Friday, May 6, 2011

Sony Ericsson XPERIA mini and mini pro hands-on

Sony Ericsson yesterday announced the XPERIA mini and mini Pro, successors to the XPERIA X10 mini and X10 mini Pro. I was at the London press conference where I had the chance to go hands-on with the newly announced devices.

Both the XPERIA mini and mini Pro are powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with Adreno 205 GPU, the same processor speed that powers their flagship XPERIA Arc and Play, and 512MB RAM. They will run on the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. The phones features a 3″ LCD display (up from 2.55" from the X10 mini) with HVGA resolution (480 x 320) powered by Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine - a software that optimises the contrast and colour. The 5MP camera on the back (not Exmor-R) is capable of 720p video recording. Both will have the same 1200mAh battery. The XPERIA mini Pro will also feature a front camera with VGA video and four-row slide-out keyboard.

I personally found both the XPERIA mini and mini Pro to be rather cute. Despite being rather thick, they are both comfortable to hold and use. The screen is delightfully responsive and the 3″ screen did not feel as cramped as on the old X10 mini variants. In fact the small screen makes it easier to use Android one-handed as every corner of the screen is within reach. The HVGA resolution ensures that the screen is sharp. The homescreen corner touch UI is similar to the one that came with the XPERIA X10 mini, and is optimised for the small screen. It also contains the same Overview mode that début with the XPERIA Arc, Neo, Play and Pro.

The XPERIA mini Pro’s keyboard was a delightful surprise, in that it was a joy to use. The width of the keyboard is similar to that of a typical candybar QWERTY smartphone (e.g. Blackberry) and is very comfortable to type on. Keys were well spaced and gave good amount of feedback. Both devices are fast to operate thanks to the fast single core 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with Adreno 205 GPU having only to power a HVGA display. The fact that it comes with the latest and greatest Android optimised for smartphone also helps.

With the XPERIA mini and mini Pro, Sony Ericsson has made wide promises on how they will integrate services from other companies deeply into the operating system in order to differentiate from their competitors. Deep Facebook integration that will début with the new phones will allow users to enjoy Facebook features without using a client. If you are tagged in a picture, the picture will be automatically be available from the Gallery application. Similarly all your Facebook photo albums will also be one-tap away. A ‘like’ button in the music player will allow you to share tracks on your Facebook wall. 

Sony Ericsson were keen to stress out that the XPERIA mini and mini Pro are not ‘Facebook phones’ and integrations are also being planned for other social media services like Foursquare and Twitter. They will never put a Facebook logo on the device, nor create a dedicated button like how HTC did with the ChaCha. These integrations will also be made available as an OTA update for Sony Ericsson other XPERIA phones, like the Arc and Pro.

No price or availability has been announced yet but both to go on sale August of this year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cute phones!