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Christmas Gift Guide
Phones

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1: Photos and impressions

After waiting for longer than we've ever waited for a phone before, we've finally got our hands on a final version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. Cue choir of angels!

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 has been one of the most elusive handsets we've ever had to deal with. We initially heard about it in February this year and then it disappeared, occasionally popping up at the odd press event, but always as a prototype and never the finished article. Today it finally emerged from the shadows when we received the final version.

Opening the box faster than a present on Christmas morning, we tore the X1 out of its packaging, the sweat trickling from our brow. Pictures don't do the X1 justice: it's gorgeous, and a bold departure from Sony Ericsson's usual bland designs. The X1 screams its class at you -- it looks superb.

Turn it on and the story takes a turn for the unexpected -- it runs on Windows Mobile. While some of you may not have a problem with this, we anticipate many users finding the Windows Mobile experience a little less exciting than the iPhone or G1's more user-friendly, customisable systems, but Sony Ericsson has tried to make amends. Click 'Continue' for more info and pictures.

Sony Ericsson has integrated a panels-based system similar to HTC's TouchFLO 3D interface, which sits on top of Windows Mobile and makes accessing features theoretically easier. It does work, but we found it slow to react at times. We'll do further testing and see how it performs over time.

One of the most important features of the X1 is its slide-out Qwerty keypad, which isn't the best we've ever used, but it does the job. It takes some time to get used to the flat keys and we would have preferred it if they were slightly more raised, but with practice you'll be able to tap out long emails fairly easily.

On the back of the Xperia X1 you'll find a 3.2-megapixel camera that we found easy to use and the quality of pictures was better than we expected. An LED photo light provides some illumination, but there's no xenon flash -- don't expect shots in low light to win any awards.

The X1 certainly isn't thin, but we don't find it outrageously chunky either. Unless you wear extremely tight jeans, the X1 will fit in your pocket. Just don't expect to fit much else in there -- you might get a Mars bar in if you jam it together, but we can't guarantee you won't end up with a chocolatey X1.

One of our favourite things about the X1 is its 3.5mm jack, which lets you plug in standard headphones. We've obviously only skimmed the surface of what the X1 has to offer, but more's coming in the full review, so watch this space. You can buy an X1 for free on a monthly contract.