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Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 review

Barry de la Rosa
9 Mar 2011
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.

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Specifications

Android 2.1, 3.0in 320x480 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When it was first launched, the Xperia X8 received criticism for its out-of-date version of Android.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 last.fm'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.

Details

Price£149
Rating***

Hardware

Main display size3.0in
Native resolution320x480
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels3.2-megapixel
Video recording format3GP
ConnectivityBluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPSyes
Internal memory128MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included2048MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, UMTS, HSPA
Size99x54x15mm
Weight104g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 2.1
Microsoft Office compatibilitynone
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, e-AAC+, WMA, WAV
Video playback formatsMP4, H.263, H.264, WMV
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesstereo headset, charger, USB cable
Talk time4.8 hours
Standby time18.6 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 supplierwww.handtec.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.mobiles.co.uk
Detailswww.sonyericsson.com

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