When we talk about smartphone these days, one of the few things that come to mind is the 4 inch and upwards display size and most of the time, a large phone itself. But lest we forget that there is also a market out there for ultra-compact smartphones as Sony Ericsson tries to prove with the successor to its Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini, the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini. Let’s find out how this phone has been improved to cater to the users.
As we had mentioned in previous reviews on Sony Ericsson phones, they are one of the few manufacturers who work real hard in keeping their UI different from the rest. This customization for Android was previously done with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini but now it has been updated and also made to fit the bigger screen. The one year gap between these phones has produced a better UI in the sense that it’s more playful than previously, in a good way we must add. They have kept the cool lock animation as well as the kinky widget overview mode that we loved from the predecessor. Sony has taken a great step in distancing itself from its bad reputation for slow software updates by having the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini running on Android Gingerbread out of the box. This plus the backing of the 1GHz CPU, there were no serious lag issues to be found. There’s an on-screen keyboard on this phone, but we would recommend you to stick to the landscape QWERTY keyboard because the smaller screen means uncomfortable typing experience. Timescape remains on this phone, and this time it’s got more to it than before. This has to be said because now we can install plug-ins from the Android Market which means you can get the additional services provided by the program.
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini comes with an upgraded 3 inch HVGA screen compared to the 2.55 inch QVGA on its predecessor. Thanks to the smaller screen size, you get pretty good detail out of you pictures. Adding to that, the colors were vivid while it was decent in terms of viewing angles. However, when you are outdoors, you can’t make out anything from the screen unless you shield it from the sunlight. Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine that comes with this screen means better photos and videos. Some may complain about the screen size, but for an average user, it’s just perfect.
The 5MP camera on the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini takes some pretty decent shots. Photos did have some dull colors but it looked realistic. Photos taken indoors weren’t too good as the LED flash that comes with it does do the camera too may favors. The interface as much else on this phone is very playful and it’s very easy to use to. Not only that it’s also customizable to your liking, so you can keep your most used function literally at your fingertip. The video recording capabilities are limited to 720p on the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini. Videos recorded were quite blurry and there was not much detail either. Colors were accurate although they had a hint of dullness.
Moving on the internet experience on this phone, we are bound to hear complains about the smaller screen size being an issue when browsing through web pages. However, if you aren’t a hardcore internet user, you won’t even realize that because it is quite nice to surf the internet on this phone. While using the Android browser on the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini, we were not affected by any noticeable delays while scrolling or zooming into a web page. Support for Flash is also a great way to attract users and what’s great is that it runs Flash without giving any delays.
Talking to your friend was fun, at least that’s how it was on our end. We could get some realistic voices minus all that usual sharp sound we find with most other phones. However, on the other end of the call, we heard some complains. Apparently, they could not hear us that well. Nevertheless, the loudspeaker fitted on the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini is a better than average. The phone has only got a 1200mAh battery and it was rated at 4.5 hours of talk time and 14 days on stand-by. For a ultra compact phone like this, we feel this battery is sufficient for average use.
Pros and Cons
The 5MP camera should have been better. For a mid end phone such as this one, we would also be happier if the microphone was better.