Archive

Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Brief look at the new Nokia C3-01 ‘Touch and Type’

September 29, 2010 Comments off

Confusing names aside, the new  Nokia C3 is the second handset in Nokia’s  Touch and Type family. Along with the Nokia X3, these two Series S40 based feature phones offer a no-nonsense user interface and lightweight design for those who doesn’t necessarily need the extended functionality (and complexity) of smartphones.

At first glance, you might say the C3 is just a more reserved version of the X3, and, for the most part, you’ll be right.  But there are still some subtle differences to be found, so let’s have a closer look…

Size and weight : Both phones can be considered compact and slim, with a barely noticeable weight in hand. Still, the Nokia X3 pushes the limits even further by having a thinner, although a bit wider, body. Oh, and it’s lighter too.

Nokia C3 vs X3

100 g vs 78 g

111 x 47.5 x 11 mm  vs 106.2 x 48.4 x 9.6. mm

Screen. Both phones utilize a 2.4 inch resistive touch screen with 240 x 320 pixels (QVGA TFT) resolution, ensuring a relatively sharp picture for it’s physical size. The represented color pallet of the screen also looks decent, although with no surprises. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it’s sunlight legibility. Naturally, the working experience with the Nokia C3 touchscreen proved to be  as enjoyable as with the X3, and I initially had problems discerning whether it’s a capacitive or a resistive screen. As I mentioned in my X3 preview, the S40 interface has been modified with larger icons and other UI elements to compensate the limited screen size.

Keypad. This one is quite obvious. The Nokia C3 comes with a traditionally arranged keypad with horizontal bars between each row of the keys for increased typing comfort. The X3, on the other hand, has a 4×4 grid keypad that has additional multimedia and messaging shortcut keys in the top row. The downside? There’s virtually nothing that separates keys in either direction, and only a slight slope at the bottom of each key helps to improve the situation. Still, the keys on both devices are generously sized and offer great tactile feedback, but it’s worth noting again here, that the few extra keys have made the X3 into an entirely different kind of animal.

Other input elements: The Nokia C3 comes with dedicated camera and lock key that are sadly missing on the X3. Removed to keep the design seamless, no doubt.

Battery: Here’s where the Nokia C3 justifies the few mm more it has under it’s belt in comparison to the X3. The C3 comes with a 1050 mAh Li-ion battery against 860 mAh Li-Ion battery on the X3. I wouldn’t worry about it too much though, as the power consumption should be nowhere as close as on the smartphones. Charging on both phones is possible using the 2 mm port and also via microUSB.

Internal memory: According to Nokia site,  there’s no memory card included in the retail package, so this might really hurt:  there’s 30 MB of  internal memory available to the Nokia C3 user vs 50 Mb on the X3. Both are disturbingly low numbers, and storing anything more than a few camera photos and apps is, of course, out of question.

Camera: Both have a 5 Mpix, extended depth of focus (EDOF) cameras with accompanying LED flash. So yes, it’s basically fixed focus, albeit with some minor improvements. I suspect the overall performance will be quite similar to that of Nokia E5, but your guess is as good as mine at this point.

Connectivity: The Touch and Type series phones are pretty much on par with modern connectivity standards like 3G, HSDPA and Bluetooth (v2.1), but also packing support for WLAN networks. The only thing that’s really missing from the lot is the GPS functionality, but isn’t that a bit too much to ask for here?

Take a look at the brief but nevertheless interesting demo of the Nokia C3, recorded directly from Nokia World 2010:

With all that in mind, which device would you prefer? The stylish and ultra-slim Nokia X3-01, or the more classic looking C3-01? Choices…

Advertisements
Categories: Previews

The Nokia E7 is no small business. Find out why…

September 22, 2010 Comments off

Since it’s announcement during the recent Nokia World event, the E7 has gotten quite a lot of attention. And for a good reason. It was passionately dubbed by Annsi Vanjoki as the direct continuation of the Nokia’s ‘communicator’ legacy, and thus, has quite some shoes to fill. But before we move head first into the device itself, let’ relive the very first moments of Nokia E7 at Nokia World in the following video, starting at the 11:16 mark:

Short demo of Nokia E7:

The pictures doesn’t do the E7 justice. Yes, ‘it’s BIIIG’. The E7 is no small business. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like a brick. It’s seamless and sleek design is truly remarkable, especially if we compare it to it’s spiritual predecessor, the E90. In closed state the E7 looks and feels like a slightly bigger version of the Nokia N8. With a slightly wider body and a similar thickness to the N8, the device also feels incredibly solid. You won’t find advanced camera optics of the N8 here – instead, the bulky camera module on the back has been removed to keep the device as slim as possible.

There’s also a more functional reason for this, namely so that the E7 can sit firmly on flat surfaces while working with the qwerty keyboard. What I’m not impressed with is the camera cover, which is at exact same level as the backside of the phone. I guess the engineers were really pushing the limits as to how slim the E7 can be, otherwise I can’t see the reason why the camera lens couldn’t be put in a slight recess of sorts for better protection.

The slider itself resembles the N97 in the way it looks and tilts the screen at a specific angle, yet it  doesn’t quite work in the same fashion. I was pointed out by the people who also had some hands-on time with the device that you actually have to push it a bit from the top, rather than pushing the upper part dead-on from it’s sides. So it might require a bit of practice until it becomes natural, but overall, it’s not an issue. When the slider is finally engaged, the rest of the movement is as smooth and matter-of-fact as you’d expect from it, locking the screen into open position at the very end and giving the E7 the certain ‘oomph’ factor the N8 strangely lacks in my opinion.

But that’s, obviously, is a completely different story. Nokia has done a great job at separating it’s new devices from each other, and it’s hard to choose a device without some sort of compromise in a certain direction. For the N8, it’s the lack of the Amoled CBD (Clear Black Display) and physical keys, for E7, it’s the absence of the superior camera hardware and a microSD card slot. Yet it almost feels like a perfect combo, these two devices – one for work and the other for leisure –  but other Nokia phones, like C6-01 or C7, can also be easily added to the mix.

During the little time I had (it’s never enough..) to play with the E7 in Nokia World experience lounge, the physical qwerty keys felt definitely closer to the Nokia N97 mini keys rather than N900’s. For starters, the E7 offers a generous work space for the qwerty keyboard. That, in turn, makes it so much more easier to work with emails, office documents  and whatnot – definitely better than, again, the cramped keys on the N900. When compared to the N900, the keys are also slightly larger and with a tad shorter travel, but by no means I can say that the E7 keys have poor feedback.

Speaking of feedback, I was also quite happy to see the redesigned and much improved menu key on the E7. In comparison to the N8, it has been moved from the corner to the middle area under the screen, and it has also been slightly raised rather than totally flush with the rest of the phone like on the N8. And the difference is quite noticeable: you thumb doesn’t aimlessly wander under the screen until it feels the slightly softer area that is the menu key. The raised  boarders of the menu key on the E7 means that the time to adjust your finger to properly work the key is reduced to minimum. A dream!

The rest of the phone speaks volumes by itself: anodized aluminum body, up front – hardened glass , HDMI port –  just like the Nokia N8.  These two devices go hand in hand in many ways, yet they successfully manage to offer their own, unique experiences to it’s user. Aside the usual corporate features that are essential for business users, during the Nokia World Q&A session with E7 product managers we were also promised some additional software tweaks in Symbian^3 operating system, so the phone would in theory run snappier than the N8. From my experience, even with the pre-production firmware the device ran pretty much lag free, and the screen responded promptly to my finger inputs. In a nutshell, the E7 runs on the same processor and has about the same RAM as the other recent additions to the Nokia Symbian^3 phone family. The graphical accelerator, however, was promised to handle the much bigger 4 inch screen of the E7 without sacrificing performance. It would be very interesting to see how the E7  fares against other Symbian^3 phones in field conditions, but by the end of the day, not everything solely depends on how much Mhz’s and Mb’s the phone has ticking under it’s hood. Symbian OS is proven to be less demandive to system resources, and less power consuming as well. Let’s keep that in mind, when and if comparing it to other operating system phones out there in the market.

Link to the full Nokia E7 gallery

Finally, we move onto the  already mentioned Q&A session we had during Nokia World day 2. What are the differences from the Nokia N8 camera? What business applications the E7 is going to have?  These, and some other relevant questions were raised, and for the most part, answered in the following video, thanks again to @dani2xll for providing it! Incidentally, yours truly, can also be seen in the video, sitting to the left from the product managers 😉

Nokia E7 Q&A:

So that about sums it up what I feel about the Nokia E7 at the moment. For me, the E7 was the absolute winner of the whole Nokia World show. For others, it’s greatest strengths might be less important, and they might look at the likes of Nokia N8 or C7, for example. Many questions have been lifted during Nokia World regarding the E7, where rumors and blurry spy photos turned into an ace looking successor of the Nokia’s communicator line.  The E7 has an edge over the competition with a truly attractive design, built materials, and thought-out qwerty keyboard. And did somebody forgot about the desert – the HDMI and USB OTG functionality?

Yet the biggest question remains, that actually sounds more like a request at this point… when is it finally coming out?

Categories: Previews

Do you like… pink? Nokia X3 Touch and Type hands-on impressions

September 17, 2010 1 comment

So, with the Nokia World 2010 ending in a flash, I can finally start  digesting the enormous stream of mobile information that was coming from more directions I could manage to catch. It’s was a monster. There was only but a few things that kept us running with a constant supply of adrenaline, and more specifically, one – the all new devices from Nokia. By now, you probably know what the new portfolio is like, and what can we expect from Nokia in the next couple of months. There’s definitely lot to talk about, and choose in which phone to invest our money in, but one thing’s for sure, there’s just about everything to everyone. But let’s stop here, and have a closer look at one of the phones that appeared at the event. Hands-on [p]reviews of other devices will follow.

Meet the Nokia X3. Or,  if you like it better that way, X3-02. Confusing? Most certainly, as there’s already a Nokia X3 with a slider form factor, released in late 2009. Especially confusing is the fact that ‘X3’ is clearly visible on front of the device. Suddenly, using the righteous X3-02 isn’t so attractive anymore, now is it? But let’s leave this for later discussions, and instead have a quick virtual tour around the device in question.

Ha – a matching shirt, almost!  I asked if I can get one of those, even the pink ones would do for me, but nada…

The very distinct ‘V’ shape of the chassis of the X3 is also less noticeable in real life than in the official photos I had seen out there. And perhaps I’ve grown tried of the masculine, all-black N900, but the pink doesn’t look so bad on the X3…  Add the slim form factor and incredible lightness of the device (77.4 g), and you have a good contender for a female type of phone. Of course, there’s a lot more going on than just the exterior- X3 is also one of the first so called ‘touch-and-type’ Nokia phones, that run on the S40 series platform. While using the alphanumeric keypad isn’t news for S40 phones, the inclusion of a fully capable touchscreen is. The sensitivity of the touchscreen is impressive despite the fact it’s resistive, with the UI being clean and simple, and large enough to avoid any problems fingering the rather small, 2.4″  screen area with the standard 240 x 320 pixel QVGA resolution.

I quite like where Nokia is going with the X3, combining the old and familiar with the relatively new. For the users who feel like they are not ready yet to take a dive to touchscreen only controls, there’s now a way to have a go with a touch sensitive screen without leaving the comfort of having physical alphanumeric keypad. There’re no navi keys to be found here, but once the user realizes the sheer beauty of navigating through menus just by touching the screen, going back to the old ways could prove to be difficult. The keypad itself doesn’t leave many surprises, but one thing should be noted is that there’re four keys per row instead of the standard three, with the first row dedicated to call keys and two shortcuts keys. Each key also has a slight slope at the bottom part for better distinction between the rows.

The connectivity options would be pretty much standard issue for smartphones, but for an affordable S40 phone like X3 the specs are actually quite good: 3G, HSDPA, Wi-fi, bluetooth (2.1) and microUSB port. There’s a 2 mm charger port, but according the Nokia official site, USB charging is also possible. The internal memory is rather small (50 MB), and knowing the price group of the phone, there’s a very slim chance that a micro SD card will come in the retail package. Understandable for such a slim body, the Nokia X3 is equipped with a very basic 5 Mpix ‘full focus’ camera. Why even bother, you may ask? Just ’cause…

So there you have it, the Nokia X3- a simple to use, compact and lightweight non-smartphone, offering the best of both worlds of touch and type.

You can have a look at the rest of the Nokia X3-02 pics in my flickr album here.

Categories: Previews

Nokia C6 initial reactions and the microSD card write speed conundrum…

July 24, 2010 2 comments

This is just a quick response post to my friend @the_accidental regarding the file transfer speeds on the Nokia C6 vs Nokia N900. I thought it’s an interesting topic so I looked into whether the C6 will have greater transfer speeds with my Kingston microSD card (class 4) than with the supplied no name 2Gb card. And here are the curios results:

Write speed from PC to phone:

Nokia C6: Kingston Class 4 microSD card  ~ 2.6 Mb/s vs ~2.9 Mb/s Noname microSD card;

Nokia N900:  Kingston Class 4 microSD card ~ 6.6 Mb/s vs ~ 6 Mb/s Noname microSD card.

After looking at the above figures I think it’s rather obvious that there’re almost no significant difference in USB transfer speeds between the two memory cards that were used. While I can’t guarantee that my results are 100% correct, the overall picture is quite telling, I’m sure of it. The outcome shouldn’t comes as a surprise, since the Nokia C6 I’m currently reviewing is a budget smartphone foremost and it would make perfect sense the manufacturer tried to cut expenses wherever possible. Surprisingly dull, however, is my find that the C6 doesn’t support charging via microUSB port, probably another indication of older parts being used.

But that’s perfectly alright. It’s not the Nseries chart stormer for ultra-tech geeks (like me). For about 200 euros you get a device with a 3.2 inch resistive touchscreen, a very convenient and easy to use 4-row qwerty keyboard that is perfect for social media and emails, a decent enough 5Mpix camera, and all the connectivity you can eat plus free GPS navigation with Nokia Ovi Maps. There’s just no other word for it, it’s a steal!

To conclude this quick mindstorm session, here’s my unboxing and quick tour video of the Nokia C6:

Categories: Previews

HTC Desire has arrived…

June 24, 2010 3 comments

This is just a short welcoming speech of the latest trial unit I’ve acquired, along with some 5Mpix camera samples I’ve uploaded to my flickr account and the now obligatory unboxing video of the retail package.  I will touch upon this high-end smartphone at a more personal level  in the next few days. As always, stay tunned…

Update 1: One week has passed with HTC Desire, and I can confidently say this smartphone has grown really close to my heart. I’ve reviewed a couple of Android devices before (the most recent being Android 1.6 running XPeria X10), yet I’ve never seen anything as special as HTC’s Sense UI. It’s not just an overlay UI on top of the stock Android OS 2.1, but it’s a set of widgets, applications and other little customizations and tweaks that bring the already fluid and intuitive Android experience to a new level. I  can already see how this, coupled with the ever expanding Google online services, can easily hook more customers in who are looking for a solid smartphone experience.

Of course there’re a few noteworthy problems here and there. While the built materials are top quality, design wise HTC played a very safe game, there’re little eye catching features aside from 3.7 inch touchscreen that offers a really vibrant  and sharp image. Another no-go  is the very  mediocre camera. While I really enjoy the built in features like touch-to-focus and face detection, the weak LED flash and lack of 720p video recording  makes the Desire a poor man’s show. And finally, the ridiculously low space  available for installing applications -120 Mb-  a limitation that I had run into disturbingly fast. It’s not clear why the manufacturer didn’t equip it’s leading Android flagship with a bigger internal memory since extending functionality with heaps of various apps from Android Market place is such an integral part of the smartphone experience. Romors has it now, that Android 2.2 will allow installing apps on the microSD card and put the powerful 1Ghz processor to a good use with HD video recording and Divx/Xvid codecs support.

Seems like many of my mentioned problems can be easily fixed with future firmware updates. The only question remains, whether customer will be wiling to wait or simply look for an absolute winner elsewhere. Samsung Galaxy S is more than a capable alternative since HTC is no longer the only top player in Android smartphone field, even though the most experienced.

The full contents of the European retail package of HTC Desire (minus the mini disk with documentation)

Camera gallery

(Just click on the thumbnails to open the camera sample collection)

Unboxing of the Desire, a powerful high-end smartphone from HTC, running Android 2.1 and sporting 3.7′ capacitive AMOLED touchscreen with multi-touch support. HTC utilizes it’s own customization on top of the stock Android OS v2.1 (Eclair) called Sense UI that ensures a seamless and beautiful experience across all smartphones released by the manufacturer.

The internals are equally impressive with Qualcomm Snapdragon 1 GHz processor and 576 MB of RAM, and a ‘touch to focus’ 5Mpix camera with sharing features to social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.

HTC Desire is equipped with a Li-Ion 1400 mAh battery that should last around a day for most users, but it strongly varies depending on the number of online services running in the background.

Categories: Previews

Sony Ericsson X10 – Does X mark the Spot?

April 10, 2010 7 comments

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a smartphone on my hands running on Android OS. Since my last visit, the little green robot’s operating system has been rapidly gaining ground and is now picked up by almost all top players in the mobile industry. Moreover, for some (read: Motorola) it has even been the saving grace from being steamrolled by Apple’s cult phone. A quick  glance over the latest review headlines and it’s crystal clear the market becomes increasingly saturated with Android devices varying quality and covering different price segments. No doubt, it’s a definitive step forward since the release of G1 a mere two years ago. Now we see this open source platform steadily feeding off Windows Mobile market share and ready to take the leap for Symbian OS that still remains the leading software platform for smartphones.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 unboxing

Now we’re moving closer to the reason of this very story. There’s no denying that Sony Erricsson has been struggling with shrinking sales and , with a troubling launch of  their first Symbian smartphone SE Satio behind their back, the situation doesn’t seem to be radically improving for the Swedish- Japanese joint company. It’s crystal clear they are in desperate need of a high seller in the lucrative smartphone segment, something that could potentially succeed where Symbian running Satio or Windows Mobile running Xperia X2 has failed. A natural choice was made to jump for the Android bandwagon, and the  inevitable announcement of their first Android smartphone, X10 aka Rachel, followed . Back in November last year, that is.

The device finally hits the store shelves in March or about four months later since it was announced,but there’s no scent of the hype that previously surrounded the new flagship from Sony Ericsson, and a with good reason. Coming out this late, the device quite unceremoniously entered the dogfight with similarly spec’ed smartphones from the well entrenched Android movers Google and HTC. The X10, theoretically, should be able to hold it’s own ground with an enormous 4” screen (only beaten by HTC’s HD2) , 8 Mpix camera, attractive design  and a market leading Snapdragon 1 GHz processor under the hood. Google’s Nexus One and HTC Desire, both to be considered the fiercest rivals of the Sony Ericsson’s  new baby, sport a newer version of Android. Even more so, the HTC had plenty of time to perfect their Sense UI that brings their smartphones far beyond the stock Android user experience that is found on Xperia X10. Perhaps there’s some reasoning behind the company’s decision to set the sailes on their latest flagship with the oldish Android 1.6 version at the helm, but it’s sure as hell doesn’t make any sense from the consumers standpoint. As it can be guessed, the ensuing problems are deep and run throughout the X10 that to me initially appeared as a very promising new entry in the smartphone market for Sony Ericsson. Yet the product stumbles and it stumbles hard against the very obstacles set by the manufacturer.

The problems of the X10 pain even more so with the realization that SE really had done their homework pretty much elsewhere. The proprietary port has been phased out in favor of everyone’s favorite microUSB connection standard ( that is utilized both for charging and data transfer) while the 3.5 mm port makes a welcome comeback for the music loving crowd’s. The madness, that comes in the form of a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen, is encompassed in a slim and stylish body.  The front panel is completely flat and protected by the fingerprint loving,  glossy plastic that at first sight promises to be durable enough not the get scratched easily, while the back cover is made of  soft matt plastic that ensures the sizable handset won’t accidentally slip out of hands. There’s also an elegantly shaped line of chromed plastic that wraps around the device, making the phone feel solid and more expensive. The X10 sits surprisingly well in hand despite the overwhelming dimensions of the screen, and SE engineers deserve all the kudos for achieving that. My only complaints go as far as the rather sharp edges of the front cover that could get damaged if the user gets a bit careless with his expensive purchase.

(Simply click on the thumbnails to get to the gallery!)

It’s not rare that a refreshing looks demand certain sacrifices in ergonomics and unfortunately, the  X10 is no exception. First and foremost, the trio of  hardware keys below the display are placed at the very edge of the front cover, which makes single-handed operations with the phone unnecessarily challenging. Oddly enough, the backlight shines through the gaps rather than actually illuminating these keys. My second gripe regarding the usability of the handset is the excessively small camera shutter key, probably to keep it in line with the design. A reassuring moment is that the camera app does support the ‘touch to focus’ feature inherited from other Sony CyberShot camphones.

While the 8.1  megapixel camera module does present some really enjoyable still image results in clear weather conditions outdoors, it also performs predictably bad anywhere else thanks to the inadequately sized LED flash. And with this much power under the hood, you’d think HD video recording would be for granted, and SE would go one step further to exploit the 8.1 Mpix camera and gain a little bit more ground above the competition. But like we learned from the earlier mentioned mishaps that stalk this product,  there’re certain things that just doesn’t make much sense from the consumer viewpoint. The X10 is capable of recording videos up to 480×800 or WVGA resolution, a far cry from the 720p videos a lesser spec’ed Sony Ericsson Vivaz can do. I would understand the decision to keep the leading HD recording competency separately in the mid-tier price range, but for a flagship solution this limitation is purely nonsensical.  So as much as the taken 8.1 Mpix snapshots impress at times, the one edged camera solution rounds up another feature of X10 that isn’t carried out to it’s fullest potential.

The mono loudspeaker is located on the left side and is decent enough not to miss incoming calls, but you’d have to be really hard pressed to use for leisure like listening to podcasts or music. Speaking about voice calls, I’ve got some people complaining about the poor sound quality, which might be tied to the awkward mic position on the left side of the device. Another trial X10 user and a good friend of mine, @MichaelxHell also confirmed my concerns and I hope this is just another firmware issue waiting to be fixed instead of faulty or ill designed hardware.

While the built materials are certainly up to the pricing level of the phone, the sinister feeling never leaves me that SE desperately tried to cut expenses on the hardware components while making this flagship model. A down to the point example would be the capacitive TFT  touchscreen. While it offers a crisp and bright picture with 854 x 480 pixels resolution, and the generous size means little trouble fingering even the smallest UI elements,  the screen also comes with it’s own share of drawbacks. The biggest deal breaker for many users is probably the lack of multi-touch support, which is final as the company has already come forward with a ‘hardware limitations’  statement. I was also quite surprised how unresponsive the screen felt at times, it just isn’t as sensitive as you’d come to expect from a capacitive touchscreen that caliber. And finally, the screen operates in 65K colors only, but that in turn is a mere limitation of Android 1.6 rather than hardware. The view angles of the screen are satisfactory, yet in direct sunlight the  legibility of the screen is in the same league with AMOLED touchscreen displays and thus leaves a lot to be desired (no pun intended to HTC Desire :P).

As expected, the speedy processor and the spacious screen does take it’s strain on the battery life. The manufacturer was able to fit the X10 with a Li-Po 1500 mAh battery, which under moderate usage means about 1-1,5 days on a single charge. Naturally, having the phone to automatically connect to the web to snatch updates off social networking sites and mailboxes will degrade the battery life even further.

I’ve deliberately left the software review in the very last section of my X10 article. Unfortunately, it’s most likely the biggest tripping point for this device. There’re various scenarios that could develop from here but only one that would ensure SE won’t lose more brand consumers.  The device must receive firmware updates asap to address all of the mentioned issues (like the touchscreen sensitivity and call quality), and, better yet, upgrade the OS to Android 2.1 while the device is still breathing. The smartphone market has become increasingly competitive and even the high-end devices running Android now can get overlooked.

And it would be a hard lie to say I’m ready to give up all my hopes with Xperia X10. The unique and eye catching design of X10 is still a very rare attribute to be found in other Android running smartphones. Also it’s worth mentioning that among the very basic set of  Android 1.6 apps there’re two noteworthy ones that were developed by Sony Ericsson: MediaScape and TimeScape. The first one has the user’s generated content (like tweets, facebook status updates or captured photos) stacked chronologically in a semi transparent set of cards that you can vertically flick through. Not only that, the list is also populated with updates from other people so it’s an elegant and seamless way to stay up to date with friend’s activities on social networking sites. MediaScape comes with a similarly pleasing interface and sleek animations, but has a more direct role in organizing and providing  comfortable access to all media files like music, videos or photos that are stored on the device. It also has integration with PlayNow, which is Sony Ericcson’s own download service offering a wide variety of  media content.

Outside those very few trademark moments there’s little else done to distinguish the X10 user experience from the crowd. Perhaps it’s true that with smartphones (backed by an open source application market) the user is free to choose what functionality he truly wants, but the bare bone software package that comes with the X10 might be a reason alone for potential buyers to set their sights elsewhere.

Update: As promised, here’s a camera shootout between 8 Mpix giants Samsung I8910HD and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. I’ve also included Nokia N900 to the mix (3.5 and 5 Mpix) just to see how it holds up against the competition. All pics are clickable to their original sizes, enjoy!

Objects at medium distance, all settings on auto.

Samsung I8910HD

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

Nokia N900

Macro mode shoot.

Landscape shoot.

After taking a closer look at the results, it seems like Xperia X10 is a winner here, followed closely by I8910HD, with Nokia N900 bringing up the rear. SE flagship comes forward with deeper, more natural looking colors, although I8910HD deliver rather promising results as well, especially in the macro mode pictures. While the Nokia N900 offered some nice detail on it’s own (taking into account the lowish 3.5 Mpix widescreen resolution), all pics have a rather noticeable green tint to it. Also, it seems like Xperia X10 pics have a much sharper detail on distant objects, just compare the landscape pics!

So in the end, no big surprises here.  As I mentioned before, SE Xperia X10 8,1 Mpix camera produces quite stunning shots outdoors, but is rather disappointing anywhere else, thanks to the inadequate LED ‘flash’ performance. Still, X10 has probably the best equipped camera among other Android phones.

One thing I forgot to mention is the absence of camera cover on Xperia X10.  The camera lens almost  at the same level as the back cover,  making it dangerously exposed to scratches and dirt. The situation is even worse than on my Samsung I8910HD , that has the unprotected lens in a slightly deeper aperture (still needs occasional cleaning from the dust before use).

Simply can’t get enough of the Xperia X10 camera brilliance? Here’s an extended album of camera samples for your viewing pleasure!

Categories: Previews