Monday, August 16, 2010

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Mini

As my old P1i was giving up, behaving somewhat weird, I thought I should get a new phone. I zeroed in on two phones. The SE Elm which would cost me Rs.10800 and the SE XPERIA X10 Mini Pro which was around Rs.16000. As I have to remain connected on the go and should always be ready to read PDFs and PPTs after getting myself admitted to PG, I ruled out Elm which isn't an smartphone and thought of getting an X10 Mini Pro. I hunted 10 shops in Allahabad but didn't find my phone of choice anywhere. Finally I settled onto the hardware keyboard sans version of Mini Pro i.e. Mini. It was available for Rs.14600 in Big Bazar, Rs.15300 in The Mobile Store and Rs.16600 in a local shop. Obviously, I opted for the Big Bazar.

The phone is little cute wonderful sweeeeeetie in my arsenal now. I was non-plussed at its speed. A 600MHz and an onboard 128MB RAM are enough to run the phone perfectly smooth without any apparent lag in UI, unlike the Nokia Symbians which run quite lethargic. The Android is an awesome development in the mobile OS world. Although it is missing some basic functionality at this point of time but still it is the best way to throw your crappy Nokia sluggish Symbian.
I'll start with the negative points first and afterwards move towards the positive points, then I'll provide you some tips(and apps) for the X10 mini and then off course will provide links to download few of the mentioned apps.

Ok, negative points start first.
1. You can't connect to an ad-hoc WiFi network with android! What a shame!!!! Its not SE's fault, but a missing feature from Android.
2. You can't access internet on a WiFi network that requires you to specify a proxy address and username/password to surf the internet. Again! What a shame!!!! My college's each and every single inch falls in the marvellous WiFi connectivity of the campus but I can't browse the internet through my phone as, a freaking squid proxy server sits between us and the internet, at 172.31.1.3:8080. Anyways, later I found a workaround and was able to surf on my X10 Mini's browser!!! I'll post the thing later.
3. Coming to music player, the music in the bundled earphone is unlistenable. It is bassless and treble full. This is very bad from SE's part, really really bad. SE has been always a leader in mobile music industry with the W550i breaking the records once and others following the similar path. I hadn't expected this level of quality in SE's earphones. Anyways, I pushed in my Walkman's earphone and the quality was perfect. So, the phone isn't the culprit, the bundled earphone is. Actually they have given a 3.5mm jack which apart from earphones, also has an embedded microphone. This is something different from others.
4. You can't create playlists in the music player. Again, this is a no no!!! But well, there are workarounds, especially if you install third party apps.
5. The music player has no equalizer, nor presets for the equalizer settings. So you can't fine tune your music listening experience. Getting Astro Player circumvents this demerit as it has a very good equalizer.
6. The phone doesn't support bluetooth file transfer out of the box, however SE has promised that they will bundle the bluetooth file transfer app in the next firmware update. But you can download the Bluetooth File Transfer app from the Android Market for free and it works very perfectly.
7.  You can't install third party apps on the memory card. Everything goes to the 160MB internal memory. So, you're sure to fall short of some silicon if you are an application/game junkie. I installed 65 third party apps and I am left with around 40MB on my phone memory. Enough for me :)
8. You must have a google account to do many things for example downloading and installing apps from the market.
9. The screen has a low resolution i.e. 240x320
10. The onscreen keyboard is a multitap one instead of QWERTY so typing is slow. But there are third party apps for using onscreen keyboard and the typing becomes perfectly fast with them. SlideKeyboard is one such thing.
11. The battery isn't user replaceable. It is hard coded/wired/embedded under the hood.

Ok ok, lots of criticism by now. So we should now start with the positives and then move to tips and tricks and then continue to some app downloads and then some other relevant info.
1. The User Interface is a marvel. Especially I love the Timescape and the very very fast and responsive interface
2. Most of the android system has been designed very logically and you will love it.
3. The phone has a magnetometer(digital compass) which works perfectly well, although you need a third party app to use it.
4. The phone has location services like geotagging, thanks to the perfect GPS receiver.
5. At 88 grams it is the lightest and smallest smartphone on the planet.
6. Battery backup is good in comparison to the smart phones. Works for two days of normal use for me. Warning: My normal use seems to be heavy use for many people. So if you are someone whose metric for normal use is smaller than mine the you can get your phone to work for 3 days on a single charge with ease.
7. The camera is one of the best 5.0 megapixel cameras in the market. It snaps near digicam pictures in day in good lighting conditions.
8. Although some people say that due to small screen resolution many android apps don't run on it. But this is  false. I've been able to run all android apps from the market, except two.
9. In october the phone's OS will be upgraded to Android 2.1 Eclair

A list of useful apps follows, that you may download from the market.
Some apps can be downloaded from here. Download the archives in your computer and extract them to get the apk files. The password for the archives is blahblah

1. DocumentsToGo(Must-Have)
This cool thing lets you view and edit DOC, PPT, XLS, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX and PDF files very perfectly. This is a must. Download it here, along with the unlocker.
How to install???? Open the menu, tap Settings, then tap Applications. Then tick mark Unknown Sources. Now transfer the .apk files you extracted from the downloaded archive to the memory card's other folder using a data cable. Now disconnect the phone from the computer and in its main menu tap Application Installer. It will search for the .apk file in the card and prompt you to install it.
2. Astro File Manager(Must-have)
Its a very good file manager for android phones.
3. Gesture search(Must-have)
It lets you search for contacts using handwriting recognition. You swipe you finger as if drawing a character with pen, and it will search the contacts list for you
4. Compass
It utilizes your phone's built-in digital magnetometer and shows directions.
5. Photoshop
Wonderful tool for editing images
6. Facebook location updater
It posts your GPS location on facebookwith a link to google map for that location
7. PicSay Pro
Its a wonderful photo editor
8. Seesmic
Its the best twitter client for android.
9. WiFi Analyzer
Its of no use for me ;-( But may be some people will find it very helpful.
10. Yahoo Droid
Yahoo messenger for android
11. Meebo IM
Perfect multiprotocol IM client for Android. You may also try Slick. It is very good.
12. Merriam Webster's Dictionary(Must-have)
Lookup any word meaning. You may also download voice pack for it, the download link for which will be shown to you after you launch it for the first time. The voice pack works perfectly and pronounces the words as you wish.
13. WiFi Static(Must-have)
You can create several WiFi profiles, for example office, home etc. if you are in a non-DHCP network always. Then connect to any network conveniently. Very useful tool for me.
14. Qik
The live video streaming app. For more details visit qik.com
15. Latitude
The google latitude service to find your nearby friends
16. Goggles
The photo search app from google. You can snap pictures of some known items and google will try to identify the image and come up with the info. Good for tourists. They can click monuments and know about them
17. Handcent SMS
It shows nicely your sms messages.
18. AndroZip(Must-have)
The muti format archiver.
19. Barcode scanner(Must-have)
Scan any barcode with your phone's camera and know about the product.
20. Apache file server
 and
WiFi File explorer
essentially let you do the same thing. They make your phone a file server and give you a browser interface so that you can download and upload files from and to the sd card from a computer
21. OfficeSuite
Its an alternatice for Docs2Go but I prefer Docs2Go
22. SMS Speak(Must-have)
It will read out your SMS messages!
23. ES File Explorer, Security Manager and Task Manager
Good phone management applications. Security manager can protect your phone if it is stolen.
24. Google Translate
No need to mention.
25. GPS Status
It tells your latitude and longitude as well as uses your magnetometer to show directions.
26. Accu Weather
Weather report of your city on your X10 Mini
27. K-9 Mail(Must-have)
Excellent mail client. Its a must have app!!!
28. MSN Droid
The MSN messenger for your Android
29. Neoreader
This will let you scan QR codes.
30. Android VNC
The VNC viewer for your android. I didn't test it yet.
31. Net Tools
Basic network tools like ping, IP to host, host to IP lookups etc.
32. Chess
The chess game on your android
33. Infinity
Its a browser that uses smart fit and gets you out of the hassle of scrolling right-left on websites.
34. Logmein
It lets you log in to your PC. I didn't test it yet.
35. Setting Profile(Must-have)
It lets you change profile with just a touch! You can create profiles for meeting, home, office, browsing, college etc and set the values for ringer, vibrator, backlight etc and then when entering one of those areas, change the profile instead of individually changing the settings.
36. Vignette
It lets you frame your camera pictures
37. Blogger Droid
For photo blogging from your phone.
38. System
It lets you view essential system info, like free RAM and processor speed
39. Google Sky(Must-have)
It lets you view the location of astronomical bodies. Its a very good app for astronomical fun.
40. ThickButtons(Must-have)
or SlideItKeyboard
The onscreen QWERTY keyboard instead of the built-in multitap keuboard. They both are good, but I prefer ThickButtons ;)
41. Pixelpipe
One touch multiplatform blogging app
42. Connect Bot
Use SSH from your phone
43. Bluetooth file transfer(Must-have)
Transfer files to and from you phone via bluetooth.
44. Advance lie detector
I don't believe it works! But still you can try it for some fun
45. Search plus
Search content on Bing, Google, WikiPedia, Twitter etc.

Some handy tips
1. How to transfer contacts from your old phone into your android?

Use your old phone's contact backup feature to create a VCF file for your contacts. For example, in SE phones in Contacts>More>Advanced there is an option Backup To MS. Use that. Then copy the vcf file from the memory card to your computer. Now open up google.com/contacts on your PC browser. Click the Import link on the extreme right. Now upload the VCF file.
Next, on your X10 mini. Choose Settings. Scroll down and click Contacts. Wait, you'll see all your contacts soon on the phone.
You must have an active GPRS/EDGE/3G/WiFi connection for this feature to work.

2. How to configure GPRS access?
Menu>Setings>Wireless Controls>Mobile Networks>Access Point Names
Now press the first key, i.e. the first of the three keys on the phone below the touch screen. Tab New APN.
Put the name of APN, for example Virgin Mobile
Put APN as the APN of your service provider, like vinternet.in
If your service provider requires a proxy, then fill it up. Leave other fields blank.

3. Troubleshoot GPRS
Sometimes you may notice that you aren't able to see the E or G signal. Go to the APN setting, scroll down to the bottom and check the APN Type field. If its blank, then its fine else blank it.

4. How to lock your phone from unauthorised use?
Menu>Settings>Security & Location and turn on the Require Pattern field. Now you can create a locking pattern for unlocking your phone sceen when required, instead of typing a secret number as you might have used inyour old phones.

5. How to enable third party on screen keyboard like ThickButtons?
Menu>Settings>Locale and Text. There tick mark ThickButtons. Now come back to messaging or browser or any app that has a text field. There long tap the text field. Long tapping means keep your finger on the field for a few seconds. You'll get a menu, just choose ThickButtons there.

6. Secret codes?

First: Press *#*#4636#*#*  on the dial pad to reveal a secret menu.

Second: When phone is in locked state, press a key. You will see the prompt to push the option key to unlock but do NOT unlock the phone.
Next, press the key sequence below in the order provided when the "unlock now" screen is still visible: 

Middle->Right->Right->Middle->Right->Middle->Middle->Right


7. Android Versions
1.5 -> Cupcake
1.6 -> Donut(In X10 Mini)
2.1 -> Eclair
2.2 -> FroYo(Frozen Yoghurt)

43 comments:

THE_WALL said...

Itni beizati kardi..:'(

Prab97 said...

Itna saara toh kaam ka information hai be.

Aur, chand mey daag rahna chaahiye, nahee toh nazar lag jaayegi.

Apoyando said...

So, how to connect to a proxy enabled network???
Please help, without wi-fi this phone is nothing.

megha said...

hey i can't open android market only..can u please help..i tried to login through my google account but it says data transmission is not possible (i have airtel connection)

Prab97 said...

Do all other apps that access net work perfectly? For instance, Opera Mini, Facebook etc.???? If yes, then you need to update your phone's firmware. For that you have to download Sony Ericsson Update Service from http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/support/phones/topic/updateserviceapplication/xperiax10mini?cc=gb&lc=en

and follow the instructions provided.
There was an update recently that fixed several issues. So, try that. It should solve your problem.

Prab97 said...

@Apoyando I guess, it was you who conversed with me on facebook regarding this issue. Right?

megha said...

actually none of the phone's inbuilt applications that require net work and i can't get why. Can u please guide me how to operate the applications please?

Prab97 said...

I believe, the GPRS settings are not correctly done in your phone.
In the Menu, tap Settings>Wireless Controls>Mobile Networks>Access Point Names.
There press Options(the leftmost key, among the three hardware keys built below the screen). Then tap New APN. Now set the Name as Airtel. APN as airtelgprs.com
Leave all other things blank. Scroll down to the bottom and make sure that APN Type field is set to blank. Now press the Back button(the rightmost key among the three). And tick mark the APN.
Your phone's internet should now start working.
If you still have issues, then tell me, I'll mail you the instructions with screenshots.

megha said...

i have downloaded the settings correctly...the airtel gprs is activated on my cell and i can easily browse the sites using browser..but the problem occurs when i use phone's applications....for example when i try to login to google account it comes that the sim card may not be provisioned for data services...

Apoyando said...

@Prab97
Yeah man...this proxy thing is killing every bit of the phone :(

@Megha
I also encountered the same problem.
This happens when you skip the google sync at the time of the phone setup(the first time you switch on your phone). Solution: A Phone reset and then trying again.

megha said...

@apoyanda so i have to reset factory data? n won't i lose all my contacts and other data if i did that??

megha said...

@apoyando hey i tried that method u said and i was able to sign in to my google account and open the android market...and i have downloaded bluetooth file transfer..but now i am occurring the problem of root permissions..i'm not able to receive or send files still via bluetooth...please help

Prab97 said...

Please describe the problem exactly.
I can suggest you to remove the application. Then download it again from PlayNow instead of Android Market

John said...

Hey cool blog! I have an x10 mini pro and I love it!

Mohit said...

i bought a new xperia x10 mini pro.....I cant get vodafone gprs??i tried d method and i only get a e signal no page...!!

swaranjit said...

sir
all the applications work well only on wifi and none works on my mobile internet. browser is working fine
please advise

swaranjit
kalra733@gmail.com
kalra73@rediffmail.com

Baskar said...

hey. nice blog.. i own a mini pro. and u never mentioned how to connect wi-fi through a proxy network.. could u help me out

Prab97 said...

@Mohit If you get E signal and still can't access any site, I guess there is some proxy setting missing probably. Get the proxy details of Vodaphone Live.
Cross check with these details in Settings>Wireless Controls>Mobile Networks>Access Point Names>Vodafone GPRS:

APN: potalnmms
Prxy: 10.10.1.100
Port: 9401

All other fields except MCC and MNC should be blank

Prab97 said...

@Swaranjit
Thats because of some settings issue. Tell me your service provider name so that I can post how to do the settings manually. Most service providers haven't yet added X10 series in their index to send automatic settings.

Prab97 said...

@Baskar
The method I'm using to connect to WiFi through proxy won't work everywhere. I own a server in my institute which I use as a web based proxy to browse internet.

ish said...

Well, everything seems fine for my internet settings. One problem is i cant excess any net based applications. though the browser is still running internet. everytime i try any mail or facebook application, it says 'check internet connection'.
Please advice what to do. I'm using Reliance-Gprs Mumbai

Prab97 said...

@ish I believe this is due to proxied internet GPRS you are using. You should try with a friends Airtel GPRS that doesn't require a proxy server address. If the internet based apps work in that case, then you should change the operator and switch to Airtel or any other which gives non-proxied internet GPRS. I dunno whether Reliance GSM has such a plan or not. If they have, then switch to that plan.

ish said...

@Prabh
Ya there is proxy server in Reliance. I think you might be right. Is there any other operator(other then airtel)which give non proxy gprs?

ish said...

Also I dont have Market Application on y phone. Do we need to update it for getting that or what?

Prab97 said...

Many operators do provide proxyless GPRS. BSNL I know. Aircel does too. Probably Vodafone doesn't. Tata DoCoMo and Virgin GSM too give proxyless GPRS.
In your phone go to Settings>Applications. There tick the Unknown Sources option.

Now in your browser enter this address to downlload and automatically install the Market APK file
http://indifun.in/prab/Vending.apk

Your phone needs GPRS or WiFi internet connectivity to download this file.

Shashi said...

Hey dear
I want to surf internet on my pc using my x10 mini as a modem. I have airtel sim. What settigs I ll ve to do on my pc. Please help.
Thanks !
SHASHI

Prab97 said...

You need to have a rooted Android 2.1 on your phone. Then you can easily use your phone's internet on PC by installing one of these apps on your pone.
1. PDANet http://www.junefabrics.com/android/
You can get cracked version on ipmart-forum.com in the Android section
2. EasyTether

Shashi said...

Hi !
I am Shashi again. Firstly, thanks for your suggestion to my earlier query. Actually I want to replace my 2GB memory card with an 8GB card. But I had read somewhere that it is required to be a specialy formatted chip for this phone. Can you help me on this topic please?
Thanks!
Shashi.

Prab97 said...

I don't think so.
You can put any microSD card. There is a format option in Settings>SD Card & Storage

kalyan c. said...

Hi Dear Prabh
I have got a x1o mini. Thanks for information u have provided regarding applications. I have installed many of them & r awesome. But I am also facing d same problem that megha
(August 28, 2010 2:12 PM ) has mentioned i.e I can surf the net through the browser but unable to get connected to android market. I am having TATA DOCOMO SIM & installed all the three internet settings. As u have directed I have restored the factory settings but unable to perform the google sync activity & so d same problem persists. Can u plz help me out with this?

Shashi said...

Hi Prab
May I know if the phone has WCDMA or HSPA 3G modem. When I searched on airtel site, it is showing its a WCDMA device.what should be its speed.I have installed 2.1 firmware. I want to know if it is upgradable to next version 2.2 or not.

Regards
Shashi

Prab97 said...

@Kalyan I believe you are using a proxied GPRS connection. Go to Settings>Wireless networks>Mobile networks>Access point names. There edit your default connection and set the APN as TATA.DOCOMO.INTERNET and remove the proxy and port. Probably your problem will be solved.
@Shashi SE hasn't made any announcement about the release of 2.2 on XPERIA series yet. But I believe they won't do it because they concentrate more on releasing new phones instead of upgrading old ones. Moreover, don't worry about the HSPA issue. The phone has HSPA and supports speed upto 7.2Mbps

kartunin said...

Nice Blog! I have experienced the same wifi problem, I find it difficult to connect via wifi, even if it say connected it wont surf the internet, sometimes it works sometimes not. How do I fix these problem? any apps to make it easier?

Thx

Rizky

Mishail said...

hey.....i am not able to extract the archives.....i used the password "blahblah" but its still not extracting........help!

Prab97 said...

@Rizky
"Sometimes it works and sometimes doesn't" means its not an issue with ur phone settings. I believe its due to ur WiFi router's issue or ur ISP.

@Mishail
This post is old now. So the applications in that archive are now old as well. I would recommend you to visit ipmart-forum.com and there in Android section go to android applications and download the latest version of applications.

dard.ki.muskaan said...

query: I dunno whats the prob but my laptop cant identify the wifi connection which runs smoothly on my xperia mini. Is there a way that I can access internet on my laptop via xperia when it is connected to wifi??

Btw the blog is great :)

Prab97 said...

Yes!!! Using PDANet you can achieve that. The official address for PDANet for Android is http://www.junefabrics.com/android/
You can download a copy from ipmart-forum

Raaj Pandya said...

Dear Prab, I am having Xperia X-10 i had done settings and i am able to use internet for Applications but browser is not connectings, requesting you to share the Airtel Settings on rakeshu1986@gmail.com

Thanks a lot

Narayana said...

Dear Mr Prabhakar

It was quite informative notes on X-10 Mini. Even official site does not provide such an impressive account of the phone and its utilities.

I have however one query for you please. I have internet at our Institute to which my X-10 connects through wifi. No issues. But I can not surf internet because there is proxy thing. Please help me how I can set the proxy settings. Thanks.
- LN

Prab said...

Yeah, you can. But for that you need to have Cyanogen Mod(MiniCM6 is the best as of now) flashed to your phone. You can find the details of doing it at forum.xda-developers.com in the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini section

Rohit said...

How do i select a different APN than what is connecting to???
i have xperia mini...

kiranmint said...

hey Prabh.. nice blog.. I have successfully connected to my wifi router with X10 mini (Android 2.1), the wifi signals are showing full strength on the top, but I can't browse the internet on my browser. I also try on different browsers like inbuilt, skyfire, opera mini and UC Web but fails to connect. also try to change the several things at router side like passwords, security things, even I can't access the net. also use the app wifi fixer .. still it's not working. please can u help Mr on this issue. if I need to upgrade my OS, how can I do that? or any other apps solve this thing. I have successfully connecting through gprs. please give me any suggessions on this problem.

jitu said...

sony erricson xperia x10 mini cannot detect airtel sim card with 64kb