By October 13, 2008

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 – answers!

I thought I would start a new post in order to answer the many questions that you all posed about the Xperia X1. Apologies for the hold up but my C&J X1 arrived on Thursday minus the battery so I had to wait until the battery arrived yesterday before I could really start playing with the X1.

So let me just explain a little about the handset that I have. This is a C&J unit which stands for Customer & Journalist. It’s pretty much what you would consider to be final release spec. The hardware will no change between this and the final retail version but it is possible that the ROM build will vary slightly. It also arrived in a plain white box, hence no unboxing video!

So let’s start off with a selection of photos of the X1 and I’ll discuss them as we go. I’ll move on to the Q&A after.


The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

X1_open X1_angled

As you all know, the X1 has a sliding QWERTY keyboard that slides open on an arc which is supposed to make the screen easier to see while using the keyboard.

X1_left X1_right

One the left hand side there’s the MiniUSB connector and at the bottom a small ‘grille’ over the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker isn’t particularly loud though! I have to say that the MiniUSB connector on the side of the device is a little annoying, especially if you plan to use a car charger/holder as it will need a loose fitting cable.


On the top of the device you can find the power button and the 3.5mm headphone socket which permits the use of normal headphones.

X1_back X1_sim

So on the back we have the 3.2 Megapixel camera complete with ‘flash’. You have to remove the back cover in order to insert/remove the MicroSD card and also remove the battery to access the SIM card.

X1_dpad X1_screen

The D-pad has a recess in the middle which acts as an enter button when you press it and also as an optical pad. The problem I have with this is that you have to run your finger or thumb in the recess for the ‘optical joystick’ to work which limits how effective it is. Similar thing applies to the touchscreen. There is a bezel around the screen which makes using your fingers, rather than the stylus, that bit more difficult, especially getting in to the corners where you want to press the close button.


Finally, the keyboard itself is really quite nice, the 4 rows of keys are well space out allowing for a quick typing rate although the placement of the numeric keys, as a shift function of the keys on the right rather than across the top row of keys, may take some getting used to!


The Q&A

What’s the in-call sound quality like?

In-call the X1 is ok. There’s plenty of volume from the speaker meaning that I don’t need to have it set to maximum. The speaker itself is also reasonably good.

What is the actual RAM in the device?

The X1 has 384 MB RAM but you’ll note that the device information screen says 256MB. This is because the X1 also has an additional 128MB RAM that’s only accessible to the CPU/3D chip. There isn’t really anyway way to know this apart from taking SE’s work although HTC also confirm this but we’re looking for a way for end users to verify for themselves.

What is the Spb Panel like?

There’s a version of Spb Mobile Shell pre-installed on the X1. I’m sure fans of mobile shell will like this version but I still prefer TouchFlo.

Can you post sample videos taken from the Xperia camera?

Yep, I’ll have some of these up for you shortly.

How much free memory available on the device with Panels running and with Panels turned off?

With just the standard Windows Mobile screen in use it’s showing as having 137MB free, this amount only seems to vary by a few MB with the moste complex panels loaded.

Black or Silver? Which one do you think is best?

I personally prefer the black.

Does it have a motion sensor?


How is the speed switching between portrait and landscape with active panels?

Depends on the panel that you have open at the time. Some panels have more on them so take a little longer to rotate. I personally do not think it’s too big a deal, half a second perhaps.

How is the feel and reaction of the control touch pad?

As I mentioned above I don’t like how recessed the optical joystick is, I find it a little awkward to use and therefore have it turned off. I just used the regular d-pad. It’s responsive enough though.

Can you mention the processor in the device? Is it MSM7200 or MSM7201A (like the Touch Pro)? If it is MSM7200, can you mention any difference b/w the two processors from an end-user point of view – i.e. if the Touch Pro has an actual advantage over Xperia having the MSM7201A processor.

The X1 has the MSM7200. From an end user point of view I cant really tell the difference, I’m not sure what I would be looking for in performance difference. I’ll benchmark the Touch Pro and the X1 later and comment on the difference from that point of view.

How is the sound output quality of the media player? Is it good enough to use high-end headphones with, and how does it compare with more music-oriented phones like the iPhone or Nokia 5800?

I’ve got some fairly expensive headphones that I’ve been using with the X1. The audio quality is really quite good, I’m certainly happy with it. I can’t really choose between the X1 and my Sony Walkman MP3 player in this respect.

How well does the FM radio work? How is its reception in areas with weak signals?

I live in an area which is very poor for radio and phone coverage. With the Touch Diamond, I am unable to pick up and FM Radio service but on the X1 I can pick up a few of the local stations. What I also like about the X1 is that you can play the radio through the phone’s loudspeaker, although you still have to have the headphones connected as an aerial.

How well does it hold on to cellular signals during calls?

As I said above, I live in an area that’s really poor for phone coverage and all the networks are bad. The X1 shows 1 to 2 bars of coverage on Orange where the Touch Pro and the Touch Diamond get no reception at all. Definitely better than the Touch devices in that respect but nowhere near as good as a basic Nokia handset!

Does the Google panel have an offline mode?

No, the Google panel really only gives you direct access to Google searches and links to Google Maps, Google Mail and Google Calendar, all of which open up an ineternet connection.

Is the hardware fast enough to cope with several applications in the background?

Have been opening and closing applications all day, playing music and videos, browsing the internet using Opera and playing with MSN and emails. Seems ok to me, haven’t really noticed a slow down due to the apps that I am running.

How quickly does using GPS, 3G/HSDPA and Wi-Fi drain the battery?

Very difficult to comment on the battery life at this early stage but it looks like being better than the Diamond and on par with, if not better than, the Touch Pro. There is a bigger battery on the X1 so perhaps no surprise that it would last longer. Once I settle down and use it during the week I’ll be in a better position to comment.

Which is better, the X1 or the Touch Pro?

This is another difficult question to answer. I quite like both devices. I think which one would suit you best depends on how you use, or intend to use the phone. If you are a touchscreen lover that wants to use the touchscreen for almost everything (apart from emails with the QWERTY of course) without having to resort to the stylus then the TouchFlo3D interface coupled with the flush screen of the Touch Pro would be your better bet. If however you don’t want to use the touchscreen as much and prefer using physical buttons then the X1 with its additional softkeys might suit you better.


The review is now live but don’t forget to take a look at our Xperia X1 tour video!

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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