Just about a month ago, we took a look at the Sony Xperia X10 Mini. Although the phone boasted of some really nifty features, that too for a smartphone of its size, it did fall short of a few expectations. The Xperia X10 mini pro, which was only released very recently, shows a few improvements over its predecessor. Here’s a closer look.
Let 'QWERTY' Join The Party. The X10 Mini and Mini Pro share almost identical specifications except that the Pro is just a little broader and wider and of course, can’t forget the slide out full QWERTY keypad. Incidentally this addition makes a world of a difference, especially for subjects like me, who aren't blessed with thin fingers. The whole mechanism works perfectly from smooth sliding to the extremely comfortable keys themselves and sends a major plus in the direction of the mini pro. The display is the same - 2.55-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 240 x 320 resolution.
Now although both the phones feature similar design, the layout on both differs slightly as the Mini Pro's got the micro-USB port on the left and the headphone jack on the top. Due to the way we these phones are held, we found that having the headphones plugged in at the bottom (like in the Mini) to be a bit intrusive for our palm. That’s one more plus for the Mini Pro. The Pro also supports external memory via the hot swap microSD card slot under the rear panel. The rear panel is as difficult to un-hitch as the previous version, not that you’ll have too much un-hitching to do.
Needless to say, the Mini Pro may look identical to the Mini. It has the same comfortable palm-of-your-hand size and Sony Ericsson’s Human Curvature design form, but the slide out keypad is definitely a welcome addition.
Features and Performance
The Mini Pro also comes equipped with a Qualcomm 600MHz processor, runs on Android 1.6 and uses Sony Ericsson’s Four corner UI with Timescape for social working etc. Now although the Xperia X10 Mini/Mini Pro are some of the tiniest devices to feature the Android OS and while there are certain restrictions, both devices pack quite a punch. They performed great in most environments. Even the harsh rains of Mumbai could not exercise their moist ways with the Mini Pro; surprisingly the phone is quite robust. The UI is fluid and very responsive with onscreen keypad options to use as well. We’d recommend using the QWERTY keypad though; it’s just so much more convenient and faster.
There’s nothing else really different about the rest of the handset as compared to the Mini. It’s essentially the same. The audio quality was still better than average on both calls as well as for music. The display, although small is still comfortable enough to watch YouTube clips or short TV serials in 3GP or MPEG4 formats. TrackID for music recognition is also present and accounted for. Unfortunately the FM radio still didn’t manage to perform too well but we can say it was adequate. There are many applications that can be used well with this phone, which somewhat takes your mind away from the one's that you cannot use such as Robo Defense, WeatherBug, PdaNet, Tumblroid, etc. A few games come preloaded like Roller coaster, Peggle and CA Gold Rush.
The Mini Pro’s 3G capability is still mute at the moment but with EDGE/GPRS you’ll have no issues with the connecting to your email, browsing or social networking. One rather major issue we came across was that the Wi-Fi connectivity kept dropping. After accessing a networking and entering the access code, we were noticed that after a few minutes of surfing we had to locate the network again and re-enter the password. This seems like a generic issue with the handset as a few other users we knew also had similar issues with Wi-Fi on the Mini Pro.
The Pro also has a 5MP camera and we were still unable to access any settings except for a few scene modes and video switching like in the Mini. There were no other settings whatsoever. Image quality is still really good even in low light conditions indoors, so settings be damned.
The battery life is also quite surprisingly very good, with the need to recharge coming through only once a day. On an average, the Mini Pro dished out over 3 hours and 30 minutes of talk time. That’s a few minutes more than its predecessor.
The Bottom Line
We feel that this phone is a great buy and has a definite 1 UP over the X10 Mini simply thanks to a more convenient QWERTY Keypad. In addition to this the great battery life makes this phone a winner with us. Sony has done a great job with integrating the Android with its small and compact device architecture, without making the user feel like they've had an incomplete android experience. The price tag on the Mini Pro is approximately Rs. 16,000 (MOP) which is just a few bucks more than its predecessor. In our opinion this should have been the Mini and it should have ended there.