I am Sony Ericsson Biased… Get over it!
I recently had the good fortune of getting my hands on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. I could not think of a more appropriate name, although I would prefer it if it were not marred by the bitter aftertaste of the Xperia X1. I should mention that HTC had a hand in manufacturing the Xperia X1. One can only assume corporate sabotage because there just weren’t any good intentions behind that creation! Enough about the black sheep, let’s focus on Mrs Slick. There is no doubt that this is a good looking phone, a Halle berry or Shakira of sorts, where beauty and intelligence converge. It’s understandably curvier than your average and perhaps too big for petit palms, but to truly experience this multimedia machine you need to have your eyes wide open and not squinting to focus small images.
This leads me to one of the flagship features of this phone- mediascape. Imagine being suspended weightless in a massive sphere enveloped in an elegantly stratified mist. It radiates an electric blue hue and in it floats translucent pages of your favourite videos, pictures and music files- all within your reach. Say, you dare to touch one- Alicia keys’ “unthinkable” single- the mist clears and the page expands to consume the sphere’s area with a vision of the album and you are immediately seduced by the smoothing tunes. You notice a relic overhead in the shape of the number 8 on its side. You recognise it as infinity. You grab it and this triggers the sphere to open up, the sides peeling away to reveal a world of information on Alicia keys. A story on her relationship with Swizz beats, aptly labelled “I’ll jack your man!”, zooms passed you. Confronted with all this information darting at you, you opt to leap towards a youtube video and you witness a live performs of the very song you were listening to. That is mediascape. Sony has recognised that consumers have inquiring minds and has made sure that should you want to know more about any artist, song or album on any type of media you are playing, it is one infinity click away.
Timescape is a similar concept. It populates all your social platforms (twitter, facebook, email, smses) in one place and arranges events on each in chronological order. Say you receive a sms from Thabo Mbheki telling you his whereabouts, followed by a facebook update from Julius Malema calling Suarez a “Bloody Agent” and a twitter update from Helen Zille recommending a toilet company- all of these will be stylishly arranged on stacked tile slabs revealing a glimpse of their contents. Once one is touched, the activated tile comes to the forefront and you get full view of the message/information. Again, there will be an infinity button. When activated, it opens up information on that contact- from pictures, to passed message conversation threads and their latest status updates on twitter and facebook. This is a revolutionary way of interacting with your contacts; however there is one huge setback… Sony has not thought out a way for contacts to automatically link themselves to the different accounts. This means that you will have the painstaking task of manually linking your contacts with their twitter and facebook accounts!!! It is all great and dandy if you are emo and are virtually friendless, but it is a problem if you are a true socialite.
The 8.1mega pixel camera is phenomenal by any standard and complimented well by the high resolution screen. However, it is rather lacklustre when confronted with low light conditions. The photo light might as well be used solely in place of a candle at a “plight for the earth” concert. An intriguing feature is the face recognition technology. When you take a picture you can tag the faces of your friends which the phone picks up. These are then automatically linked to the contact. The face recognition then makes every effort to recognise faces in future photos and tags them AUTOMATICALLY!! It seems to recognise some of my friends very well, however it has likened a few of my female friends to some of my male friends… more makeup for the girls perhaps or less pouting from the guys?
Sony Ericsson has opted to use the Anroid operating system, moving away from windows used in the X1. The Anroid applications market, although not as sizeable as Apples’, it is significantly stocked and growing exponentially with the increasing number of android phones entering the market. The introduction of applications puts the consumer in the role of architect. So if my Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 was a house It would have a well inhabited games room, a virtual newsroom and walls capable of adapting to my mood (themesJ). Considering that Anroid is a product of google, one can’t help but delve into some of the extraordinary applications which have been released from their stable. Google maps, the embedded GPS receiver, 3G and wifi transform this smartphone into a more than competent navigation system. The introduction of “street view” means you can have a realistic image of a neighbourhood. This could revolutionise the way gold diggers identify potential sugar daddies… Google goggles is a very fresh application which allows you to take pictures of products you know nothing of and google will send out its search dog to sniff out information on that product and bring back useful information links.
Ultimately, no product is perfect and the Xperia x10 is not without its flaws. Firstly, Sony Ericsson has opted to remove the capability of the phone to be used as a modem for your pc or laptop. This may prove to be quite annoying particularly if the most optimal browsing experience will be on your laptop. For example: downloading exceptionally large videos, viewing very wordy documents or opening a myriad of tabs at the same time. Hopefully there will be an application for that soon. The ability to use the phone as a remote control for your desktop is not standard, but you can download an application to remedy this. The battery life is quite short lived, but it has been difficult to truly gauge this as it is difficult to put the phone down. This is not a phone for the really technologically challenged, although there is a comprehensive manual installed on the phone to assist. No video calling means couples will have to stick to phone calls to spice up their love lives…The most annoying thing for me is not being able to easily send a “callme back”. If you find yourself with a contact with more than one number and their mobile number is not their default number, you cannot “edit before call” the number you are interested in!
Overall this is an impressive phone whose entry into the market was timed rather late. However it still remains very relevant with a promised operating system upgrade to further enhance its capabilities. This is a phone for the communicator, the curious thinker and the multimedia connoisseur. A true icon in the Sony Ericsson stable and with this overall solid 8 out of 10 grading, I testify that Sony Ericsson has made me believe.
- Looks: Halle Berry 9/10
- User Friendliness: Apprentice level 7/10
- Features/Functionality: Octopus 8/10
- Overall: Halle Berry, octopus 8/10?