Is the XPERIA ‘Xceptional'?
The very lovely Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8
A great mid-range smart phone let down by a couple of features, not least running the out of date 1.6 version of Android.
What We Like
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 is a very good-looking phone, which will give you access to a multitude of apps on the Android Market, including many for Facebook and Twitter.
The X8 supports Wi-Fi and HSPA for fast browsing over 3G and there is also a GPS on board. We found call quality to be good, both clear and loud enough, but we were a little disappointed with the slow response of the phone dialler.
We were surprised at just how loud the external speakers are, so sharing your music isn’t a problem, but if you want to keep it to yourself, there are earbud headphones included, which are actually quite good quality.
Putting music onto your X8 is easy to do; you can drag and drop music from your computer using a USB cable straight onto the phone’s memory, and you can utilise music software like MediaMonkey or DoubleTwist.
The X8 also has an ‘infinity button’ in the media player that really impressed us. Tap it while a song is playing and it will search for associated videos on YouTube, and MP3s for sale in Sony’s PlayNow music store. If you get fed up of your own music, you can always listen to the FM radio instead.
The on-screen keyboard is a full QWERTY one, and can used either in landscape or portrait mode. It’s an excellent virtual keyboard enhanced with autocorrect.
The built in memory of 128MB can be increased up to 16GB, and a2GB microSD card is included. The processor is a 600MHz Qualcomm CPU, and is perfectly sufficient for this phone.
What We Don't Like
If you’ve never had an Android phone before, you may not notice the fact that the X8 is running with the old 1.6 version, especially as Sony Ericsson has included its own user interface on top of the Android one. However, it does mean that you won’t be able to access Android’s improved developments such as support for multiple Google accounts or Exchange email.
The screen is 3 inches and the user interface supports many home screens easily. However, the interface has been taken from the X10 mini, which has a 2.5 inch screen so icons look blurred, and each screen can only show one widget at a time.
Sony Ericsson has included their feature, Timescape on the X8, which brings together emails, tweets and texts into one stream. A great concept but it falls flat because when you open the app you only see a few words of each. If you want to reply, to a tweet, for example, you have to open the Web browser and load up the Twitter site.
The X8 doesn’t support Flash, which is unfortunate, though there is a dedicated app to support YouTube videos.
The X8 is a good mid range smart phone with some excellent features; the screen is big enough to handle the QWERTY keyboard, but isn’t bulky, and it has good media and Web capabilities. This is a fine phone if you don’t mind not being able to access the full Android Market because of the outdated 1.6 version the X8 is running.