They do say that good things come in small packages, and that is particularly true here.
Sony Ericsson certainly know they’ve got a good thing going on with their Xperia range. The X8 marks the sixth release in the series following the X1, X2, X10, X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro, and is arguably their best value for money handset to date.
Like the Sony Vaio range of laptops, the Xperia range very much stands aside from its peers in terms of aesthetic. Each model has been a wonderfully crafted and thoroughly beautiful device in its own way, but they’ve managed to really step it up a notch here. The sleek design comes in a range of five colours (White, Dark Blue/ White, Aqua Blue/ White, Pink/ White, Silver/ White) and stands head and shoulders above anything else on the market.
Smaller than most of its competitors at 99 x 54 x 15mm and weighing in at 104g, the X8 runs on a slightly disappointing 600MHz processor, and although this is reflected in the price, it does feel a little underpowered especially considering that most top end phones these days have at least 800MHz chips, and in many cases 1GHz.
Initial disappointment aside, the X8 is still an excellent handset. For those of you who do a lot of travelling, it offers a wide range of network support; with GSM 850/900/1800 and 1900 available via 2G, and HSDPA 850/900/1900 and 2100 via 3G, as well as all the usual WiFi and email functionality we’ve come to expect from even the most modest of phones today.
Social networking addicts (and let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone these days) will be happy to know that the handset ships with a Facebook application as standard, as well as compatibility for all the usual social networking apps via the built in Android Market Client.
Speaking of Android, probably the biggest let down with the X8 is the fact that it ships with the less than awe inspiring Android 1.6 – a curious move from Sony Ericsson given that pretty much everyone seems to have abandoned that particular version to move to 2.1 and beyond.
Some of the swankier features of the X10 are missing too, or have at least been cut down a little. The first thing X10 users will notice is the smaller screen size, reduced to a 3 inch HVGA capacitive touch screen. Although they do say that good things come in small packages, and that is particularly true here. The display is fantastic, and the touch screen capabilities are as reliable and responsive as you’re likely to find, especially in this price range, plus the scratch resistant finish is a nice touch for those of us who like our screens to last the test of time.
The 3.2MP on board camera might pale in comparison to others in the Sony Ericsson range, including the even cheaper non-smartphone, the Elm, but it still does a fine job providing a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels – more than enough for casual photography.
On the multimedia front, it’s got all the usual bells and whistles, offering compatibility with all the major audio and video formats, plus YouTube works straight out of the box with no need for any additional downloads or messing – always a plus.
In short the X8 is a great little handset. While it lacks the punch of some of the bigger boys on the market, it makes up for it in doing everything it does very well. It might not offer top of the range spec or functionality, but for the average user it guarantees more than you’ll ever need. For the price there is nothing that can touch it, and it certainly stands head and shoulders above everything else in terms of both look and feel, so it’s really just a matter of whether you want to spend extra for features or not.