Mr. Mobile: Two Sony Ericsson Phones
Jay takes a look at the C510 and Xperia X1 from Sony Ericsson.
Jay Goldman: Hi I'm Jay Goldman and you're watching Mr. Mobile on butterscotch.com. Today a look at these two phones which come to us from Sony Ericsson. Now a lot of people don't follow Sony Ericsson, there are not one of the major Smartphone players and they do have a surprising number of phones available in the market, in fact if you go to their website it's actually overwhelming how many phone they produce on an international scale. So if you're looking for a phone that's not one of the traditional Smartphones, maybe you don't even need a Smartphone and you're looking for something that's a little bit simpler definitely give them a look, they are carried by almost all the major carriers, so no matter where you are in the world you should have access to at least one Sony Ericsson model and they produce really reliable phones.
They are very solid feeling, specially the Xperia X1 that we're going to talk about today, but also this one, the C510. If you're looking for a simpler phone that doesn't have a lot of the Smartphone features, you should really take a look at this, because you could drop this phone, nothing is going to happen to it; reliable, solid and actually very reasonably priced. So let's take a look at C510 first. It is the simpler of the two phones that we're going to take a look at today. It's, as I said a great basic phone and one of the features of this that they really hype is the Cyber-shot camera that's built into the back. Sony has been producing digital cameras for a long time, under the Cyber-shot brand those are sort of your traditional standalone digital cameras rather than the ones that are integrated into a phone.
But the nice thing about this one is it hides inside of this little shutter here, so you just pop it open when you want to take a picture, it doesn't look like it even opens all that much, but it does reveal the lens and the Xenon flash. Now a lot of Smartphones are starting to come with a flash on the back, but a lot of them are also cheaping out and putting an LED flash which isn't nearly as bright as a the Xenon. You can take pictures in complete darkness with this, it will light up a room, no problems there. It's actually a really decent camera. So what I would say about this phone particularly is that if you're looking for a phone that you can slip in your pocket and is small, but you take a lot of pictures while you're out on the road, you should really take a look at a phone that's got a decent camera built into the back.
The camera has a memory Stick Micro or M2 port for expanded memory cards. There's a second camera on the front of the device for front facing camera for video calling, so if you're on a 3G network that supports video calling and you're calling somebody else who also has a camera on the front of their phone you can actually do a video call. The phone includes an accelerometer for screen rotation like the iPhone or Pre or even some of the BlackBerries. The does not include a GPS, but it does use cellphone triangulation, so there are a couple of places where you can use it to say for example geotag your photos, its not nearly as reliable as having a GPS would be, but this is an entry level phone so it's not a big surprise that it was omitted. Maybe something that they consider adding to another phone later on, which will probably have a name like C530 instead of C510.
But if you don't need GPS it's not that big a deal, because as I said there is location based on cellphone triangulation or using the location of three cellphone towers that the phone can see to figure out where it is in the middle. It does have basic web browsing functionality, it's kind of what you would expect from an entry level phone that doesn't have a big screen or a touch screen, so it doesn't do a great job of rendering most websites, but if you're browsing stuff that has been optimized for mobile you will get a pretty decent experience, I wouldn't buy this phone if you are somebody who likes to do a lot of web browsing on the road, but if you are somebody who just occasionally wants to look up a movie show time of the weather or something like that, it will definitely serve your purpose, most carriers include a portal that you can access where they've got that type of information that has been optimized for display on non-Smartphones or I suppose you might say dumb phones. So using their portal will give you a much better result than just sort of browsing the web at large.
Good phone, reasonably priced. In fact I've seen it as low as low about 50 bucks depending on that plan that you're willing to subscribe to from your carrier. It's about 299 if you're not willing to subscribe to a plan and just want to pay for it outright and as I said available in most countries in the world from the major carriers.
Now we're going to take a look at the second phone, which is one of the Smartphones that is actually available from Sony Ericsson is called the Xperia X1. Now this phone as I mentioned earlier is built like a tank. In fact some of the people that I showed it to when I was taking it out of the box and playing with it for the first time commented that it has almost an old school feel to it, as opposed to the sort of sleeker Smartphones that are coming out in the market these days, this thing looks and feels like you could run it over and nothing would happen to it. It's hiding a key board inside, so you've got the full QWERTY, slides up like that and a little bit similar to the Pre with the slide motion except on the long side instead of on the short of side and that have a big advantage in that when you're browsing the web and are looking at something like Google, you can actually type in the two thumb mode rather than typing in the sort of cramped format along the bottom of the phone. So I do like where they've put that.
This phone runs Windows Mobile. Now everybody beats up on Microsoft, it's not much of a challenge, it's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, especially when you're talking about Windows Mobile. Of all the operating systems that are out there for Smartphones right now this is not the one that you want to look for in your phone. It's got some great features for it and certainly one of those is full exchange support. So if you're a corporate user and you're in a business environment where you run exchange, especially if you're in one that doesn't have access to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or a BES Server, which means you can't run a BlackBerry, you want to take a look at a Windows Smartphone because it will give full exchange syncing support for your email, calendar and all that kind of stuff.
If you're not in that environment, you may want to think twice before going down the Windows road. And some people say well I've got experience with Windows on the desktop so that gives me experience that I can carry over to the phone and that's sort of true in that they're both similarly frustrating. I'm not sure that I would recommend it though and one of the signs that this may not be the phone that you're looking for or at least for me is when it comes with a stylus. We've gone so far ahead with touch screens right now, you look at the iPhone, you look at the Pre, even the Storm, that you start to think maybe I don't need something that allows me to hit tiny little targets and this is especially true if you're typing on here in portrait mode, the keys on the keyboard are so small that you really have to look closely at the phone in order to be able to type even with the stylus.
It does come with a backup one, because you're inevitably going to lose this. But even said, you know, I would still think twice about taking a phone that actually requires that. So that said, it is a really nice of hardware and they've done something really cool with this button on the front here called X-Panel. X-Panels which appear on the screen when you hit the button and they're basically sort of almost like the current metaphor in the Palm Pre webOS, they're configurable panels that give you access to an application or a set of data, so it comes with a bunch predefined and the ones that appear here on the screen right out of the box are things like your calendar, a clock, a screensaver, media playback, that kind of thing, there's also a Google one down in the bottom corner and it's really easy to hit that button, pick the one you want and jump over to it. Some of you may recognize this sort of thing if you use something like for example spaces on the Mac OS which allows you to kind of have preconfigured workspaces and be able to jump into them.
First time I've seen it on a phone and I really do like the feature a lot. You can also configure your own panels and they've got sort of a library of panels that you can install on it. And so you know if you were the kind of person who does a lot of say configuring of your Google, iGoogle desktop with widgets, that will feel very familiar and it's actually a very handy feature. I definitely commend them for including it in the phone. Pretty standard hardware that you would expect to find on a phone like this. You got a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back with a flash, standard 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on the top, second front facing camera up on the front for doing video calling, similar to the C510.
You've got a backlit QWERTY keyboard in here which is nice when you're using it in dark situations, so that light comes through keys and you can see it much more easily. There is a removable battery in the back with an SD memory card slot underneath it, which means you have to take the battery out to get to the card, that's not a problem if you leave the same card in all the time, but if you are somebody who wants to swap those out on a regular basis it can be a little bit frustrating to have to pop the battery.
Lastly you've got a USB port on the side for syncing and charging the phone. Web browsing on this phone isn't quite the same as you might find on some of the other Smartphones around the market, it does a reasonably good job of rending most websites and the screen is actually quite wide, so if you are using it in landscape mode you get quite a lot of content on there. The thing about the touch screen is actually it's a resistive touch screen rather than capacity of touch screen that you see on some of the other phones in the market, especially on the Pre and iPhone and resistive touch screen have less sensitivity. So you have to be much more precise with your targets hence why the phone actually does come with a stylus.
Also being capacitive rather than -- or being resistive rather than capacitive you don't have to use your fingers on it. So capacitive touch screens works because your finger conducts a little bit of electricity and that's sort of completes the circuit, resistive is actually pressure based, which why the stylus works. One advantage to resistive screens is that in winter time when you don't want to take your gloves off and it's cold outside you can use the stylus or even the tip of your glove to actually activate the touch screen. On the whole though it's not as good a technology and it's definitely less sensitive, so you will get a better touch screen experience and you will get multi-touch on some of the other Smartphones that are on the market.
This phone is remarkably expensive if you don't take a plan at 599, so I mean obviously prices will vary carrier to carrier, but that seems to be pretty much an average. For 600 bucks you could buy a lot of other phones that are on the market, they do at great subsidized rate though, I've seen it for about $250, so at 250 it's definitely a reasonably choice if you're looking for the set of functionality that's on here and again if you're in an exchange environment at work and you want to be able to use the phone that has the best and most reliable exchange support, you probably do want to take a look at Windows phone and if you're looking at Windows Smartphones this is definitely a contender.
I'm Jay Goldman, this has been Mr. Mobile on butterscotch.com. Thanks a lot for watching, check our website for some past episodes and we'll catch you next time.
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