Tag Archives: Eclair

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 ūüôā

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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Syncing up your contacts from a Nokia phone to an Android


Unless your phones PC connectivity solution comes with this capability (Sony Ericsson’s software does not as as Jan 2011), you have a long and rather complex option. However the Android Market has software that can do this, but they are not free.

  1. Save the outlook contacts as a CSV.  Problem, outlook cannot do that, and I had to track down a tool that worked as an outlook add-on but was very low on usability (You have to select each field you need).
  2. You then need to go to gmail and import the contacts
  3. Then you need sync the contacts from gmail to your phone
  4. However there is a bug, that some of the contacts have wrong phone no’s. ¬†However the CSV file has the correct no’s, so problems with the google import process ūüôā

UPDATE: Not a bug but google mail contact importer does not support all fields in outlook, and also expects the names of the columns to match its. The best way is to create a sample contact in google and export it to get the format!   Read http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=12119andhttp://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=14024&hl=en to get more context.

From Symbian to Android – my experiences


Afters years of Nokia Symbian ownership decided i need to try out one of the more popular smartphone platforms.  If the Nokia N8 did not have the hardware failure, I was also set in purchasing it, since the legacy feel of Symbian3, weak app market (ovi) were not big issues, though the lower resolution screen was a bit of bummer.  The C7 is a decent lower model, but the full-focusing camera makes it not good since the ability for a camera in the phone to take picture of a whiteboard or a receipt is vital. Full focus while doing a good job with normal pics, can only focus beyond 50cm, so that means no macro at all.

While the IPhone 4 is a very appealing proposition, specially with the rich app store, the bordering arrogance (putting it mildly) of Apple on how they handle their sales put me off.   I also found from the official local agent for Apple that Apple has prohibited selling the IPhone in my country, and this is something i have not seen with any other vendor.  So off went the Apple IPhone no matter how good!

So then the option was to get into the more wilder Android market. ¬†The Galaxy S was the choice, but with budgets, i took the Sony Ericsson X10 (yeah yeah, support is crap, no proper multi-touch, Froyo aint’ ¬†coming here……………………..) as the replacement for the Nokia N97 mini.

First impressions,

PROS

– The app store is definitely richer

– The apps are far more smoother than the N97mini. Then again this is running a processor that 2.5X of the N97 mini and has a dedicated graphic card, so i guess that not a fair comparison

– The higher no of pixels are definitely useful, as you see the difference when browsing and reading content such as pdfs, etc. Definitely a worthy improvement

– The multiple desktops, definitely helps customize the apps into groups, and the lack of restrictions on the size of the widget makes it even more neater

CONS

РOutlook sync:: NO OUTLOOK sync.  This really surprised me. Here i have synced my contacts with outlook, and were all ready to sync to find that i cannot.  The work around was messy and complex, unless you buy a commercial tool.  This is how i got around it without any special tool, but its a manual process based on reading the net and then doing some of my own experiments.  See  https://rayazmuthalif.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/syncing-up-your-contacts-from-a-nokia-phone-to-an-android/.  Quite surprising considering google must be having loads of users converting from nokia and and other phones and no having a Google tool for this is ridiculous.

РTethering:: No built in tethering, i mean sure it supports it but its all via downloads from the market.  Things that Nokia gave free are sadly not bundled.  The sync app is super featureless, with only media transfers, and a file manager.  No wonder manufacturers love Android, their costs are  lowered in the investment on apps.

Р User Experience:: Maybe its the SE implementation but the touch interface is not smooth, i have tried the iPhone and this is no match for the iOS interface (yet).

– Usability:: who said Symbian was bad. ¬†Just try going through the menu options on Android. ¬†It is no good either. ¬†Stevey J and the boys definitely have that end covered. My wife who had a time learning to use the N97MINI, simply used this and said, only for the techies, as its just to overly complex for a phone. ¬†Can’t disagree with her on that, this is more like a desktop OS than a phone OS.

РMultimedia:: Woo.. seems like the video codec we took for granted is not available as yet for Android phones.  The Galaxy S is the first certified DIVX supported phone, which means none of the other phones have official divx support.  Add to it there is no Divx software for Androids as yet.  Seems the current Divx implementations are all software based, so expect heavy battery drain when playing Divx

– Camera:: Have you noticed that most Android camera’s have no proper flash. ¬†The much famed Galaxy S for instance does not even have any sort of flash. ¬†However don’ t think its because they use any great sensor, the Nokia N8 sensor rules in this arena. ¬†The current camera capabilities are limited in Android, with very little control. ¬†Most of what you see in the camera apps is thanks to the manufacturer, not Google Android.

РFree Apps drain power and increase data costs due to Ad download:: Apps are free on on the google app market, BUT.. a big BUT, most of them require internet connectivity to work, since they need to download ads.  This could be a no no for many users in our market since unless you buy a data package bundle you can end up with big bills.  So watch out.