Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rasbora cephalotaenia

This beautiful freshwater fish is usually found in
blackwater streams and rivers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
It has very beautiful colors with almost neon,
shimmering blue lines running the length of its
flanks when sunlight hits at the right angle.
This one was caught in a peat swamp. As one can see from the photos above, it is quite a large rasbora with adults growing to more than 10 cm in length. The fish above was
released again after photos were taken.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9

Friday, September 17, 2010

SE Xperia X10 Mini Pro – camera and sample photos

Part 4 – Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro - camera


I’ve been using the mini pro all day again, only turned on my laptop to complete this entry and include the sample pictures shot with the unit’s camera. Bear in mind this is not a Sony CyberShot series phone and one shouldn’t expect the same level of image quality produced by SE phones like the C901 or C905.

The mini pro sports a fixed focal length, auto focus, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. It is activated by pressing the camera shutter button on the right side of the unit or by pressing the camera app on the touch screen. Its closest focusing distance is about 5cm from the subject.


Controls are very limited. There is no option to set white balance, everything is automatic. There is also no way to select image size and every shot is taken at the full 5 megapixel resolution. File sizes range from 500-900kb each.

Once the camera is started, the four corners are taken up virtual buttons for flash (auto or off only, no fill flash option), video/still mode, camera mode (auto, macro, sports or twilight only) and album viewer. Once a still photo has been taken, the image is previewed on the screen. Touch the screen and a zoom bar appears, slide your finger to zoom in and out. Keep in mind the camera does not function if no micro SD card is installed (a 2GB card is included in the retail package).

In bright conditions, the camera performs well. However, it struggles to focus in poor light. The LED lamp is automatically turned on to aid focus when lighting isn’t ideal but even then, it was more misses than hits. See samples in the gallery below.

Photos can be sent from the album via email, mms, facebook or picasa. If you have a blog app like blogger-droid installed, it will also show up as one of the options in the “send photo” menu. Because the phone uses Android 1.6, bluetooth file sharing is not available. This should change when Sony releases Android 2.1 for download soon.

I found the camera’s auto white balance rather inconsistent but it’s to be expected I guess. Some shots were highly saturated whole others turned out plain flat. Overall, the camera performed as I expected and I don’t really have any complaints given what it is. It should produce more than adequate photos when I need to take quick snaps of food, sceneries or macro shots on the go.

In video mode, one can take VGA movies (640x480) recorded in MP4 format at 30 frames per second. Nothing special, but definitely nothing to complain about either from a camera phone this small. I’m not going to bother including a sample as the large file will take forever to upload on my snail-band. You can find lots of review sites that include video samples taken with the mini pro.

In the gallery below, are some sample still shots. It was slightly overcast when I shot them and most of them were taken using the macro mode. Click on each image to viewer larger size (all have been resized to 800x600).

Samples taken in good light (slightly overcast day but bright enough for camera to focus):

sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_04 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_05 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_06 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_07  sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_09 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_32sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_11 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_12 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_25sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_13
sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_14 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_15 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_16 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_17 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_18 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_19 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_20  sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_22 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_23 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_24  sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_26 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_27 sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_28  sony_ericsson_xperia_mini_pro_camera_samples_30 

Samples taken in poor lighting conditions:

DSC00035 DSC00025 DSC00026 DSC00033

More sample photos (sceneries) can be seen in part one, click on the “Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro” tag at the top of this post.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SE Xperia X10 Mini Pro: web browser and home screen

Part 3 - Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro - web browser and home screen

I spent  almost the entire day without switching on my laptop. I did everything I had to do online on the mini pro including check my email accounts, upload photos, complete some tasks in Mafia Wars, chat on Yahoo Messenger and check facebook updates and messages. I even completed the previous blog entry on the mini and posted it with a blogger app for android.

Viewing google news on the mini’s small screen. Mobile view can be turned on or off. Pinch-zoom is not available, zooming is done via two virtual buttons that pop up when the screen is touched.

The web browser that comes pre-installed with the mini is a very capable browser. you can open multiple pages in different browser windows which are accessed via a thumbnail display. it displays pages in both mobile (zoomed in, fit-to-screen style) and normal full sized format. The entire web page can be made to fit into one screen then a section can be zoomed into by touching the screen. In non-mobile format, simply scroll around the page on the touch screen.

As these shots show, I was able to play Mafia Wars on this tiny little device by using the included browser.

Completing a job in Mafia Wars (a popular game on Facebook). The game can be accessed by first displaying facebook’s full site in the included browser.

Only thing is some jobs or tasks that require flash do not work (such as building weapons etc.). I was also able to display the full facebook site, set privacy settings using the pull down menu (everyone, friends of friends, friends only or custom) post photos to existing albums, create new albums and share links. Yes, all that one such a tiny screen. It wasn’t hard to do because scrolling is painless so far. I have not experienced any hangs or severe lag problems.

This is how the whole facebook mafia wars page looks like when set to fit the screen. Touch the screen to zoom in on any section, scrolling around is smooth and problem free.

The properties tab in Mafia Wars requires Adobe Flash which is not made for this system.

Adobe flash player is not made for this phone system but there is a separate youtube app for viewing youtube videos. I tried it and it was pretty smooth, as long as your wifi connection is stable.

One can also install Opera Mini to browse the web. I normally use Opera mini on my mobile phone when I need to quickly log into facebook’s mobile site or to facebok zero ( However, given how good the built-in browser is, I doubt I’ll be using Opera Mini much on the xperia mini pro.

Home screen
The home screen displays four applications displayed on each corner. By default, mine displayed Contacts, Messages and Music Player. I customized my home screen and swapped the default corner apps with Gmail, Email and the built-in web browser.

Each corner of the home screen can be customized to display your favorite app for easy access.

More apps can be downloaded from the Android Market.

Be careful with some free apps which download advertisements every now and then; you may end up with a shocker of a bill if you haven’t got an unlimited data plan. Some apps when left to run will continue to download updates (such as the facebook app) periodically.

The application menus can be accessed by flicking the home screen or by pulling up an arrow displayed on the bottom of the home screen. The mini pro supports up to 20 application screens with each screen displaying 9 apps.

So far so good… it if it wasn’t, I would not have used it for most of the day without once switching on a desktop computer or laptop. :)

Access all my xperia mini pro related posts here:

SE Xperia mini pro - some downsides

here are some downsides I found but keep in mind i've only been using this tiny phone for two days.

I am typing this quick entry on the small qwerty kb with the phone resting on a soft tissue to prevent it from spinning around. the back panel is curved which causes the phone to spin when placed on a table face up.

negatives -
1. camera button a bit too stiff. pressing it with the index finger tends to slide the keyboard out.

2. bluetooth does not allow file transfers because this feature is not supported by android 1.6. sony will release 2.1 in october which should solve this issue.

3. screen is sensitive to touch only around the center. virtual buttons lying near the edges take some practice and a lot of patience to press. sometimes all it takes is a soft tap, other times you need to tap hard or 2-3 times. this is my biggest complaint.

will post others as I find them. but really am loving this little wonder so far. will take some macro shots later.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro: first impressions

Finally got myself a smartphone, Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro. quite a mouthful but it's one of the smallest in the market with a QWERTY kb. it runs Android 1.6 but 2.1 will be available for download end of September. i wanted black but the red one caught my eye instantly, love at first sight! anyway the back panel can be swapped with panels of different colors.


i guess online advertising does work afterall cos i got to know about the phone from the news screen that pops up everytime i log into yahoo msgr. and now the phone is mine! :) 

compared to my SE K810i (worst sony phone ever made!) and my acer d250 netbook.

the mini pro is about the size of a credit card, not as wide but slightly longer. it's a little chubby because it has a built-in qwerty keyboard. the 2.55" screen is small (320x240 resolution) but it's more than adequate for me. it's pre-loaded with apps like facebook, google talk, gmail, youtube, google maps etc. more apps can be downloaded from the android market.

i can comfortably use the phone sitting in one hand, it's designed for one thumb operation. slide out the qwerty kb and the orientation automatically changes. the keys are tiny but the kd is generally comfortable enough to type out long emails or messages. the whole thing weighs only 120g and costs only 1/3 of the iphone 4's asking price.

the qwerty keyboard is small but i find it comfortable enough to type on.

sure i could have bought a nokia n97 mini (which is much larger) or some other smartphone, but i wanted this one and this one only cos look at it! it's a beauty, small and light and fits easily in a pocket. it also does everything i need it to and has all that i want already installed in it. will take a look at the android market and see what else i'd like to put on it.

the 5MP camera takes decent pictures, certainly what one would expect from a camera phone of this calibre. it uses an LED flash which only has two settings, auto and off. very basic camera controls but that's to be expected as it is not a cybershot series phone. nor is it a walkman series phone so the music player is also very basic, no equalizers but at least there's FM radio! :)

scrolling is a breeze. the screen is sensitive and menus and pages fly by without a hitch. apps open quickly too and songs skip forward and backwards without any hiccups. haven't tried video yet though, will try and load some mp4 files into it when i get the chance.

i've used the iphone 4 for a couple of days and really liked it. however, its power and features were wasted on me. it was also heavy, large and needed a USB cable for data transfers (can't use a card reader cos the ip4 doesn't have a card slot). this little wonder, the xperia mini pro suits me perfectly. it is not a business phone, nor is it marketed as one. it's a full function smartphone in a mini package. this phone will go with me everywhere.

here are some photos taken with the phone (taken after I walked out of the store):

not so good indoors but acceptable for a camphone.

in sunny conditions, the phone takes decent photos. perfectly okay for a non cybershot camera phone. color is nice too.









will post more photos taken with the phone when i get the chance.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...