Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Review: Small Is The New Big: Unboxing, 360-degree View, Design And Construction

By 05:11 Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Comments

Out of the gigantic box

The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini resides in a bigger box than you’d think. There’s some extra stuff in the package, which won’t be a surprise if you’ve seen the original Xperia X10 mini. To acquire the standard accessories out of the way, there’re a microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) cable, a charger and a single-piece handset inside. The usual papers go without saying, and the 2GB microSD card is already installed.

The Xperia mini pro retail package

Just like the older generation, the recent mini comes features exchangeable battery covers. Two of them are in the bundle: in our case, Glossy Red and Glossy Blue. We cannot confirm that all retail units will ship with spare battery covers.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini 360-degree spin

A tad taller than the original X10 mini, the Xperia mini stands at 88 x 52 x 16 mm. Basically, it's the same chubby small handset. Minor touches to the exterior surprisingly create a lot of difference, all in the sequel's favor. The upgrades have added a bit of heft here too: the Xperia mini tips the scales at 99g. We wouldn't call it heavier, rather more solid. We don’t mind at all.

Design and construction

To start with the visual upgrades, the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini has a bigger classy screen and a different layout of controls to the original. Refinement and elegance is what describes it best, although the 3" Bravia classy screen probably makes all the difference.

We had the white version of the Xperia mini to test. Entirely made of plastic, the phone looks fresh and trendy. There's nothing to worry about in terms of longevity either. The battery cover has fingerprint-proof matt finish, as opposed to the glossy back of the Xperia mini pro.

Two silver lines on the sides are the only ornaments to note, the white case needs small decoration anyway. It's a small phone with plenty of character. Sony Ericsson did well to refresh the looks without overdoing it. Emphasis is obviously on the performance upgrades.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini next to Xperia mini pro

The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini has the same 3” HVideo Graphics Array (VGA) touchclassy screen as the mini pro. It's a reduced version of the Reality display used in the Arc and the Neo, a LED-backlit Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) unit enhanced by Sony’s proprietary Bravia Mobile Engine. The display produces really nice colors. Contrast is fine but the viewing angles are limited – colors acquire quickly washed out. The excellent outdoor performance is a major point in favor though. We were impressed with the level of sunlight legibility. Good job, Sony Ericsson!

The small Reality display is excellent

The classy screen is pleasingly responsive too - no wonder in a capacitive unit. The gentlest of taps and swipes will do, and the speedy, lag-free interface will instantly respond.

Below the display is the usual set-up of controls. The updated design has capacitive Menu and Back buttons, with a single hardware Home key. The Home button is soft but clicky, while the capacitive controls are well-defined, nicely backlit and haptic enabled. All are very comfortable to use.

There are three keys at the bottom of the front panel

Above the display, the centrally-placed earpiece is followed by proximity and ambient light sensors. There is no front-facing camera, unlike the Xperia mini pro.

There's both manual and auto display brightness setting and the ambient light sensor is doing a fine job of adjusting to the available lighting.

The earpiece enjoys the company of two sensors

The left side of the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini is completely bare. The only thing to notice here is a small slit to utilize and pull the battery cover open.

The left side hosts nothing

On the right-hand side, we have the volume rocker on top and a shutter key at the bottom. The volume rocker is reasonably comfortable, the up and down keys are prominent and solid to press. The shutter key is super soft, with very deep half press. We liked it.

The capturing camera key and the volume rocker are on the right

On top, we find the power/lock key, with a tiny status Light Emitting Diode (LED) correct next to it. It will glow red while the battery is charging (green when fully charged), or blink in blue upon an incoming call. The secondary microphone used for noise cancelation is also around.

The classy screen lock key is correct next to the status LED

The bottom of the Xperia mini features the lanyard eyelet and the mouthpiece. The connectivity ports are also there: a centrally-placed 3.5mm audio jack and a microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port with a small plastic lid.

The audio jack, the microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port, the microphone pinhole and the lanyard eyelet are at the bottom

The back of the Xperia mini features the 5 megapixel capturing camera lens and the Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. The loudspeaker also goes in here, slightly to the right. We like the matt finish, being more resistant to dirt perhaps. Makes sense in a white phone.

The 5 megapixel capturing camera is joined by the Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash and the loudspeaker at the back

Removing the battery cover reveals the hot-swappable microSD card slot and the SIM compartment.

Taking a peek under the cover

The 1200mAh battery is quoted at 320 hours of standby and 4 and a half hours of talk time in a 3G network. In reality, we had the Xperia mini on stand-by for about three days, connected to a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) network most of the time. When we really pushed it hard though, it barely managed a whole day. It was always connected to both the 3G and Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks, we did heavy browsing, music and video playback, and the usual benchmarks.

Handling the Xperia mini

The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini is a well-built phone with fresh, modern looks and it is a pleasure to handle. It's an easy phone to like, neat and simple, though not feeling cheap. On the contrary, the fine build and quality finish will be much appreciated. The classy screen is a massive improvement over the original. Size is what you should be careful about: it's absolutely fine for navigating the interface. It’s just the on-classy screen keyboard that's not the most comfortable. Overall though, you should be able to live with it. After all, it's size that makes the phone unique, bordering on premium.



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