 My two previous phones were both Sony Ericssons, and I was more than happy with both of them. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Nokia range, and the whole iPhone software model I think is stupid. Also, (and many think I’m crazy for this part), I *wanted* a phone with Windows Mobile on it: being a .Net developer, I figured it would be handy to try my hand at some of the SDK functionality available (more on that in another post). Finally, the HTC Touch Pro 2 looked like a damn fine contender, but considering the price tag (more than double that of the X1), the few extra features were hardly convincing.
So, what is my initial impression? Basically, it’s a very cool piece of hardware.
The performance seems great so far (far, far superior to previous P990i on Symbian), and the touch screen is fine (granted, it will probably never come close to the iPhone, or so I’m told, but its perfectly functional) The QWERTY keyboard is excellent too. Interestingly, I had never held the QWERTY keyboard as a priority, but that is probably because I had never found one easy to use, and so had dismissed it completely as a viable input method. I am now converted! The camera is capable, though not important to me, and unfortunately the sound is a little soft. The connectivity (3G, HSUPA, Wifi etc) are all excellent, and extremely easy to set up. (I’m already connecting to the internet through 2 wifi networks, and then hsdpa/3g/gprs etc etc etc…. all seamlessly and automatically, with near-complete control. Something I could never quite get right on the p990i)
On the physical side, it’s a great looking phone: it’s got lots of metal bits rather than plastic, which feels great. It’s light enough not to pull your pants down, but heavy enough to feel like a real phone. It’s also not a brick, like many smart phones, and I think the size is perfect. The screen is very easy to read (though I suspect not so great in daylight, like most smart phones), and colours look great. (IIRC, only 65K, but I still believe more than that is of no real benefit. At least not for me…)
I’m still getting used to not having the standard keypad on the front, so dialling while driving, for example, is quite difficult (which is probably a good thing).
Ok, finally, I can’t write something about the X1 without mentioning the Panels. Panels are probably the most unique and strongest selling point of the X1, and with good reason too. Basically, think of a Panel as your default, or “home” screen. Usually, most of us will use a default panel showing the time, weather, appointments, missed calls, and a pretty background. However, you can quickly (as in, 2 “clicks”) change your panel to, say, the Skype panel, or a GPS panel, or the Radio panel, Facebook panel, etc…. Its difficult to describe it in a way that does it justice, but so far its proven to be pretty cool 🙂