I’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?