Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 First Impressions

Sony Xperia X10I’ve got my hands on a $1100 Sony Xperia X10 for a couple of weeks. I was pleased and excited when the PR person offered me this device to review. The Android market in New Zealand has stagnated for a long time, but finally I thought we were getting some of the latest and greatest Android devices in-country.

Initial thoughts after 10 minutes: what unadulterated, utter crap. Seriously. Sony are harming the Android brand by leaving this device on the market with 1.6.

Plug in baby

First thing I need to do is plug in the charge cable. This requires me to use my fingernail to pop open a cheap, floppy flap on top of the phone, which doesn’t cleanly fold out of the way. I have to hold the phone in one hand, then use a finger to hold the flaccid flap out of the way while I plug the cable in with my other hand. Or perhaps I need three hands? Why the fuck do people put up with this bullshit? As far as I can tell, the only reason for this waste-of-space flapped plug on top of the phone is so that the equally useless lanyard loop can be elegantly centred on the bottom of the phone, where the charge port should be.

Witness the comedy live (well, kinda). Use your imagination as I try to open the flap, then plug in the cable, then open the flap, then open the flap again, then finally hold it open with one finger while trying to plug in the cable with the other hand.

I sit down to get on to the corporate WiFi network. Firstly the scrolling behaviour of the list of available WiFi networks is totally weird. It starts slow then speeds up when you let your thumb off, meaning things go flying off the end of the list. Then apparently I need to root the phone and have the SDK to be able to add a 3rd party root certificate (a very common setup for corporate networks)? Compare this to the iPhone, which just prompts once for the option to accept the unknown root cert.

The keyboard is an abomination. It’s unresponsive, and half the time won’t go away when I finish text entry, thus obscuring the “Done” button on the page I’m using. If I want to insert an exclamation mark inside a word I have to tap the “?!” button twice!? How intuitive is that? My experience is identical to Engadget’s review from a few months ago:
[quote]Keyboard input — a pretty important topic, if you ask us — was a surprisingly big problem on the X10. First off, you can’t consistently use the back button to clear the keyboard like you can on virtually every other Android device we used — here, it deletes everything in your current text field and keeps the keyboard up on the screen on occasion, thought we can’t nail down the pattern of the behavior. Much, much more dangerous, though, is the fact that we’re seeing all sorts of missed inputs. You’ll press a letter (and you get the character pop-up, so you know the keyboard has registered it), and maybe somewhere between 2 and 3 percent of the time, it won’t “take” — it just won’t go into your input box, which makes entering almost any text a maddening procedure.[/quote]

Let’s see how far we’ve come

Conclusion: 30 minutes with this device reminds me how far we’ve come since this sort of half-arsed attempt at interface wankery was accepted as “awesome”. I’m sorry but it’s true. I feel sorry to the PR person that sent me this phone, and I can’t wait to send it back.

Maybe the X11 will come with Android 2.2 and a less bullshit interface. But since when have Sony done anything as intelligent as that?

25 Replies to “Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 First Impressions”

  1. I quite liked this phone to be honest. I never had any problems connecting to my work’s Wi-Fi network, and had no issue whatsoever with the flap on top of the phone. To be fair, I haven’t used a great deal of Android devices, but I rather liked the interface on this phone (although I did miss pinch gestures etc). What phone do you use normally?

      1. Interesting. I use an iPhone too (as you may have guessed) and if I didn’t and was on the market I’d be tempted to pick up the X10.

        I also found that having to use two hands to plug the phone in wasn’t a huge deal, but that’s just me I guess.

  2. Spot on and clear as a bell. Am off to use any phone but the X11 to call the OED and demand the inclusion of a new verb: to “Ben” — as in, “OMG, the X11 just got Benned!”

    [Tune in next week when Ben calls a spade a fucking spade!]

  3. I have a similar flap for the USB connection on my Nokia 5800 (it still uses standard Nokia charger, not USB connection for charging) – it’s a little tricky to open, but will actually rotate out of the way.

  4. Pingback: Xperia X10
  5. Its sad that such shit-housery can be allowed to wear the Android name.

    At least HTC make up for the other joke manufacturers out there. (LG, Sony Ericsson)

  6. Thanks Ben.

    I’ve been waiting for an HTC for a long time. Then when the flatmate asked why I still (6 months later) have a crappy phone, I said “Well there’s no good Android phones on teh NZ networks- unless you want to import one and miss out of the regional support”. He said “Just get the new Sony Erricson! It’s beautiful! Get one now!”. I argued that I hated them after my first SE phone being my worst phone ever, but he pointed out that it’s been a long time since then (7 years) and they’ve come a long way.

    After reading three bad articles and seeing the same type of critical failures as they had in their old $100 12 month lifespan text and call only phones, but replicated in a $1000 phone, I think it’s safe to say those guys should just give up on making cellphones.

  7. I think the release of the Xperia X10 is great news. It lowered the price of the Xperia X1 enough for me to afford it and that does me just fine.

  8. Firstly the scrolling behaviour of the list of available WiFi networks is totally weird. It starts slow then speeds up when you let your thumb off, meaning things go flying off the end of the list.

    LOL! You a’int in Kansas anymore Toto! 🙂

    Not really weird, just different.

    Sounds like the behavior when you ‘flick’ in a scrolling list.

    In Android, a vertical flick gesture in a list fast-scrolls. Just touch it again to stop where you want.

    Slow scroll by sliding, rather than flicking.

    Doesn’t take long to get used to.

  9. The keyboard is an abomination. It’s unresponsive, and half the time won’t go away when I finish text entry, thus obscuring the “Done” button on the page I’m using.

    Normally the ‘Back’ button closes the keyboard if it remains open for some reason.

    If I want to insert an exclamation mark inside a word I have to tap the “?!” button twice!? How intuitive is that?

    Now that is strange. On the ordinary Android keyboard you just press the “123′ button to go to numeric and non-alpha characters, or hold down the key you want to get its alternative meaning.

    In many apps the keyboard is context sensitive though, so in an email address field or web adress entry, for example, an @ character and a ‘.com’ key are displayed on the main keyboard by the shift bar.

    1. There is also the long press functionality i.e hold your finger down on the period key ‘.’ and a popup menu will display with : / @ ‘ ” ? ! keys. the same works for all the a, i ,o and u keys for accent characters.

  10. The charging/USB port on the X10 is a bit of a strange one though.

    Why put it on top? It more or less means you have to cover it to keep crud out when it’s sitting in a car holder, hence the rubber thingy.

    But if you want to make it dockable, surely a bottom fitting (or perhaps side for landscape docking) makes more sense. Dont get it 🙁 ??

    Mind you, I doubt the rubber flap would be a deal breaker for me if it were running Froyo. 5 seconds with an Xacto knife would take care of that.

  11. Looking to replace my iPhone 3G, and as there is really no valid competitor in NZ I guess I’ll sick with iPhone and go to V4 in July.
    Android seems like a nice enough system, but the crappy handsets still feel like something out of the 90’s! Plastic – creaking when held, oor battery life and crashy.
    With my iPhone one of the things I realised I hadn’t done in about 6 months was reboot it. Windows Mobile is getting better, but there are hardly any apps for it as almost nothing written for WinCE or older windows mobile seems to run nicely in it. The only reason I’d pick WinMobile now it to work nicely with the Exchange system at work, but if that was what I wanted, Work can pay for my phone, not me! Active Synch to get my Calendar and contacts on iPhone is good enough for me.

  12. @Ben

    The Android market in New Zealand has stagnated for a long time, but finally I thought we were getting some of the latest and greatest Android devices in-country.

    Depends what you mean by stagnated. Vodafone NZ has cetainly been a big disappointment (especially compared to VFUK) but I suppose it’s only to be expected that the iPhone incumbent is lukewarm about introducing competing smartphones into the smallish NZ market, especially near IP4 release time.

    Given that they offer no Motorola phones at all now (fell out commerially??) and their only HTC phone has been part of a global deal I guess their only current Android vendor partner in NZ is SE. (Don’t know about LG, Acer and Samsung)

    But on the other hand, most of the high end Android phones are available from Parallel importers.

    Certainly you can get the HTC Desire, Nexus One, HTC Legend, HTC Hero and Motorola Milestone locally, with warranty.

  13. @John

    Android seems like a nice enough system, but the crappy handsets still feel like something out of the 90’s! Plastic – creaking when held, oor battery life and crashy.

    Everyone to their own style preferences, but this hasn’t been my experience with the HTC Magic. After a year there’s hardly a scratch on it the build quality is good.

    Battery life is at least as good as colleagues with iPhone 3G or 3Gs and 3G network coverage is far better than any current iPhone on Vodafone NZ. (Yeah, I know, IP4 will change that)

    The Nexus and Desire are both solid and well made phones as well.

    Android itself is very stable (as you’d expect from a Linux kernel). Some badly written apps can have a tendency to Force Close. That’s not the same as Android crashing.

    This happens less often now, as the SDK has improved.

  14. I am still using an HTC magic but believe that the Nexis One is still the best android phone, It may not have the latest set of hardware features (8 mp camera etc) but it is not far behind. It is however more likely to get OS updates than the devices from these other phone manufactures.

    Phone manufactures that are looking to get into the smartphone market seriously need to consider regular OS updates for at lest three years from the time a model was released.

    Also it is a pity that the android phones offered here in NZ are so few and week competitors to the iPhone. Accepted that you can purchase from parallel importers but you end up paying a premium (Nexis One should cost $800-$900 here not $1000+) and then having to add you mobile plan with data (no subsidy).

    Other android phone to consider (if willing to bye outright at a premium) are HTC Desire, HTC Legend both of which can be purchased for less than $1000.

  15. i believe it was a bit rushed, and neglected some features that not many individuals speak about. Everybody knows that the majority new smartphones have web, so why show that primary function at its bear minimum. Scroll up scroll down zoom in zoom out. Really? which new cellphone doesnt do that? How bout discuss how the textual content rearranges itsself. Additionally the texting, very poor review. Why didnt you point out you should use the mic and text with your voice? Neglected ALOT of other more vital options

  16. Does anyone know which type of video recordsdata are supported? I keep in mind the Instinct only could dl 3gp utilizing opera mini. I downloaded the twist ap, perhaps that’s the problem? How can I watch videos from websites aside from youtube? Which file varieties? Normally I am given the option of 3gp or mpeg4. Cannot get either to work. Thank you to your time! Damn I want I used to be eligible for the upgrade to EVO!

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