One thing I “forgot” to mention in my review: I am an Android fanboy, so I often neglect the fact that the iPhone (and all touchscreen iOS devices to date, pretty much) multitouch and overall screen sensitivity and reaction is significantly smoother than any Android device I’ve seen yet. This Xperia Pro’s touchscreen, while strong, is still not as good as the iPhone 4.
We at NorthGeek recently got our hands on the yet-to-be-released Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro. Fido here in Canada will be the first carrier in the world to launch this device. And it’s a great little Android number. The first things you’ll notice about it are the full slide-out keyboard, 8MB camera, 3.7″ screen with 265ppi pixel density, and Android v2.3 Gingerbread (the newest smartphone Android OS). Compare this to the Nexus S (my favourite Android device), which has a 4″ 235ppi screen and weighs just a bit less but has no physical keyboard. Also compare to the iPhone 4 which has a 3.5″ 326ppi screen.
For many people, the Xperia Pro will be the ultimate Android device. It’s fast, has the latest operating system, and has a physical keyboard. I’m of the camp that once you get used to the onscreen touch keyboard, you won’t need a physical one, but so many people would like exactly what the Xperia Pro offers.
- Keyboard: this is perhaps the most significant standout option against the Xperia line. Even just having hard text cursor movement arrows is great, better than the one on the Nexus One, and versus the nonexistent feature on the Nexus S
- Perhaps the best camera on a mass market smartphone, but it still can’t replace my dedicated cameras
Good use of three hard buttons on the bottom: back, home, options
- Timescape: it’s a slick and fun little way to scroll through all your social media and phone messages. It’s a fun toy, but I find it quite over-designed and flashy, so not as functional or efficient as dedicated apps
Device has a noticeable but not overbearing light for notifications
- Apparently, the device comes with ANT+ compatibility, which would be awesome for the devices I use: heartrate monitor, bike power meter, etc. I’d love to see this more widespread and useful on smartphones
General Android pros:
- The best Google products integration. I love my Google products and Gingerbread nails them so well. I’m not sure how you can live without Google Navigation, fully integrated Google Voice, or even Gmail specific email app. This is so superior to what the iPhone offers here.
- Not the most exciting, but I love the unlock pattern option for the Android devices. So much easier than lifting your finger between digits on the iPhone unlock numerical code.
- NFC: it’s not just hype. Payment services and so much more are here and upcoming
- Now I can have Instafetch on my Android devices to read articles on-the-go and offline. You are no longer stuck with Instapaper on the iPhone
- I miss not having an iPhone hard button toggle to turn the ringer off. Some Android device will eventually figure this out.
- Why is the user forcefully prompted to create a Moxier mail account and run antivirus protection? Very annoying
- I’ve become so accustomed to using my device in vertical screen mode, that using the physical keyboard only when sideways becomes such an interruption to my workflow. Again I’m not personally sold on the physical keyboard anymore.
- The screen is smaller than the Nexus S, albeit bigger than the iPhone
- You will be missing iPhone only apps. Can you live with that? Really, what’s so impossible to live without: Instagram, Ness, another game that isn’t Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, etc?
If you’re looking for an Android device with a physical keyboard, the most up to date Android OS, and would enjoy the bonus of an impressive camera and some Sony Ericsson features like Timescape, this is a 9/10. Compared to the Nexus S and iPhone 4 (in my opinion the two best phones on the market right now), I’d give it a 7/10.