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Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro are replacements for last year's confusingly named Xperia X10 Mini and Mini Pro smartphones, which were probably the two most interesting devices in Sony Ericsson's 2010 line-up.
These new "Mini" devices are a bit bigger and heavier than their predecessors, but the screen size has had a significant boost to 3" in size rather than the 2.55" previously, and the screen resolution has been improved at 320 x 480 pixels compared with 240 x 320. The new "Mini" is about 4% bigger and 7% heavier than the old one, the new "Pro" is about 10% bigger and 13% heavier, so the trade-off is actually pretty good.
The main difference between the two models is that the Pro comes with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and the ordinary Mini does not. The Pro also sports a front-facing camera for video calls.
Inside is a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU. Although these are not dual-core devices, it is certainly enough to make multimedia and applications run speedily on the modestly-sized display. Internal RAM is 512MB, which is a lot more than in the previous version. The Mini and Mini Pro are HSPA capable devices with WiFi, they also come with a pretty large 1200 mAh battery which is quoted as giving a theoretical maximum of about 4 to 5 hours talktime and 14 days standby on 3G. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are supported.
Inside is the latest Android 2.3 operating system, so they can do everything that Android devices can do, including GPS-based navigation (either Google Maps Navigation or Wisepilot), media playback, web browsing plus integration with Facebook and a massive variety of applications that you can download from the Android Market.
The new Minis also support DLNA integration with home networks and entertainment systems, have an FM radio and a microSD slot for storing media and applications.
On the back is a 5 megapixel camera capable of 720p video recording, plus a video light / LED flash and touch focus and other enhancements. Video recording quality is more important than megapixels in our view, and the Xperia Mini and Mini Pro will certainly be good enough for making high-quality YouTube videos, for example.
On paper, there is very little that we can fault with these two devices. All mobile phones are a compromise when it comes to design, but Sony Ericsson seem to have done well to fit so much in such a small form factor. If you are looking for a decently specified Android device but traditional ones seem a bit big, then it is likely that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini and Mini Pro devices will be worth considering when they come to market in Q3 2011.
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