Today the Slashgear team got their grabby (and lucky) hands on Sony's first crack at an Android phone implementation - XPERIA X10 which was announced a whopping 5 months ago on November 3rd, 2009.
They go into a relatively in-depth discussion of the pluses and minuses of Sony's new child which I will summarize in a few bullet points for the busy crowd.
The Awesome Bullet Points
- 1Ghz Snapdragon CPU (same as Nexus One and HTC desire)
- the 4" 480x854 TFT screen is beautiful
- 1GB internal storage
- 384MB RAM
- 8GB MicroSD card but only upgradeable to 16GB
- Support for AT&T but not T-Mobile in the US
- WiFi b/g, bluetooth, aGPS - all standard stuff
- Android 1.6 - X10 comes with Sony's own flavor of Android called Rachael, which has a relatively radically different user interface compared to vanilla Android
Of course, we all know HTC's take on Android resulted in Sense, which ended up causing months of delays and preventing users from upgrading their operating systems to Android's latest revisions (just think of the Hero that skipped 1.6, 2.0, and still doesn't have 2.1, though it's promised soon). However, we understand that HTC has been working on about 20 thousand different phones, so we will forgive them.
Sony, however, never released an Android phone and *still* took 5 months to come up with the X10, and this is not including the time already spent on making the prototype we saw in November.
Oh, and it's *still* 1.6!
The Rachael UI is nice but could get too cluttered and annoying to a relatively social user. Not many desired customizations are available
- 8MP camera - highest resolution on the market (EVO 4G has 8MP too but it does not out until summer). The camera has a few advanced features that set this phone apart from the competition, such as the 16x digital zoom, digital image stabilization (IS), smile detection, and face recognition. Slashgear was quite happy with their camera tests.
- the outside of the phone feels old and obsolete compared to some flagship phones that have already managed to get announced, developed, and released between Sony's November announcement and now
- it is relatively compact for a device having such a large screen. However, it's thicker than the Nexus One, and is in fact larger than the N1 in all 3 dimensions
- no dedicated search key - only Menu, Home, and Back. No space or no need? How often do you actually use yours?
- Slashgear specifically expressed concern with the touch sensitivity and inaccuracies using the touch screen - apparently there are a lot of missed screen taps. Hopefully it's not a hardware issue and Sony will have a software patch for it.
- there is a little background hiss during calls and no active noise cancellation
- the speakerphone is loud
The X10 would have been pretty impressive 6 months ago, or maybe even 3 months ago. However, with a slew of new phones coming out every month, all running at least 1Ghz Snapdragons, it will be hard to make X10 the final pick, especially if it is running Android 1.6.
Having said that, we admit the X10 may prove to be a strong competitor and, depending on its success, start a line of Android products.