The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is Sony’s newest phone to compliment, or rather broaden, the lineup of Sony Ericsson’s Android phones. It is designed to cater to those who want the Android experience for a cheap price and finding Sony’s earlier serving of X10 mini and X10 mini Pro lacking in terms of screen size.
The Xperia X8 somehow follows the hardware design of its cousins’ from the X10 series with its plastic yet-stylish form. When the typical screen size being 3.2″, the Xperia X8 has a 3-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen. You can also see the ambient light sensor, speaker grill and LED indicator above its screen.
Below the touchscreen are the standard Xperia Android buttons for menu, home and back. Just like the other Xperia phones, the X8 doesn’t have the seldomly-used Android Search button. The menu button is also used to unlock the screen and I have to point out that without any button combination to unlock, you might accidentally use the phone while in your pocket.
The Xperia X8 is void of any buttons on the left side. On top is the microUSB port for charging and PC connection. Smack at the top center is the power button that also serves as the lock/sleep button. Beside this is the 3.55mm earphone jack. On the right side of the phone is the volume rocker and a dedicated camera button.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is catered to the chic smartphone users having a replaceable back panel that also houses the camera lens, the speaker and the SE logo. Our box contained 4 stylish back panels with an airbrushed gradient design to choose from. It also has a matte finish to repel fingerprints. Speaking of the back panel, we had a hard time prying it open the first time. Turns out you should use the fingernail hold on the left side of the device.
Similar to the Xperia X10 mini, the X8 runs on a 600Mhz processor with a 128 MB internal memory expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card (a 2GB microSD is already included).
Considering that the X8 is Sony’s latest Android device, it is quite disappointing to see it still running the outdated Android 1.6 (Donut) especially when the X10 series already received their 2.1 updates.
Even with the Android 1.6 OS, I wouldn’t say it will be a deal breaker for the Xperia X8. Sony Ericsson applied a different UI implementation for the X8 similar to the X10 mini, the most noticeable of which are the corner shortcuts. Basically, you can place any application icon on the four corners which will persist on the main screen for easy access.
The lack of screen real estate on the X8 prompted Sony to implement a one widget per homescreen scheme, which I find impractical especially if you are the type of user who wants to see as much widgets on a single homescreen as you want. I am not sure how many single-widget screens the X8 can accommodate but again, I find it quite unfeasible to swipe to more than 10 home screens to jump from widget to widget. A lot of wasted space here.
Swiping up from the main menu will bring the application dashboard which presents all your installed apps in a grid of icons.
Navigating the UI for X8 is surprisingly smoother than what I expected. I did encounter a few moments when it lags a little but not really to a point that would bother me.
The X8 brought with it its own implementation of Timescape (no Mediascape though) present in the other X10 phones. Again, Timescape is the main “˜hub’ for your Social network updates as well as text messages in one fancy-looking package. Despite its slower processor, X8’s Timescape was pretty smooth provided that it has loaded all your updates already.
Problems with small touchscreen is that typing can be quite a hassle when using the onscreen keyboard. With the X8 however, it was easier for me to familiarize typing on it. It would be nice though if you don’t have to switch to a different keyboard when your want to use numbers and special characters.
However, similar to the X10, I was quite annoyed by how the phone lags when I am trying to compose a quick text message. I also noticed how slow the onscreen keyboard reorients itself to lansdscape mode and back. Aside from these few hiccups, I honestly did enjoy the X8 experience.
The X8 includes a 3-megapixel fixed-focus camera with geotagging capabilities and can also record VGA videos at 30 frames-per-sceond. In terms of camera features, I find the X8 lacking with the absence of zooming capabilities, flash, etc.
Also, do not expect to get high quality pictures here, probably only something that would suffice for uploading on photo sharing sites. Most of the images I took ends up either blurred or washed out.
Browsing on the X8 is not as good as its bigger brother but that is to be expected on a smaller screen. Add to that the fact that the X8 does not support multi-touch so no pinch-to-zoom functionality here.
What I really liked about the X8 however is the improvement on its battery life as compared to the X10. A full charge lasted almost two days for me with intermediate browsing (through wifi and via 3g) a few calls and the usual text messages. This could be attributed to the less power”“hungry processor and the smaller screen size but hey, it’s not something to complain about.
All in all, despite being handicapped by its OS, the X8 is a very competent entry-level phone. Expect it to improve some more once its OS upgrade is released before the end of this year.
With a good battery life and features to handle your typical smartphone needs, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 is a capable contender in the market for entry-level Android phones. Add to the fact that it is one nicely built smartphone with a stylish design not found in its rivals, I wouldn’t be surprised if the X8 will get lots of attention.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 Specs:
- Qualcomm MSM7227 600MHz processor
- Android 1.6 Donut
- 128MB internal storage
- 168MB RAM, expandable up to 16GB via microSD card (2GB microSD included)
- WiFi 802.11 b/g
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 3.15MP w/ VGA recording @ 30fps
- FM Radio tuner
- GPS w/ aGPS support
- Li-Po 1200mAh battery
- SRP: Php11,600
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Roy Sanchez with some slight revisions by the editor. Roy is a regular contributor here at PTB and specializes in Android platforms. He thinks that Android OS will win the smartphone OS wars if it comes to that.