Sony Ericsson Xperia mini and mini pro hands-on

Taking the Xperia X10 mini and mini pro handsets from last year, Sony Ericsson showed off its latest pint sized Android smartphones for 2011 at an event in East London. As ever, Pocket-lint was there to get its hands on the goods - the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini and, the one with the QWERTY keyboard, the mini pro.

At just 88 x 52 x 16mm, the mini is the smallest HD recording smatphone in the world - even if it is just at 720p. Both pack a 5-megapixel camera for stills, with a 8x digital zoom, aGPS, Bluetooth, DLNA connectivity and micro-USB support and, despite the diminutive form factors they, run Android Gingerbread 2.3 on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and all viewed through Sony Ericsson's Reality Displays as driven by the Mobile Bravia Engine.

To hold the things in your hand, they're certainly small; so small, in fact, that taking pictures of them without upstaging the devices with our thumbs was quite an achievement. While the size won't appeal to all, there's something enjoyably Motorola StarTAC about them even if they're not going to be much use at watching Avatar on.

The Timescape UI keeps you at arms length from a genuine Android experience and, if you're used to pure Google, you'll get a bit of a shock to begin with. Thankfully, it all falls into place pretty quickly helped by some interesting use of the home screen corners where you can drop up to four apps each for quick and easy access. There's also Facebook Inside where you can share the songs you "like" with friends as well as find out what your pals are listening to and watching.

While the whole experience is on the diddy side, it all seems to work pretty well. All of it, except the QWERTY keyboard on the min pro, that is. Now, this may be that it's made for people with small hands but from our brief play on our standard sized five fingers, it was one of the most difficult to use finger tappers we've ever tried with no BlackBerry knobbles nor any kind of relief to help you hit the right key. Still, practice makes perfect and we'll have to wait to see if it's something we can get used to. 

The Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro and Xperia mini will be available, in various colours, from Q3. We've already been told that Vodafone will be stocking the phone in the UK. Pricing is still to be decided though.

Is smaller still something you want from your phone? Let us know in the comments.