When I look at teenagers glued to their phones, walking along the street while texting messages to their mates with one hand at lightning speed, I can't help but feel a bit impressed and slightly envious. In my formative teenage years, the most hi-tech “gadgets” we had were a Vic 20 computer and a cordless phone that wouldn't allow you to go anywhere further than 20 feet away from the base unit ! And we thought that was impressive !
When Sophie was a baby and I was getting ready to go back to work back in 2001, I bought myself a mobile phone so that I could be contactable at any moment, if there was an emergency or a problem my end that meant I'd be late picking her up from the childminder's. So I sat down and started getting to grips with using a mobile phone and writing text messages.
I'd sit down and start typing (with one finger, very slowly) “hello” and it would come back with “Herod”. I'd try to finish off with “Cheryl” and it would come back with “Cheese”. Trying to enter a text-competition once that needed me to send the word “Milka” to win a furry purple cow pencil case was so frustrating that I almost threw the phone out of the window – all I could come up with was “Mutha” !
The next time we went for dinner at the in laws', my sister-in-law (who's ten years younger, it makes all the difference !) was constantly rattling off texts at the speed of light so I gave her my phone in frustration and said “Show me how you do it !”. She typed three letters and went “eh ?!”. It turns out, the predictive text (which was absolutely mental) was switched on and nobody could work out how to turn it off !
By the time I got my next phone a couple of year's later, I'd missed the boat. Everybody else was by now an expert in texting and I was too apprehensive and defeatist to even bother trying to start again. In my whole life, I think I've probably sent about 5 texts. And even then, they were full of mistakes !
Well, if you're a textophobe like me (I just made that word up, before you go and look it up in the dictionary !), help is at hand ! Sony Ericsson have created a phone with a full scaled-down pull-out QWERTY keyboard ! How cool is that ?! Well, I'm sure the younger generation would roll their eyes and find it about as appealing as a Zimmer frame but for anyone still sadly lacking in texting skills, it's perfect ! So I was really excited when they sent me one to try out.
The downside is that the keyboard adds quite a bit of weight and chunkiness to the phone (I find it to be about twice as thick and heavy as my current phone) but for sheer practicality, it's unbeatable. (I've checked its credentials and it measures 90 x 52 x 17 mm and weighs 120 grams.)
Another brilliant feature is what they call "an intuitive 4-corner touch screen user interface" where you can put the four most useful applications and widgets for instant access. Another time and sanity-saver is Sony Ericsson's signature application called Timescape, which allows you to simultaneously view text messages (now that you've mastered them), missed calls, Facebook updates and twitter messages all at once, without having to open lots of different applications.
It also has a 5 megapixel camera and video, a music player that links to music stores and YouTube and an Android platform with Google services and Android Market, allowing you to add loads of cool applications to turn your phone into a totally personalised entertainment centre.
But for now, I'm quite happy learning how to text my mates without talking a load of gibberish (well, no more than usual anyway !).
star rating : 4/5
RRP : varies greatly depending on your contract so check with your operator
for more information : http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/mobilephones/overview/xperia-mini-pro?cc=gb&lc=en
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