Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's Exasperating About the Experia

The real world is nothing but the sum of paths leading nowhere. Raoul Ruiz

There are plenty of thing to like about the Sony-Ericcson X10 Exaspera.  I just can't think of any right now.  It is a plenty smart phone though; like now, because I am thinking about criticising it, the screen has frozen.  There are plenty of other things exasperating about it however.  I can think of most of those plenty, plenty easy. 


  • The screen is touch sensitive, so they say.  When typing your finger must be a small as a child's.  They obviously road-tested this with skeletons.  My fleshy little digits overwhelm the screen and any random item in the vicinity of my desired function, such as a letter on the minuscule touch-screen keyboard (when the phone is vertical), or one of the tiny auto-suggested words nearby to the one I want, will go in.  All... the...  time...  It's exasperating. 

  • The auto-suggest words remember all your misspellings and it's bloody easy to misspell (see above comment).  If you accidentally touch in 'ftom' instead of 'from', when you try to type 'from' again, 'ftom' will be the first word suggested, 'atom' will be second and third suggested word  will be random for completely unfathomable reasons.  It's exasperating. 

  • If you notice a misspelled word or a wrongly inserted suggested word, you cannot easily touch the word in order to move the cursor back.  It has worked for me only once or twice.  I almost always have to use the back arrow button to reverse letter by letter to the place I want to correct. It's exasperating. 

  • Once I get there and try to correct the word, say from the 't' in in 'ftom', the auto-suggest will start with words commencing with the 'r' I just typed, the inserted letter not the 'f' which is the first letter in the word.  So I would get 'Rome' or 'random' or 'roam', instead of 'from', or indeed 'ftom' again. It's exasperating. 

  • If I then want to move forward again with the arrow button, it insert little circles instead of going forward.  I have no idea why this is. It's exasperating. 

  • In order to get the cursor back to the end of the message so I can keep typing, I have to try  the big finger thing to make the cursor move, which takes ages to succeed.  Usually I press repeatedly until it gets the message.  Even then the common response is for the Edit Text overlay to appear - the "Select Text" "Copy Text" "Erase Text" widget.  If I am still in the rhythm banging away I might accidentally delete all that I have typed.  It's exasperating. 

  • The "Send" button, a larger one and easy to hit, is just above the suggested word list. Guess what happens if I try to select the last word on the right. I send the message way before it is ready.  It's really fucking exasperating. 

  • The apostrophe and quotations marks are not on the front keyboard.  I have to select the second, numerical keyboard to type 'that's' as this word does not come up until on the suggest list until I have already typed the  apostrophe. If I type the 's' myself, even though the word is finished, it still suggest 'that's'.  I've already GOT that word in you X10!  It's exasperating. 

  • The '?' and the '!' share the same the same dedicated button.  You have to press the button twice to go from '?' to '!'.  If you are too slow, you will get  '?!'  which might be OK if you annotating a chess game or Twittering, but usually, not so much.  It's exasperating. 

  • Basic Functionality.

  •  The touch screen is nowhere near as sensitive as the iPhone's.  It takes a curved sweep of an arrow head to unlock the screen.  This flipped from a right thumb sweep to a left-thumb sweep once without any intervention on my part.  If you have the phone in the other hand it's a real pain to execute this maneuver.  Even then, half the time your sweep is not enough to carry the arrowhead all the way and it drops back into locked mode.  I sometimes have tried three, four times to open the screen up. 

  • Icons from some functions can be dragged from the application pull-up functions/programs page to one of three front (left/middle/right) screens.  However the spacing is quite wide and only 12 icons seem to fit on each page.  Moving them from screen to screen into position is a pain as losing firm slow screen contact will drop the icon back to where it was.

  • The pull-up program page has very small bar at the bottom of the screen. To "Drag" or "Flick" it up is OK, but not having RTFM I found it tricky at first and it kept going back down again. 

  •  You can turn WiFi on from  the right front screen, but selecting which node you want and entering the password requires you to pull up the program screen, scroll it down to 'Settings", and even more!  All up it takes seven flicks or pushes to get to the password screen.  On the iPhone it takes four.  There may be an Android app you can download to reduce this.  I tried two but neither of them bothered even to appear on my programs list.  Perhaps they were not compatible with the X10.

  • When you pill up the program page and open an application such as Settings in order to do something, when you have finished and press the Back hard key on the bottom of the phone, it doesn't take you back to the program page you just left, but to the Home screen. Sigh.  There is central Home Key if you wanted to go back there.

  • Music, Movie, Photo and Data Synchronisation

  •  The Windows program called MediaGo does a good job of allowing you to move media around. It even reads your iTunes library, plus it boots up in just a few seconds, whereas iTunes take about three minutes (I kid you not) on my laptop. Note that I can move iTunes songs from ANY of my computers onto the X10.  I am not locked to one iTunes library. - this is about the only good thing I can think of. 

  • However, there is no way to sync Contacts or Calendar with this program,whereas iTunes does this easily.

  • There is no serious program equivalent to MediaGo for the Mac.  There is a small screened program that allows to move your music across, but it a real pain as the windows are so small only a few of your artists of albums can be seen at the one time. Maybe this is an anti-Steve thing,  

  • The system is VERY WiFi dependent for data sync.  It reads either Google Calendar and Contacts, or a Sony-Ericsson cloud databank that requires a new set up a whole heap of programs on the phone called Moxia this and Moxia that and you have have do this yourself.  Either way syncing can only be done over WiFi. You cannot sync by 3G, I have found. I cannot sync by the USB cable or by Bluetooth to my laptop because... it only syncs with Google Calendar which it can only get to by WiFi.  (p.s. 3G was not turned on by default - I had to get an IT from **** to  fix this - we were beering together not geeking.)

  • For me, Google is better but that doesn't mean Google is good.  Previously I was using Plaxo to sync my laptop and my iMac across the ether.  I now have had to add Google to this sync list and for some reason it didn't work the first few times.  The Sony site doesn't link to Plaxo either.  

  • As I travel one freaking lot I am hardly ever connected to WiFi.  Not all of the cheapskate hotels I stay in have it.  This means I cannot sync any appointments or new contacts I have entered into either into my laptop or into the phone until I get to a Starbucks  or somewhere of that ilk.  And as I don't drink at Starbucks ever, so there you are..  

  • Also I have to be careful with Google not to have it as a one-way sync from my laptop to Google, as in such a case all the new Google and phone changes might be wiped over, or at least not read into the laptop.  If I use 2-way sync I end up with doubled up appointments.  And with Plaxo going as well, it can triple the list.  I had four Christmas Days on my laptop calendar until I removed the duplicates manually yesterday.  Today I synced with Google to make sure I got those Doctor's appointment from my phone into my laptop and now ALL of my appointments and reminders are doubled up, including Christmas Day etc... my efforts of yesterday wasted.  Thankfully it didn't double up my contacts.  If I try to delete them from Google, not the laptop will reenter the doubled up ones.  I have to remove  the double up from both of them manually.  As for the Mac at home, iCal is also updated via Plaxo.  The iPhone is tethered to the laptop, so everything was fine and no matter where I was up to date.  I never thought I be commending the iPhone, but there you go.

  • You can get it to automatically sync with Goggle btw, so long as you are on WiFi!

  • Media Playing

  • The Mediascape program has  a dizzying animation as you go from Music to Video to Photos.  Media is listed by Recently Played/Viewed, Recently Added, Favorites, Most Viewed, and Shuffle. This list of options is annoying to me because I like to play by album or artist. I am not a playlist or shuffle person. I'd rather have the Artist and Album options on the Mediascape home page as they are on the iPhone. Petty I know, but that's me, a pernickety fucker.

  • Any of these options takes me to a sequence of songs that I can't seem to control.  If I select Recently Played to listen an album that I had just played (durr), then it seems to jumble the songs up with other albums I have listened to recently...  I'd be expecting it to play anther song from the latest Powderfinger rock album, but instead some Robyn pop song pops in, or some Snow Patrol patrols the playlist.      

  • I've yet to discover how to get a song or an album into Favorites

  • Operational Annoyances

  •   The big screen has pushed the phone speaker about 3mm closer to the top edge than it is on the iPhone.  This make it harder to locate the speaker over your earhole.  It reminds me of my Nokia E71 and E61 which have the same issue.  I have to put  my forefinger at the top of the phone and plug it into one of the ear folds to give me a reference point.

  • Holding the phone to my ear with my left hand and my forefinger on top means that my middle finger is right over the volume switch.  Yep the sound fades away as I talk.

  • When I had to use the keypad during a call (For English, please press 1) a couple of times the keypad kept locking and I had to press it twice to unlock it before I could press the number I wanted.  This is not all the time, but when it happens it's a pain.

  • It keep trying to contact Facebook.  Even though I am WiFI, it doesn't get through.  Even though I have turned OFF Facebook pushing, it still tries to update.  WTF?

  • Battery life is crap. I charged it completely last night and then turned it off while I slept.  I turned it on this morning played music on the train for 20minutes and the charge is down one third. No-one ever calls me on it so I don't know the talk time, but I bet it's crap too. 

  •  It takes YET ANOTHER type of USB plug to connect for media syncing or charging. How many freaking types of USB plug are there?  This means I have to takes the USB cable everywhere I go in order to keep charging the phone.(see comment above).  Ah, it's the same one as my camera. The cable I lost 2 years ago.

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I hate to be petty. No I don't, I LOVE being petty, it's my defining characteristic. 

    However, as my iPhone is dying - the home key is intermittently failing - 14 months after I got it; viz. 2months out of warranty, inbuilt obsolescence have I mentioned it recently? sigh, -  I have to use something.  I could pull out the E71 I bought before I got a free iPhone with my contract, but the music player is crap on that - you have to convert everything and the earphones plug only takes the mini jack, so I have to bring my iPod with me for music.

    Until the iPhone is fixed or replaced I'll persist with the X10, but I think it'll be on eBay not long after.



    expat@large said...

    Man, it's fucking impossible to get the spacing right when you use the LIST HTML command. That's V4 you're looking at now.

    expat@large said...

    My god, now I'v wiped out my Google Calendar and I get anything to sync with it and update it! Outlook, Plaxo and X10! WTF!!

    DanPloy said...

    Is Plaxo that plasticine stuff you used to model your genitalia with when you were young?

    marke said...

    Absolutely remarkable to me how much Apple got right there on the first go.

    Efficient design is fascinating stuff to me (I just walked through Suvarnabhumi Airport) - amazes me how that can be so poorly conceived when it would be damn easy to just copy, or improve on Changi.

    expat@large said...

    Dan: I think so.

    Marke: they certainly got the inbuilt obsolescence down pat. Mine is almost unusable in certain applications.

    Just tried to call a cab with the X10 - had to pull up the bar at the bottom to get the keypad to "press 1" - I like to do my taxi calls on speaker-phone as I wander about the house in the morning getting stuff together as I wait for the "please do not hang up, we are dispatching your order now". I had to press the option hard key on the left to call up the menu, press the "Speaker" button so I could hear the voice SAY "press 1" let alone the other stuff. I had to search, press, search, press.

    To END the CALL I had to press the option hard key again to *call up the menu a-fucking-gain and press "end call" WTF? There is no END CALL on the screen while you are talking.

    Certainly the iPhone kicks butt even as a phone, compared to the X10.

    Suvabumi - shithole. Everything wrong about Don Muang, they just redid on a larger scale.

    And Changi T2 please, not T3 which was designed for 50' giants not for mere humans with bad feet.

    knobby said...

    you're nothing if not thorough! the first half of your post was so funny my colleagues thought i was enjoying work way too much. but you have my sympathies.

    yes, use the e71! it has a crap music player but phone for calls, music device for music. using knives as screw drivers never a good idea.

    separately and completely unrelated to your blog post, i recant my last $2 bid and now bid $1.50.

    expat@large said...

    I was being funny???

    expat@large said...

    I just had to uninstall Google Sync and reinstall it to get my Outlook calendar back buddies again with Google Calendar.

    Paul Lewis said...

    I can admire other smart phones, but my comment everytime someone talks about other brands is, "but it's not an iPhone".

    Momentary Madness said...

    I want to go back to the land line.

    expat@large said...

    Paul: well my iPhone's dying so...

    MMad: I keep knocking the charger out of the socket on my land-line and anytime I want to make a cheap(ish) call to Aus, the battery is dead!

    marke said...

    Ha ... You need more iPhone magic for cheapish calls to Oz... Skype via your wireless Internet ... Fantastic .!!!.. And the main reason I bought the damn little thing in the first place.

    Free Podcast

    Related Posts with Thumbnails