In this part of the review we will cover the most important parts of the phone as well as the overall use of the device from all aspects. With the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, we will be focusing on how much Sony Ericsson has improved the device’s functionality beyond standard Android and how much Android 1.6 affects or doesn’t affect the overall device’s usability.First Use
When we first got this device and started it up, it was no different from getting any other Android phone. In that respect, it was very simply to setup and use right away. Also, setting up email accounts was fairly simple and since Android already has Gmail integration that was just one less thing to set up. When we hooked it up to Songbird
the music and video integration was seamless from the start. The Facebook and twitter accounts that are attached to the Sony Ericsson interface were the only additional things that we had to setup outside of our exchange email server. Getting everything setup took about half an hour including the exchange email account, which we found surprising considering that Android doesn’t natively include that but Sony Ericsson[or AT&T] opted to include it.User Interface
As far as the user interface goes, there are technically two different interfaces that you deal with on this device. The two interfaces are the boring standard Android 1.6 interface and the Sony Ericsson Timescape interface. The Android 1.6 is nothing to write home about, and it definitely leaves us hoping that they had at least done an upgrade to 2.1 or 2.2 before giving us this device. Sony Ericsson also opted to go for a non-standard slide to unlock in order to prevent butt dialing or any other unwanted user input. When talking about the overall phone’s UI, we noticed that there was a very quick response to the accelerometer and that the turning control was very responsive to our movement.
Nevertheless, the real crowning glory of this phone’s UI is the Timescape interface that is also complimented by the Mediascape music, video and picture viewer. As far as Timescape goes, it is the one part of the phone that really sets the Sony Ericsson phone apart from all of the other Android devices out there. The Timescape interface under our use ran fairly smoothly and reliably with the occasional lag here and there but never crashed or corrupted once. Upon handing the device to many people, the majority of them responded positively to the unique user interface and praised its use, while a few others found it unnecessary and boring.
Timescape allows for the scrolling between various feeds of user information. The primary feed is a combination of all the other feeds into one feed based on chronological use. These feeds include recently taken/viewed pictures, played songs, Twitter posts, Facebook updates, SMS messages, and missed calls. Once you’ve selected a feed you may scroll up or down using the vertically stacked cards with the related information and image on it. The biggest problem with this interface we found was that sometimes there was a noticeable lag time between switching feeds and sometimes scrolling up and down, but that was less common.
Mediascape is an entirely different UI that allows you to review and manage all of your phone’s media content. Specifically, it allows you to manage and view your music, movies and pictures. When we talk about movies, we’re referring to both ones that have been added to the device as well as ones that were created on the device. The added features within Mediascape make it probably one of the best media players for any Android phone we’ve encountered, period. When playing a song, you can simply click the album art and it will immediately allow you to choose different songs off of that playlist without leaving the actual media player or song. This allows for simple and quick interfacing with the device which makes playing music an enjoyable experience on this device.
Additionally, when you press the infinity button above the album art, it allows you to search for other albums by that same artist on your phone as well as on YouTube without ever needing to pause the song or leaving the interface. As if that weren’t enough it also has a one touch web search button that makes finding out details about any band almost effortless. The rest of Mediascape is fairly similar and simple, except that Mediascape sorts photos and videos based on how recently they were viewed or taken. The photo part of Mediascape also allows you to browse your Facebook photos if you so choose, we’re not really sold on this but perhaps someone else wants to view their own Facebook photos on demand.
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