Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 Review
It looks like a bigger version of the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini but can the Xperia X8 live up to the functionality of its smaller sibling? Running an older Android OS with a low powered processing chip in a highly competitive market what can the X8 offer?
For a mid-range smartphone the Xperia X8 has a pleasantly robust build. To look at the X8 is a bigger version of the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini. Measuring 99 x 54 x 15mm and weighing only 104g, despite its solid construction, coupled with its curved back the Xperia X8 sits comfortably in the hand. Along the top edge of the handset you will find a covered microUSB port, the power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The right hand spine houses the volume rocker switch and a dedicated camera button and on the back is the speaker and camera. The 3 inch screen with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels is solid but despite its capacitive technology proved to be unresponsive. Beneath the screen are the three standard physical buttons as found on the X10 Mini – Menu, Back and Home.
Built on the Android 1.6 Donut operating system the Sony Ericsson has added the same heavily customised User Interface as they employed with the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro. This gives a different look to the Homescreen with one large widget in the middle of the screen and four corner app shortcuts where you can link to your favourite app icons. It takes a little getting used to if you are more familiar with pure Android systems but once set up is a very workable interface. Sony Ericsson have added some useful widgets to the Xperia X8 including one dedicated to monitoring data usage and one specifically for turning the data function on or off. This could potentially save you from clocking up extra expense caused by backgroung data transfer.
Call quality on the Xperia X8 is good and the speaker was also loud and clear. When it comes to messaging the X8 has a full QWERTY keyboard, but if you combine the small screen size and unresponsiveness of the screen you won’t be writing essays on it. The contacts menu is enhanced by the addition of Sony Ericsson’s Timescape which allows you to link Twitter and Facebook contacts.
If you are someone who does a lot of web browsing we don’t recommend you choose the Xperia X8 which has the same Android 1.6 web browser as found on the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini. There is no multi-touch control which means to zoom into a page you have to tap the screen and use the magnifying glass symbol. However web pages do scroll across the screen quickly and text is crisp and clear. This basic browser does not have many features, but one useful function is the ability to file shortcuts in the app drawer allowing you to load a web page from the app icon.
The music player on the Xperia X8 has been tweaked by Sony Ericsson to deliver a better user interface, a key element of which is the infinity key. Tapping this initiates an internet search related to the artist currently playing and is a great shortcut to finding a video for the track. The good quality speaker and included headphones also adds to the experience.
Watching video on the X8 is not as rewarding as all video needed to be stored on the SD card in MP4 format for it to play.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 has a very low spec camera which is not up to much more than snapping very basic pictures. With only a 3 megapixel sensor and no flash or autofocus it is not a camera to replace your dedicated DSLR and a poor offering when compared to many smartphones in a similar price bracket. The camera also has very limited functionality options. There is the option of geotagging and there are four scene settings as well as the ability to record video but that, in a nutshell, is it.
By virtue of the small 3 inch screen and the low spec 600 MHz processor the 1200mAh battery of the Xperia X8 has an impressive life span and will last at least two days before needing a recharge.
Xperia X8 Price
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is available on 24 month contract from around £26 per month.
Even for a more affordable smartphone the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 cannot compete with other models out there. With its outdated operating system, unresponsive touchscreen and ridiculously low spec camera it is not a phone people are going to rush out and buy.