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It’s ben a while since we’ve taken a look at any cellphones here at TestFreaks, but the one I’ve got today is an excellent phone in both quality and usefulness.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 is a Windows Mobile slider style phone that features a full keyboard along with something that Sony calls Xpanels. The Xpanels are essentially different home screens for your phone, they’re customizable and you can get new ones as they are released. It features an 800×480 resolution touchscreen with stylus for input, an optical mouse and even handwriting recognition. The phone itself is very well made, mostly metal, and is very aesthetically pleasing, a very sleek and stylish phone for sure.

Continue on to learn more about one of the nicest phones I’ve reviewed to date…


To start off with I’ve got the video unboxing for you, check that out and continue on:

Here’s the box:

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We find a few things included with the Xperia, USB power adapter, USB charging and sync cable, CD, several pieces of materials related to the phone and a hands-free kit.

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The Xperia itself is very nice, in fact it’s one of the nicest looking phones I’ve yet to review, it’s very sleek and very well made. The majority of it is metal with plastic mixed in. It’s smaller than my current smartphone, but yet weighs about as much.

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It’s a slider that slides open to reveal an almost full keyboard, just four rows of keys with the user having to use the Fn key to access numbers and characters

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There is basic navigation on the front of the phone with one special button for Xpanels, the center button also acts as an optical mouse for easier navigation.

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On the back we find the 3.2MP camera along with flash/assist light.

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There’s not much on the sides of the phones there’s a camera button, audio connector, USB port, power button and of course the stylus is in the phone on the top.

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Specifications:

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Make it yours
Style the panel display to suit your needs. Switch between panels as you like – enjoy seamless access to the information and applications of your choice.

Speed and power
With Windows Mobile inside, you can enjoy your favorite entertainment and work efficiently on the move. Turbo 3G provides the speed you need.

Distinctive design
Arc slider design, 3 inch Wide VGA display and premium metal body: with its sophisticated and distinctive design, XPERIA X1 redefines premiumness.

XPERIA panel interface
Enjoy access to different experiences – Web, multimedia, applications – from your desktop. Navigate with the tip of your finger. Configure and have your XPERIA panels just the way you want them.

Multiple navigation
XPERIA X1 lets you interact via numerous intuitive ways. Touch, full QWERTY, 4-way key and optical joystick – you switch seamlessly between operation modes.

Handwriting Recognition
Text input using stylus on touchscreen: write a character as you would with a pen, and it transforms it into the corresponding letter on a keyboard.

Arc slider design
The arc design gives XPERIA X1 a distinctive and unique look. Slide the screen upwards to reveal the wide-pitch QWERTY keyboard.

Links you like
Forget cables – wireless is the way forward. Connect to other devices with Bluetooth to sync, share and send.

Specifications
Size
* 110.5 x 52.6 x 17.0 mm
* 4.4 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches

Weight
* 158.0 gr
* 5.6 oz

Screen
* 800 X 480
* 65,536 color touchscreen

Available colors
* Steel Silver

Memory
* Up to 400 MB Phone Memory
* MicroSD support (up to 16 GB)


My current phone is the HTC TyTn II or the AT&T Tilt, here’s a few comparison shots :

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As you can see my Tilt is larger than the Xperia, the screen seems to be wider but shorter when holding it is portrait mode. The Tilt also has a smaller resolution as well, half that of the Xperia X1. The keyboards are different, as you can see the keys on the Xperia are spaced apart while the Tilt’s are not.

Here’s another video for you of the interface and a tour of the phone along with my impressions, sort of a brief video review if you will…

As I mentioned in the video I couldn’t get the Opera Browser to work for me, not sure what the problem was there at all, that was the only real problem I ran into with the Xperia, basically I was stuck using Internet Explorer as the browser which worked fine for me.

The phone itself reacts fast to most things you do with it, the Xpanels is the only thing that sometimes reacts a bit slowly, but it is loading quite a few things at the same time so it can be forgiven for that.

The Xpanels are useful, it’s nice to be able to change things up very quickly, with other phones it takes a bit of work to switch the look of the home screen, with the Xpanels you just click to open and then select which one you want, very easy and quick. The Xpanels do offer a little bit of customization in terms of what’s there, and Sony does have a few more available for download also, with more on the way.

Call quality is very good, but then again I have no problems with AT&T service, that’s why I’ve been with them for several years now. I had no problems getting a signal anywhere I went, and no dropped calls either.

I used the Xperia with my Jawbone2 Bluetooth headset with no problems either, paired it once and it connected automatically when I turned it on again.

Battery life is great even when using Bluetooth and web browsing I easily got the rated battery life from the Xperia X1.

Build quality is excellent, I very much like the angled slider, since the Tilt is my primary phone I much prefer the display to be at an angle and don’t like the flat style sliders really. Of course the Xperia doesn’t have quite the tilt that the Tilt does, it’s much better than being totally flat though.

So here’s a demo of the video camera:

The Xperia does feature a flash that doubles as an assist light for videos as well. Here are sample pictures taken with and without the flash:

Without Flash:

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The camera in the Xperia really likes a lot of light to take good pictures and you need to hold it very still as well.

With Flash:

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You can see with he flash the pictures are much brighter and whiter overall, but even with the flash the pictures aren’t that great, you really need to hold the phone steady when taking pictures.

Macro Mode:

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While in Macro mode you can get closer, but still not very close, though not bad for a cellphone camera.

I was playing with the Xperia while I was waiting to pick my kids up from school, so here’s a few using natural light, interior of my car basically:

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as you can see the camera of the Xperia likes sunlight much better that indoor lighting, the photos are crisp and clear.

Overall pictures are very nice outdoors in natural lighting, indoor pictures, even with the flash aren’t that great unless you hold the phone very still.

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Conclusion:

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 is one of the best phones on the market today in terms of both build quality and usfulness, it works and works well. The Xperia X1 can easily be your mobile office and portable entertainemt center, with Windows Mobile at the heart of the Xperia, most people should be very familiar with it and how it works. The full keyboard and angled screen make using the Xperia easy and a pleasant experience, the angled screen allows for much easier viewing as well.

The Xpanels are a nice addition to the phone, you can quickly and easily change the appearance of the screen top suit your tastes and needs, they are customizable so no two will be the same, and with Sony coming out with more of them you’ll have more choices as well.

Picture quality could be better, especially indoors, I wasn’t too impressed by the 3.2MP camera, I honestly expected a bit more out of it.

9

Pros:
Very well made
Easy to use
Excellent call quality
Great battery life

Cons:
Slow to respond at times
Opera browser wouldn’t work for me
Expensive
Pictures could be better

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-10-10
Performance score-9-10