Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 hands on review

Decided that it would be unfair to comment on features that are more phone oriented in the Android 2.1 review article, so here are some in relevant to the Sony Ericsson X10 phone.  How relevant they are to other Android phones needs to be based on the phone you have 🙂

Camera and multimedia

  • 8MP camera, good on mega pixel but with a weak flash indoor photographs are crap to worthless.  However the daylight photos are very good and have a lot of detail, with the only issue being in very bright light where the photos are heavily exposed and can end up with very little detail and lots of light.
  • Some overly intelligent engineer at Sony Ericsson decided not to have an option for the flash in the menu and hide it as the “Photo Flash” in the Advanced Menu.  Super intelligent and totally non-user friendly.  So if you want the flash at your fingertips, this is not the phone.  Also third party Camera software such as eCamera do not detect the flash, so some issue with the SE implementation of the camera.  The Nokia phones may overuse the flash but they at least give you blur free pics, not so with this phone, got to be lucky to get blur free indoors.  However the LED light is more a camera light / torch light, so its practically useless for shooting still photos.
  • The touch focus works super fast, but is rather slow and inaccurate for precise work, however the touch focus works beautifully for landscapes and is ideal since the hardware camera focus button is so hard to press that when you press it you get blurred photos (UPDATE: Seems the blurry photo issue is associated with Android 2.1, so not a Sony Ericsson issue but i still think the hardware button is too firm).  Forget the build in image stabilization, its pure software and crap, not seen any use for it.
  • Smile recognition is another feature, but unlike a digital camera implementation it takes a long time to lock and shoot, so only ideal with adults who will remain smiling until you tell them not too.
  • The camera features have several combinations, and Sony Ericsson developers have made life very hard that you need to work out these combinations. E.g. With smile recognition enabled the hardware button won’t work, and for macro you need to make sure you have the correct mode enabled.  Would be great if these automations were worked out by the software, rather than making the user do it.   From a software perspective we have gone back several steps compared to what we had in phones, and this coming from camera experts Sony is very dissapointing.
  • The autofocus is there alright, but its so slow, that it borders uselessness.  However eCamera focuses much faster, so its a problem with the Sony Ericsson software.
  • The video quality is pretty decent and performs decently under low light as well, much better than the still photos in low light which is very strange.

Keyboard

  • The SE default keyboard simply stated is CRAP.  The sensitivity is not great, and the error rate high compared to using with the N97.  For the people who want to text, just get a full QWERTY hardware keyboard phone in the likes of a E-series nokia or blackberry or a full keyboard Android if you want an Android based phone.  However i tried out the SwiftKey keyboard which was a marked improvement over the default keyboard, so clearly another areas where SE can just buy a third keyboard than wasting their time writing one.

Photo Gallery

Some pictures taken from the camera using the standard camera app, and other camera apps such as eCamera, FXCamera.

Taken during the day, the quality of pictures is pretty good and the metering quite decent, though the skies seems a bit overexposed.

Taken indoor in some testing light condition, flash photo light switched off. Quite surprised that the output has been good.  However this only applies only to fixed landscapes, any moving objects come out blurred and smudged.

Again when the light conditions are favorable the pictures turn out pretty good for a phone camera.

Taken indoors under weak florescent lighting.  Flash / Photo light was not activated (though doubt if that would have done any difference).  Look decent but you can see the picture is very noisy.

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