IT Pro Verdict
The X1 doesn't really live up to the hype that the long wait for it had generated, but even so it still manages to be the most usable Windows Mobile device yet. Chief reasons for this are the high resolution screen, a touch screen dialer that has buttons actually large enough to use and best in class battery life.
As a company Sony Ericsson hasn't been doing too well of late, to put it mildly, and that before the world economy had gone to pot. Some say the the X1 is crucial to the companies fortunes, but let's hope that's an exaggeration as while the X1 is not disaster, neither is it likely to halt Apple's you-know-what phone from flying off the shelves. However, as far as Windows Mobile powered phones go, it's got a lot going for it.
Sony Ericsson has a long association with smartphones, with the company being one of the first to attempt the concept of the can-do-it-all, multi-tasking wonder phone. That phone was the P800, and the idea of it appealed to me so much I actually bought one. However, while I persevered with it for a while it never really lived up to its promise and I soon realised that while the concept was good, the execution was flawed the phone was simply too ahead of its time.
The P800 seems like a long time ago now, and after several successors to that seminal phone, Sony Ericsson has finally abandoned the Symbian UIQ operating system and thrown its lot in with Microsoft. Yes, the X1 Xperia is based on the Windows Mobile, in its latest 6.1 iteration an operating system that it's fair to say is tolerated rather than loved.
As with the likes of the HTC Touch Pro, the X1 is a high-end smartphone that offers a touch screen combined with a slider keyboard underneath. Naturally, as a Windows based phone a stylus is still necessary at times, and you'll find one nestling at the rear left.
By moving to Windows Mobile its latest high-end smartphone has lost something of that Sony Ericsson look and feel but there are certainly traces of the company's DNA is some of the phones features.
For a start, whoever made the decision to stick a conventional headphone jack at the top should be congratulated. No messing about with USB remote control accessories or using poor bundled headphones you can just stick your own favoured pair right in for enjoying music or video.
Storage is simply enormous by the standards of the likes of the iPhone - 512MB of RAM, with 384MB free, with a microSD card slot available underneath the rear cover enabling you to add up to another 16MB, which is recommended to be used for storing music and video to keep performance up.
Appearance wise the X1 has an expensive look, with brushed metal front and back and a silver trim all the way round. The buttons at the bottom are a glossy black. For all its abilities and the slide out keyboard it's not too big either, measuring 110 x 53 x 16.7 mm and weighing in a reasonable 145g.
Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.
Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.
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