back to article Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Windows Mobile smartphone

Sony Ericsson's answer to the iPhone is finally with us, and though there's much to admire, it doesn't feel like it's quite the phone it could have been. First, though, the good stuff. The X1 is a good-looking handset, with its matte black face offset by silver trim around the sides. The front is dominated by its large, 800 x …


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  1. Farai

    How much?

    £600 for this mobile device? Even an iPhone on PAYG costs less - where is the justification, especially considering what else i could spend £600 on?

  2. frito_x

    No M2 slot?

    not good for previous SE owners (like myself)... a dual slot like the k850's would've been nice.

    not to mention WM is pants, though i could give it a shot... I'm no ABM.

    feature-wise looks a LOT better then the iphone.

    gonna have to get my hands on one first to bite the bullet.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retail or prototype?

    The Youtube videos of Panel switching show little lag. Are you reviewing a retail model or a proto?

    Also the price at the SE eStore is £499 SIM Free

  4. Steen Hive
    Thumb Up

    Love the phone

    Can't tolerate the stupid OS - there at times seems to be a different button in a different place for the same job in every different app. That ridiculous WM close button can't be operated without the stylus, either.

    That said things can be alleviated somewhat with the SPB panel or the SPB Mobile Shell but WTF? SE should have gone the whole hog and put a decently-configurable touchscreen-friendly custom shell in there. I suppose since the panel SDK is available now, I should write my own :-)

    My phone came with a 4GB card in place, for some reason - enough to get iGO8 and some decent apps on it, I suppose. After a few sessions with the keyboard, it started to come into its own - being a 2-finger-typer sorta person, this suits me just fine - fire up mobile Putty, and I'm logged into the company mothership and hacking away in no time.

    One bugbear for me though is no video calls over the WiFi pipe - why the hell not? If I buy an unbranded phone, I'd expect to be able to use that functionality.

    All in all though the thing is built like a tank and with a few tools to overcome the shortcomings in the OS it's eminently usable. A lot more utilitarian than that "other" phone too.

  5. smeddy
    Thumb Down


    I've waited for almost a year for this phone, but it's not blown me away - the low camera res, the complaints about Panels, and the nothing-spectacular music and video players. I've got three months until its time for a phone upgrade and for the first time in seven years I think I'm going non-Sony. Maybe the N96?

  6. Darren B


    Why does every fucking touch screen phone have to be compared to the fucking iPhone. There were touch screen phones around before the iPhone and there will be touch screen phone around after the iPhone.

    Try being orginal and compare the devices in their market sector rather than the current must have toy.

  7. David Haig

    X1 or E90?

    Anyone got any idea on how it compares to a Nokia E90 rather than the iPhone?

  8. Jerome

    So close to being great!

    Apart from the ridiculous price, this sounds like a pretty good device. The camera looks good, touch to focus is innovative, and the inclusion of a decent video mode seems like a miracle these days. Mind you, the lack of flash is a let-down. It's a plus that it uses a standard media card type instead of that proprietary Sony rubbish, and the proper headphone socket is another of those utterly obvious features which most manufacturers inexplicably manage to omit.

    It seems it's only let down by the OS. Any change of an Android version, SE?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Usual Crippleware..

    Usual First release all promising features are witheld for a future version...

    You havve to buy ten version of this to get the good features, problem is the features are all in different version...

    hey why sell a perfect product? you'll not sell another one tommorrow!!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Windows Mobile 6.1?

    I won't be buying it if it has WM6.1, as I like to be able to send email from my device.


  11. Dylan Brandes

    I'd like one, but i don't £600 like one.

    I have seen this on for £500 but even on contract its going to be pricey I would say at least £40/Month over 18 Months. Does anyone know what providers will be issueing this phone on contract?

  12. OrsonX

    Release Date vs. Shipping Date

    Having waited an eternity for this phone Sony Ericsson finally announced last month the 'release date' of Sept. 30th, hurrah!! (I thought)

    I was expecting iPhone-esque queues outside Vodafone on this day, and was looking forward to rushing down to Vodafone on the 1st to finally get my mits on one...

    Needless to say the 'release date' came & went without fanfare, and even today I think I'm right in saying you can't actually buy the phone from a shop in the UK (?), absolutely pathetic!

    And SE wonders why it's going belly up while Apple clean up!

    Mines the one with an iPhone now in the pocket.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Have been waiting for a review of this phone for a few months now, but one thing was missed, whats the deal with the email? Is it comparible to say a Blackberrys functionality in this respect? I have never used Outlook on a mobile, so would I be able to attach it to gmail? Or is this an Outlook\Exchange thing?

  14. Jim Coleman


    Look like I made the right decision to go for an HTC Touch Pro when it came out a couple of months back.

    Nice try, but could do better.

  15. Andrew Garrard

    vs Toshiba Portege G900?

    I'd be interested in how this compares with a G900 (same screen resolution, Windows Mobile 6.0). I jumped from my P910i to the G900 because Symbian weren't offering a decent screen resolution, only to find the G900 to be painfully slow and unstable. (Don't try, for example, taking a photo of anything with too much contrast, or the phone crashes.) Opera is incredibly slow, but I have to admit that the resolution for web browsing and reading PDFs is amazing.

    The extra features are obviously a step ahead of the G900 (more memory, GPS, better camera), but decent responsiveness and reliable keyboard input are more important to me.

    I'm tempted by the iPhone, but I'd be more tempted if Apple made an 800x480 version. Since my G900, which listed about the same as the X1, actually cost about the same as an iPhone when bundled, I'd expect the X1 to be priced competitively.

  16. Nigel Wright
    Thumb Down

    Hardly cutting edge then?

    Having used WM6 on a phone I have to say it's absolutely pants!

    SE's hardware is often very nice - why saddle it with a joke o/s that is well past its best? WM is still afflicted by poor memory management and an inability to close applications without having to resort to the task manager when it inevitably runs out of resources. Then there's the rubbish gui that utilises menus and scrollbars that waste huge amounts of precious screen space....

  17. Wonderkid

    Get an Nokia E71 instead...'s slim, stable and while lacking a touch screen, is far more practical. I use mine in conjunction with an iPod Touch that doubles as a sales tool. Customer plays with the Touch, while I can still take calls, make notes etc. Battery life on both is great. WM devices are with their superficial fancy GUIs, to quote, like putting lipstick on a pig. The E71 GUI is not pretty, but it's not pretending to be anything either, yet gets the job done remarkably efficiently. Sony Ericsson should have used their design brilliance to create a nice Symbian, Android or custom OS that was robust from core to shell. For those bashing the mention of the iPhone, having used the iPod Touch now for a few weeks, I can understand the enthusiasm for the iPhone, despite it's flaws. It does everything it does well, fluidly and in a manner that no other manufacturer has come close to emulating. My problem with the iPhone is the battery life, poor camera and lack of a tactile keyboard.

  18. Thomas

    A Sony PDA/Smartphone that doesn't use MS?

    I think I saw Satan skating to work this morning....

  19. Jamie Kitson

    Screen Compare

    The info I was after:

    Xperia X1: 800x480, 3 inch

    iPhone: 480×320, 3.5 inch

    HTC Touch HD: 480x800, 3.8 inch

    I know which one I'm waiting for.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    800x840 screen with 128MB RAM for video and still no good?

    So the Register is saying that as the X1 can capture video and has a 800x480 screen for play back of pre-recorded video that these media capabilities are worst or no better then the iPhone! Wow SE have really messed-up!

  21. sleepy

    Just Android left . . .

    Just Android left to show its abilities as iPhone killer then.

    Apple yesterday announced they sold more iPhones that RIM sold Blackberries in the last quarter, and got more than twice the handset revenue. Apple was number 3 in handset revenues behind Nokia and Samsung. Apple had 10% more revenue from one handset than Sony Ericsson had from all 80 or so handset models.

    AT&T yesterday announced a net gain of 1.7 million contract customers from other carriers. One million of those moved to get an iPhone.

    Like it or not, iPhone is leading the industry, despite having only a half of one percent of the market by units, and it's looking as though the rest still won't have an effective competitor 2 years after the iPhone was first demonstrated in public.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone cannot be purchased SIM Free in the UK

    @Farai, if you look at even refub iPhones are £500 SIM Free.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Quick Question

    What is the "soft-emnu" feature mentioned on page 2 of the review? Does the phone come with a soft Emu, or maybe you get an Emo kid with every purchase and said Emo kid is soft in the head? Or is it something all together different? Inquiring minds want to know :-).

  24. Michael Wright

    A bit familiar?

    This all sounds a bit like my HTC Kaiser, what with slide-out-and-tilt keyboard, Windows Mobile rather than Symbian, microSD rather than MemoryStick, camera of only moderate quality. Coincidence?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    This phone sucks!

    Yeah, OK the HW is OK, but that's not even SEs!

    But it is a very bad joke to call this phone Xperia. The Xperience is just about the worst of any WM phone today, and that says quite a lot. The panel is so bad, useless and slow that you have to take it away. And the rest is just gucky old WM, but implemented in a much worse way than HTC or Samsung.

    The battery may last a day, but I personally have to vomit after a few hours use.

    Their UIQ phones was heaven compared to this one. I hope they come to their senses and change to Android instead. Or possibly Nokia Foundation, but branch off in some interested direction away from crappy, boring S59.


  26. Shonko Kid

    Why SE? WHY?!?

    This so could have been the phone to replace the seminal P910i, but Windows!?!? WTF were you thinking? Even S60 would've been better than that!

  27. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Re: X1 or E90 - hands on comparison

    I had the opportunity to try out the X1 yesterday (Symbian Smartphone Show) and I have to say I was unimpressed....

    The version I had my hands on may well have been an early version/prototype but all the same I found the switching between panels slow and the touchscreen quite unresponsive compared to other devices. Switching between panels was also awkward and frequently I found the X1 switched to the panel next to the one I'd touched (my fingers aren't that fat!). This was irritating and kind of defeated the object really! I have tried out an iphone and Samsung Omnia and found the touchscreens on these to be far more responsive.

    The size of the phone too was an issue, coming to it from using a Nokia E90. Maybe being used to using "the brick" the X1 will appear small and fiddly to use, but if you're going to include a qwerty keyboard it helps if it is at least a reasonable size for heavier-duty typing otherwise you end up not using it for anything longer than a quick text - in which case, what's the point in having one in the first place?

    E90 Screen size : 800 x 392, 4 inch / X1 Screen size: 800x480, 3 inch

    The 3 inch screen appeared really small when compared to the E90's 4 inch screen, but if judged on its own, rather than against the E90 this might not be an issue for you. For me this is probably the E90's best feature and on this the X1 doesn't come close.

    Of course many people find the E90 monstrously large so for them the reduced size of the X1 might be a plus, but for me I would prefer useability/functionality (larger screen/keyboard) over a slight reduction in size.

    The one area where I found the Xperia X1 to be far superior was in its design and finish. It beats the E90 hands down on this and looks pretty classy. If only it was slightly bigger to allow a larger screen and keyboard!

    Overall I was left disappointed which was a shame because I was really hoping that the X1 would impress me - hey, I might even have dumped the E90 for one. I only had 10 minutes to try it out so maybe I missed something and it could be that the X1 grows on you, but in general I have to say from what I saw of the X1 if you're comparing it against the E90, it is not an improvement.


  29. robin thakur
    Thumb Down

    This is an overpriced joke

    This phone was hotly anticipated by me ages ago when it was announced. I'm not a fan of the prism styling but this is an disappointment due solely to the OS. SE if you want to beat the iPhone, look at what people like about it, and what they don't/won't like about yours. Nobody outside of the IT community likes using WiMo phones, and the sooner you wake up to that fact and move on, the better. Who the hell wants to have to navigate the Windows OS on a tiny screen with a stylus? Its like punishment of some kind. £500 for the pleasure? You must be joking.

    Anyone thinking that the media capabilities of this phone are better than an iPhone/Touch/iTunes are living in fairy land also, have you used one ever? The camera is better on this and the keyboard is better, but in context with the crap OS, and the archaic brick design, who exactly do SE imagine buying one? Brick phones really muck up my suit lines, you know. SE are trying to repeat the success of the p900, p910 etc but this is not the way to do it, and the post-iPhone market is changing quicker than they can keep up, it seems. They need to not waste valuable R&D and marketing spend on dead ends like this. A lot of developers have jumped ship to the Apple Appstore too thanks to its smooth method of delivery, and micro-payment system, so expect the 3rd party software on this to be the best of homebrew and a version of Frogger if you're lucky. Or you could always code your own... Anyone? No? People compare every smartphone to the iPhone because it is leading the pack at the moment, whether you want to admit it or not.

    Great battery life on this btw, 1 day really puts the 'defective' iPhone 3G with similar or better battery life in the shade...ahhemm, or isn't anyone going to mention that? How long did this phone take to develop after the iPhone came out and how much did it cost to bring to market SE? You know that you won't be seeing that money again.

  30. Edward Green
    Gates Halo

    Windows Mobile is an ugly mongrel that knows lots of tricks ...

    Windows Mobile is Windows Mobile. It is not iPhone.

    As I use the voice navigation of Tom Tom running in the background whilst looking at live sat imagery in Google maps whilst streaming music over 3g off my home media server whilst I download my imap email, I know I am a Windows Mobile geek!

    So what that it takes me twice as long to input an appointment on the Touch Pro than it did on my Treo 680. So what that the music skips from time to time?

    Jack of all trades ... Nobody loves it, but many of us love what we can do with it.

    Still a pity that SE couldn't quite get this device right. Sounds like Touch Flo is better as a front end than the Sony offering.

  31. David Haig

    @ X1 or E90 - hands on comparison

    Cheers AC - Think that's made my mind up. I've got to replace my 9500 soon before the other hinge falls off and was waiting to see if the X1 wad worth the jump but I think its an E90 for me!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheese sandwich or Roast Beef dinner ?

    I am so fsk'ing tired of the fruity loop phone fanbois comments every time a phone is reviewed. Guess what dudes? Not every one wants the lockdown that comes with snApple nor the restrictions that the gui places on you (Sorry Dave, I cant do that). WinMo is less than perfect but the joy of it is that you can play with it and make it work how you want it to work. Change the UI graphics/colours, change the installed apps, change the ROM, etc.etc.

    Ok, the tablet is starting to kick in now and Im feeling calmer. So calm that the Fisher-Price UI of the FruiTeePhone actually starts to look good :)

  33. robin thakur

    re:-Cheese sandwich or Roast Beef dinner ?

    The 'fruitee phone' kicks Wimo's ass on nearly everything worth mentioning and funnily enough the manager from MS I was speaking to to last week admitted the same. I generally don't like closed systems, but my experience with other phones before iPhones were invented and trying to buy and install apps left me in no doubt that a non technical person wouldn't have a hope in hell, and would bother in the first place. The iPhone is closed but is extensible enough through the amazing appstore that nobody really cares. All apps are guaranteed to work and not screw your phone up either thanks to Apple's absolutely 'terrible' QA and vetting procedures. If you don't like that, jailbreak it and the sky's the limit. Try using a iPhone for a month or two, then go back to WiMo, you will be shocked (as I was) that you ever spent the extra time to use it.

    WiMo folks are going to have to realize that this market is definitely shrinking because its being attacked on all sides, not just by Apple, but by Blackberry and Android too. You can't say that MS didn't have a large enough window of opportunity to fix it to be something decent instead of wasted potential, they have had years and yet its still pretty much pointless for and invisible in the market for most people outside of the IT crowd who seem to assume that since MS have a dominant desktop and server share that naturally their handset OS is the best as well. There's nothing to say that just because something is complicated to use it is better. Apple's brief spike of innovation has shown the mobile industry as a whole to be too preoccupied with the exterior design of phones and not enough on the OS's. This is evidenced at how they have been falling all over each other to try and release an 'iPhone-beater' but all singularly failed. Wimo is detined to disappear quite soon, and rubbish sales of the Xperia will only hasten this. Having said that, the P990 was the worst phoe I ever owned and made my next Wimo phone looks quite good by comparison for a while. But everything's relative.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    tut! grammar!

    "The X1 will handle cards of up to 16GB in capacity, though none is supplied."

  35. Matthew P Thomas

    So slow SE

    Dodged the iPhone last time by having the 960se. Touch screen was a joke, yet maybe my fat fingers did not help. OS was slowwwwww and not a patch on pre release machines i saw. So SE tempt me with their X1 and I get all excited at a possible decent replacement/upgrade and then they go and ruin it all by shackling the phone with iffy touch screen, slow operation and huge cost.

    Would like to echo previous posts about the massive range SE have, please cut it down to 5-6 top class products. SE has the design bit sorted but not quite the seamless integration with their hardware and a slick os. Too many cooks at SE.

  36. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    RE: the MS manager praising Apple for iPhone kicking WM6.1 and other imaginery tales of robin thakur

    "The 'fruitee phone' kicks Wimo's ass on nearly everything worth mentioning"

    Yeah sure... what complete load of BS.

    iCrap is such an @ss-kicker that it LACKS VERY BASIC FEATURES:

    - no landscape email writing (yep, I'm not joking, it's 2008 and you can't do it)

    - no copy/cut/paste function (NOT JOKING!)

    - no MMS

    - no Flash support whatsoever (there's your "full web experience" - habitual lying)

    - no task list

    - no meaningful management of your WiFi connections

    - no flashlight for camera

    - worse camera/picture wuality than even an average Sony Ericsson phone's PQ

    - constant reception/3G problems

    - no keyboard/abysmal, awkward on-screen one

    - terrible batter life but don't worry because

    - continuous stream of firmware updates (you're essentially paying for beta testing it)

    - no way to replace your battery anyway!


    Stop spreading the fake PR crap about this shiny piece of crippled crap called iPhone.

    "and funnily enough the manager from MS I was speaking to to last week admitted the same."

    Yeah and funnily enough the Genius in charge in Apple Soho the other day readily agreed with me saying iPhone has indeed a long way to go to become something more than an iPod that can do basic web browsing and make call - e.g. a good smartphone...

    Can we stop posting these BS telltales?

    "Try using a iPhone for a month or two, then go back to WiMo, you will be shocked (as I was) that you ever spent the extra time to use it."

    You mean the time you spent with the iPhone, right?

    Because if you go back and you try to use your smartphone for something else than listening to music or just calling someone you'll learn how much EASIER your life becomes when you have a keyboard or when you can actually c/p a text or install Skype on your phone and call your pals or family overseas for pennies, stick in a larger capacity SD card, install software for FREE, you can actually read the text when you are writing long emails comfortably, use Google Map's Street View for free with your GPS, listen music WITHOUT WIRES, browse the internet including FLASH Player, install ANOTHER browser (e.g. Opera Mobile or Mini) - in other words things that are impossible or very annoying on the iPhone.

    Work, live = G1, Berries and WM6.1Pro (yes, look at the top HTC ones)

    Listen music, make calls (if youcan) and show off = iPhone and its crippled crap OS

    "You can't say that MS didn't have a large enough window of opportunity to fix it to be something decent instead of wasted potential, they have had years and yet its still pretty much pointless for and invisible in the market for most people outside of the IT crowd who seem to assume that since MS have a dominant desktop and server share that naturally their handset OS is the best as well. "

    FYI as someone in "the IT crowd" I can tell you that your funny ideas are just as dead wrong about us than about phones (or servers etc) - nobody ever believed that dominancy in the server OS market is the (sole) proof of being better (forget the idiocy of relating it to an (almost) unrelated smartphone OS market...)

    Many of us use WM solely because there's NOTHING BETTER out there, not because it's such a great product. I HATE when it becomes unresponsive and I'd love to see an iPhone-like responsiv eness - but I WILL NOT GIVE UP BASIC FEATURES like Apple would force me to give up.

    "There's nothing to say that just because something is complicated to use it is better."

    And there's certainly even less to say that just because someone is more crippled, allows you to do LESS but snappier and hyped more it is better.

    Apple is great at translating even complicated tasks into a few fairly easy steaps, no question about it. However the iPhone is just another typical Apple product, with the fingerprints of the notorious micromanager and control-freak Jobs all over it - and this is exactly why it's a crippled crap.

    "Apple's brief spike of innovation has shown the mobile industry as a whole to be too preoccupied with the exterior design of phones and not enough on the OS's."

    What an utter load of crap - exactly WHAT IS the innovation in the iPhone?

    The lack of features, the crippled nature of the user environment or the constant flow of firmwares to patch up the most egregious bugs and missing or broken features?

    The iPhone has ONE BIG ADVANTAGE: its responsiveness. Apple was dead on when they recognised the first and foremost definitive thing when it comes to user experience is the response time, how 'snappy' the OS behaves.

    While Apple's phone severely lacks basic features they deserve a lot of kudos for this 'snappiness' because other mfrs seem to have forgotten these things while they were chasing each other in the feature-race but it's not innovation, period.

    This legend of "innovative iPhone" MUST DIE, once and forever. Can't believe that someone other than some idiotic Apple fanboy - i.e. the 'we designer / waiter" type - still believes this BS marketing crap...

  37. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    @Levente Szileszky

    You need to get out more. Breath some air - walk around a bit. It'll be OK.

  38. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @Levente Szileszky

    Chill out, it's a phone.

    The days of C64 vs Speccy playground arguments are long gone.

    If the iPhone was so bad then Google and others wouldn't be ripping off it's design, app store etc.

  39. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @Hardly cutting edge then?

    >Having used WM6 on a phone I have to say it's absolutely pants!

    >SE's hardware is often very nice - why saddle it with a joke o/s that is well past its best?

    You'd better get used to it, WM8 is where all interface design is due and WM7 isn't out in 2010. So WM8 won't be around until 2011 or 2012!!!

    It's astounding how long Microsoft can keep dragging their heels with WM development. I bought a Toshiba E800 in 2003 and some other WM phones. From a user perspective the OS has barely changed since WM2005!

  40. Levente Szileszky


    I wasn't pissed or anything, I just wish to see this stupid, false urban legend about the "innovative" iPhone (or Apple, for the record) would die once and forever.

    "If the iPhone was so bad then Google and others wouldn't be ripping off it's design, app store etc."

    Ummm who's ripping off Apple? You got it backward, pal - iPhone came to the party pretty late, taking clues from all smartphones out there, mostly from HTC WM phones.

    The Google G1 is another HTC-made phone and it is exactly just like any other one they made, beginning many years before Jobs even dreamed of the iPhone: slide-out QWERTY keyboard, powerful CPU, lots of memory, nice touchscreen, slick design.

    Also G1's design couldn't be more different from Apple's: G1 is a nice anodized matte black phone unlike Apple's shiny, chromish-trimmed unit (at least here, in the US) - which, BTW, is rather a copy of certain Asian HTC competitor phonesfrom earlier times.

    And FYI: application stores exist since Palm days (~late 90s), a DECADE before Apple, I have no idea what are you talking about - have you ever heard of Handango? Started as Palm and its WM-specialized area opened in 2001...

    As it's always, once again Apple didn't 'invent' crap, it merely copied others and marketed as their own idea and people with no clue whatsoever keep parroting their PR BS, sorry but this is what it is.

    Pathetic, that is.

  41. Adam Foxton


    "but my experience with other phones before iPhones were invented and trying to buy and install apps left me in no doubt that a non technical person wouldn't have a hope in hell"

    So the average user can't manage "download .cab, tap it to install" or "download installer to PC, connect up phone to PC, run installer"? Even my mum can manage that.

    Also, both of Levente Szileszky's posts are correct.

  42. Steen Hive

    WM unresponsiveness

    It's true and unfortunately the X1 suffers from it too. IMHO what causes it is the absolutely fucking humungous amount of files in the windows directory. It takes and age to read anything out of it and any app that touches \Windows will suffer as a result.

    I have touch-flo 3d installed on the X1 now and I'm as happy as a pig in shit, nonetheless.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    I <3 Levente Szileszky

    As someone said previously - stop comparing everything to the bloody iPhone.

    And Levente is correct - there are so many horrible shortcomings in the iPhone... you can't forward an SMS? What's that about?

    Can't wait to get my X1 when my o2 store has stock ;)

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