BoyGenius got his hands on a pre-release Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, and his review echoes what I've been hearing - and reading on a few other blogs - about SE's flagship smartphone: Great device, promising software, lousy QWERTY board. D'oh!
This could be trouble for SE if it's true. I had a chance to quickly try out a pre-production X1 back at CTIA in April and thought the keyboard seemed pretty decent. But BGR and a few others who've gotten longer stints with pre-release units have complained that the X1's QWERTY action is lacking. Literally: The consensus seems to be that the buttons are too close to being flush mounted and as such have lousy typing action.
Considering that a good chunk of folks interested in the X1 will likely be using that QWERTY board a lot, this isn't good news. If you're shelling out for a top-flight smartphone and also carrying around the extra bulk demanded by said device having an integrated QWERTY, you're going to want a decent experience while using the thing, no? And given the new fleet of BlackBerrys about to come to market, let alone the Nokia E71, HTC Touch Pro, and whatever Samsung's got up their sleeve for the WinMo market, it's not like there's a dearth of smartphones to choose from.
Of course, X1's got a lot going for it including an otherwise solid full-metal body, just about every type of connectivity you could think of, an 800 x 480 touchscreen display, 3.2MP camera, and that crazy "Panels" UI that will live atop WindowsMobile. BoyGenius gave X1 pretty high marks on all of those features (well, the ones that worked on his demo unit, anyway). So maybe the keyboard won't seem so bad in light of all of those features. Hopefully we'll get to see for ourselves later on this year.