SE Xperia hands-on – not good enough?

I have just returned from the Sony Ericsson Xperia display at the Tent London exhibition, and I am seriously concerned for this emerging smartphone.

After playing with the phone for about 2 hours, the overriding impression is lack of polish. This is especially apparent when compared with HTC’s Touch Pro, which exudes a wow factor which the Xperia X1 seems to lack. The Panels interface seems disjointed, without any overriding theme or integration, and also seemingly a lot of duplication. The device included the Opera browser, but all the internet links still pointed to PIE. One of the panels was SPB Mobile Shell, and of course this worked differently from all the panels UI-wise. The colour scheme was different for each panel, and the graphics appeared low resolution and again, unfortunately, unpolished.

The hardware also did not impress, feeling on on the flimsy side, especially compared to the extremely solid HTC Touch Pro. The device itself felt much lighter than the Touch Pro, but not necessarily in a good way. The keyboard was not as bad as feared, but still pretty soft and squishy, and depressing one key seemed to depress the whole membrane around it. Despite having a 3 inch screen, the screen actually appeared smaller due to being more narrow. Recessed screens are also very 2007.

Hopefully to make up for the horrible tirade I will end with the good points of the device. The screen was very good, touch focusing in the camera application worked well, the Handango Inhand client looked good, and appeared very easy to use, and the Panels interface was pretty smooth.

I look forward to receiving a review device by the end of the month to see if my first impressions are justified when used for a longer period of time.