While the physical differences of the X10 and X10 mini are easily discerned, the software aspect isn't rightly obvious at first glance. Like the earlier X10, the smaller X10 mini is loaded with Google Android 1.6, and comes with some slight interface tweaks from the original provided by Google. In fact, the X10 mini's user interface (UI) also bears some differences from its bigger sibling. The first thing you'll notice is the home screen, which is now populated by four shortcuts at the corners of the screen, rather than the 4 by 4 grid to park your apps or shortcuts. Instead, each page now houses one widget, with a limit of up to twenty pages. If none of the four shortcuts leads you to the apps of your choice, then you'll have to bring up the menu, which is now a 3 by 3 grid with multiple pages. Within, you can customize the four shortcuts accordingly, thus giving you some degree of flexibility in the interface.
Unlike its alternative with a QWERTY keyboard, the Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro, the X10 mini is fully reliant on the touchscreen. The abovementioned interface did well in the usability aspect, allowing one to move through the menus and apps with just your thumb. Diving deeper, we checked out its messaging and text input methods. A 9-key virtual numeric keypad is presented, with a slight twist. Swiping the keypad left or right would reveal another keypad for symbols and numeric input respectively.
Here's where the surprise is. You would naturally expect a tough time with a small touchscreen, but the X10 mini proved otherwise with its thumb-friendly UI and easy text input. The one downside is when switching from predictive input to multi-tap. Switching would have been made easier if holding a button would prompt the switch, instead of heading into the settings to swap the input method manually.