REVIEW: Rogers Sony Ericsson Xperia X1a

Andrew Duong July 16, 2009 6


Nothing beats the iPhone when it comes to ease of use, but when you need a phone packed with features. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1a is here for you. Let me start off by saying that this phone is in fact a Windows Mobile 6.1 cellular phone. So that means for all you Windows Mobile haters, this phone isn’t for you.


Pricing and Specs:

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1a goes for $249.99 on a 3-year term or $549.99 with no contract and is available in French or English on the Rogers Wireless website. The x1a specs:

  • HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
  • GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 110.5 x 52.6 x 17 mm
  • 145 g
  • 800 x 480 pixels, 3.0 inches
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Optical trackpad
  • 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • GPS w/ A-GPS Support
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack


Screen & Navigation:

The Sony Xperia X1a is a full touchscreen phone which features a high resolution 800 x 480 pixels, 3.0 inches screen. Unfortunately, the LCD is not like the iPhone screen. In order to navigate around using the touch screen. You must press, unlike the iPhone where you could just tap. The X1a also includes a stylus for the small buttons on the screen that your fingers just can’t press. One big disappointment is that the LCD screen is not flush with the surface of the phone. This causes dust build-up around the edge of the screen which can be fairly hard to clean.

The X1a features an optical track pad which can be very useful when browsing through websites. The track pad also acts as a enter button with 4 surrounding d-pad buttons. There is also the answer and end key as well as an ok button, 2 soft-keys and X-Panel button which will bring up custom panels for your home screen.



Sony hasn’t changed anything with text messaging. The Windows Mobile 6.1 software features threaded text messages though and will help you organize your text messages. The messaging application is very organized. It has a drop-down menu which provides you subfolders including inbox, outbox, as well as drafts and sent items. Email is also easy to setup like any other windows mobile device.



The Sony Xperia X1a features a customizable home screen called the X-Panel. These home-screens can be downloaded off the Sony mobile website on the phones browser. Each panel has a specific use can can be customized to your liking. Application like Facebook also have there own panel which can be downloaded off the mobile browser.



Sony has implemented a large slide out 4 row qwerty keyboard that is very helpful when typing long messages. Unfortunately, the Sony’s on-screen virtual keyboard requires the stylus provided with the phone because of the extra small letters. I have even missed a few letters when typing with a stylus because of how small the on-screen keyboard is. The slide out keyboard has rectangular keys and are easy to use and keys are spaced out apart nicely. I found that the keys are somewhat to flush to the phone and sometimes have a hard time typing quickly. I liked how Sony has provided a large space bar as well as a large enter key which helps typing quicker.


Call Quality:

I found that call quality is superb and passed my expectations. I was able to hear the other person very loud and clear without distortions and the other person was able to hear me perfectly. Dialing is also easy and contacts are sorted alphabetically. My one problem was that the signal was not as good as what Sony Ericsson has done before. I compared signal strength between this and the Sony K790a through basements and secured storage rooms and found that the K790a outperformed the X1a even though its only a tri-band phone.


Camera Quality:

The Sony Xperia X1a has a 3.2 megapixel with LED flash. Picture quality is as expected, amazing. The camera is a bit slow when loading up, auto-focusing and selecting options in the settings menu. The camera has a macro mode as well as sport, black and white and others which gives this phone a great photo capturing experience. One thing I really didn’t like about the camera was that there’s no auto-flash. The camera must be set to either having flash on or off which can be annoying when taking pictures in mid/low light.


Battery Life:

The battery life on this phone is by far one of the best I have used on any Windows Mobile smartphone. The phone was able to last almost 2 full days with normal usage and 1 full day with extreme browsing, streaming, and music playing out loud with the speakers. When not touching the phone at all. It was able to last 5 days on stand-by without a single charge which is amazing for any smartphone. The phone has a 3.6v 1500/1450mAh Li-Polymer battery and is fairly large. The Sony BST-41 battery goes for $89.99 USD at SonyStyle which is pricey for a battery but for how long the battery charge holds. You won’t be needing to worry about that for along time.



The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1a is the top-of-the-line phone on the Sony Ericsson line-up. The phone is very well built and is fully made of metal and some small pieces of solid plastic. The sliding mechanism is well built and will be able to withstand your daily sliding. The phone has some weight to it which makes it solid and durable. I believe that this phone has lots of potential because it is well built with quality material without any lack of features, but the main problem of this phone is that Sony has chosen to use Windows Mobile 6.1 OS which brings this amazing piece of gadget down a few levels. The slowness of navigating through menu’s makes this phone almost impossible for me to use as a daily gadget and unbearable to even make a phone call. I do see that this phone has potential and can be customized and maybe somewhere out in the internet world. Someone will be able to create a better OS that doesn’t lag or have as much freezings.

Photo Examples:



  1. Lawerence Spielberg July 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM -

    We really dig what you write on here. I try and read your blog every day so keep up the good articles!

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