The four lines of well-spaced metal keys are finished in a brushed chrome look, and have a slight bend that helps to differentiate them under your thumbs. And speaking of bends, one of the style innovations of the X1 is that the screen tilts slightly upwards when you slide the keyboard out. It helps a little with viewing, but doesn't really offer anything you couldn't do with your wrists.
The screen automatically flips into landscape mode when the keyboard is activated and while the display looks handsome enough indoors, it's a bit too reflective to hold up well in bright sunlight.
The screen flips into landscape mode when the keyboard is activated
The X1 runs Windows Mobile 6.1 - a first for Sony Ericsson - but unlike, for example, Samsung's Omnia or HTC's Touch series, you will need to use the Windows menus to find your way around. For this you'll (often) need to make use of the stylus, which slots into the side.
At the top menu level, however, Sony Ericsson has made a bit of an effort with its "Panels" UI. This is a series of home pages that each focus on a particular application. Ours came with time and date, media player, FM radio, events, calendar, Google and Fish (they swim around the time and date) panels pre-installed. You can download others, and SE has apparently made this option open to developers, so there could be some interesting choices available soon.
The panels generally look good and they're easy to change, using the Panels button, which shows them all at once. This is an decent way to get around without resorting to the stylus, but since it takes a few seconds to change from one panel to another, the time lag started to grate after a while. As did the rather fiddly control buttons, and the fact that the soft-emnu keys aren't active in every application. We really missed Sony Ericsson's back key.
I <3 Levente Szileszky
As someone said previously - stop comparing everything to the bloody iPhone.
And Levente is correct - there are so many horrible shortcomings in the iPhone... you can't forward an SMS? What's that about?
Can't wait to get my X1 when my o2 store has stock ;)
It's true and unfortunately the X1 suffers from it too. IMHO what causes it is the absolutely fucking humungous amount of files in the windows directory. It takes and age to read anything out of it and any app that touches \Windows will suffer as a result.
I have touch-flo 3d installed on the X1 now and I'm as happy as a pig in shit, nonetheless.
"but my experience with other phones before iPhones were invented and trying to buy and install apps left me in no doubt that a non technical person wouldn't have a hope in hell"
So the average user can't manage "download .cab, tap it to install" or "download installer to PC, connect up phone to PC, run installer"? Even my mum can manage that.
Also, both of Levente Szileszky's posts are correct.
I wasn't pissed or anything, I just wish to see this stupid, false urban legend about the "innovative" iPhone (or Apple, for the record) would die once and forever.
"If the iPhone was so bad then Google and others wouldn't be ripping off it's design, app store etc."
Ummm who's ripping off Apple? You got it backward, pal - iPhone came to the party pretty late, taking clues from all smartphones out there, mostly from HTC WM phones.
The Google G1 is another HTC-made phone and it is exactly just like any other one they made, beginning many years before Jobs even dreamed of the iPhone: slide-out QWERTY keyboard, powerful CPU, lots of memory, nice touchscreen, slick design.
Also G1's design couldn't be more different from Apple's: G1 is a nice anodized matte black phone unlike Apple's shiny, chromish-trimmed unit (at least here, in the US) - which, BTW, is rather a copy of certain Asian HTC competitor phonesfrom earlier times.
And FYI: application stores exist since Palm days (~late 90s), a DECADE before Apple, I have no idea what are you talking about - have you ever heard of Handango? Started as Palm and its WM-specialized area opened in 2001...
As it's always, once again Apple didn't 'invent' crap, it merely copied others and marketed as their own idea and people with no clue whatsoever keep parroting their PR BS, sorry but this is what it is.
Pathetic, that is.
@Hardly cutting edge then?
>Having used WM6 on a phone I have to say it's absolutely pants!
>SE's hardware is often very nice - why saddle it with a joke o/s that is well past its best?
You'd better get used to it, WM8 is where all interface design is due and WM7 isn't out in 2010. So WM8 won't be around until 2011 or 2012!!!
It's astounding how long Microsoft can keep dragging their heels with WM development. I bought a Toshiba E800 in 2003 and some other WM phones. From a user perspective the OS has barely changed since WM2005!