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Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £149
inc VAT

The X8 has some clever features, but it can't match Motorola’s Defy on contract. It’s a good choice on prepay, though.


Android 2.1, 3.0in 320×480 display

When it was first launched, the Xperia X8 received criticism for its out-of-date version of Android. Since then it has received a major software update to version 2.1 of the operating system, up from 1.6. It still retains Sony Ericsson’s own custom user interface, which has some interesting features.

It’s aimed squarely at the consumer market, with a focus on music and social networking. Its diminutive size means that you can only fit one widget on each home screen, but there’s room for a customisable application icon in each corner. The application tray helps make up for this; you can create new application trays and organise your apps into collections, so leaving the home screens for widgets. The screen may be small, but this actually makes it clearer than other phones that have larger screens but the same resolution. It’s colourful but not very bright, and the capacitive touch interface is smooth.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8

As well as the default Google account integration, the X8 includes Facebook and Twitter integration. Updates from your friends are aggregated in the Timescape app, which displays each update on a card in a “coverflow”-style carousel, with the contact’s picture as the background for each card. However, when you first load it the pictures don’t appear, and it can be a bit laggy.

There’s no Office document viewer, but the upgrade to Android 2.1 means that Exchange support is built-in, so the pre-installed RoadSync app is no longer needed. Sony Ericsson has installed its own Album app for photos, which isn’t as good as Android’s Gallery, but its music player is superior to Android’s basic app. It has links to further information about each song – confusingly this uses an “Infinity” logo that’s remarkably similar to’s Audio Scrobbler logo.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 back

The 3.2-megapixel camera takes typically blurry and noise-filled photos and videos – fine for Facebook, but not ideal for capturing more permanent memories. There’s no flash, so low-light shots won’t come out well, and there’s no anti-shake or red-eye removal – the only options are two video quality presets, and four camera presets (Auto, Beach/snow, Twilight and Sports). In the main Settings menu, you can also turn on geo-tagging.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 bottom

A battery life of just over a day in our light usage tests means the X8 will need regular charging, although Sony Ericsson does provide a useful 3G data-monitoring widget to help you save power and money. Although the rear casing over the battery is clipped shut, it felt a bit loose and sounds hollow when you tap it; you have to remove it to access the microSDHC card slot. However the satin-finish plastic is attractive and overall build quality is good.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 top

You can find the X8 for as little as £130 on pre-pay, or £150 SIM-free, and you can get it on contract for £20 a month. It’s a nice little phone, but it can’t compare with the Motorola Defy on contract. On PAYG, however, it’s better value than other budget phones such as the ZTE Racer and Orange San Francisco.


Price £149
Rating ***


Main display size 3.0in
Native resolution 320×480
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 3.2-megapixel
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 128MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, UMTS, HSPA
Size 99x54x15mm
Weight 104g


Operating system Android 2.1
Microsoft Office compatibility none
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, e-AAC+, WMA, WAV
Video playback formats MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories stereo headset, charger, USB cable
Talk time 4.8 hours
Standby time 18.6 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 25h 38m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £149
Price on contract £20-per-month, 18-month contract
Prepay price £130
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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