Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Possibly the Nicest WinMobile Phone

x1_slider_black_1 For the last couple of days I have been playing around with what could arguably be the best Windows Mobile phone in business – Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1. From the packaging to the diminutive USB charger to the sleek finish of the device itself, the whole X1 experience is flawless. It is a well-designed smartphone that is very well-engineered. It is no different than Sony VAIO laptops or Bravia TVs, and as such it’s no surprise that it’s expensive: $799. The device is going to be available in the U.S. starting Nov. 28 on Sony’s (s sne) web site, Sony Style.
It comes with a very comfortable slider keyboard, great connectivity options (WiFi, 3G, Quad-band GSM etc.) and is a multimedia powerhouse. The phone comes with a 3-inch WVGA display with resolution of up to 800 X 480 pixels screen, which means it can play back videos in almost DVD quality and makes it easy to play 3D mobile games. I love the photos taken by the 3.2 megapixel camera and the music playback is solid and clear. X1 has a pretty decent battery life — and yes, it beats the pants off the iPhone 3G battery. It got about 8 hours on AT&T’s 3G network — ahead of my iPhone — but lagged the Android G1. However, it had better GSM standby and talk times. But again, battery usage differs from person to person. One thing I hate about the device is that it lacks built-in memory, but the good news is that it can take up to 32 GB in a memory card.
What will surprise you the most is that this phone is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1. Despite the torturous Windows Mobile interface, I found myself liking this device, which shows that with some creativity and lots of imagination, even Windows Mobile can stand up to assaults from Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone, RIM’s ( s rimm) Blackberry and Google’s (s goog) Android. Of course Windows Mobile means that the phone syncs with Microsoft Exchange over the air. It can read documents, spreadsheets and presentations natively.
I was surprised by how nimble the phone feels — I have yet to use another Windows Mobile phone that comes close to X1. The device gives you many ways to interact with the contact touch, full QWERTY keyboard, 4-way key and optical joystick navigation and panels. It is the panels which are awesome and function almost like how the applications are accessed on the iPhone.
Bottomline: If your company insists that you need a Windows Mobile phone, then Xperia X1 is an obvious (and perhaps the only) choice.