Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro review

Mini Android smartphone with slide-out keyboard and innovative interface
Photo of Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro
£130 on Vodafone PAYG; £FREE on Vodafone Contract; £229 , SIM-free

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia range of Android-based smartphones keeps on growing. The Xperia Mini Pro is a version of the small-format Xperia Mini, but with a slide-out keyboard.

Small and yet chunky
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro is a small handset. It measures just 92x53mm and feels dinky in the hand. But at 18mm, it also feels overly thick . That’s because this weeny smartphone houses a tiny slide-out Qwerty keyboard.

We’ve seen Sony take this tack before in the old Xperia X10 Mini which came in a keyboarded Mini Pro version, so the overall size is not a big surprise. But you’ll notice this fat handset in your pocket, regardless of the fact that the format is not novel.

Mini makeover
Sony Ericsson did clever things with its Android skin in the Xperia X10 in order to make the most of a small screen. The screen is small here too – just 3 inches across the diagonal.  And Sony Ericsson has improved still further on its previous cleverness.

The user interface has five home screens, and in every corner there is a customisable icon based shortcut. This is as we’ve seen before. But this time round Sony Ericsson has decided we can handle a tiny carousel of four shortcuts in each corner, which pop up when you tap at the screen. This means there’s space for 16 little shortcuts that you can theme or group. It works really, really well.

The 1GHz processor moves nippily along and there’s nothing to stop you watching video via YouTube or even embedded Flash video in web sites – apart from the fact that the small screen is a bit squint-worthy.

And for my next trick…
The on-screen keyboard is difficult to use in either tall or wide screen modes, simply because it is crammed into 3 inches of screen area. But slide out the physical keyboard and the tiny but well-spaced keys fall remarkably well under our average-sized hands.

Sony Ericsson hasn’t stopped here, though. There are a few more neat extras. Our favourite is in the music player. Tap a ‘Like’ button and the handset will go online and send details of the tune you are currently listening to off to Facebook. There’s nothing like sharing, is there? Another button on the music player gets data from the web – lyrics, artist information, music videos from YouTube and even – heaven help us – karaoke videos.

Company: Sony Ericsson

Website: http://www.sonyericsson.com/

Contact: http://www.vodafone.co.uk

Positives
  • Small; good Qwerty keyboard; capable processor.
Negative
  • Some hands may find it a bit too small; chunky build.

Verdict

Sony Ericsson's handsets don't always hit the spot, but the Xperia Mini Pro is a lovely little number. Small, neat, with a good processor, well thought through user interface and some nice connected features, it is a handset we rather like.