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iPhone 4 Rival Alert : Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro From £130

The price of the diminutive Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro has tumbled down at O2 to a mere £130 on Pay as you go; you will need to top up at least £7.50 though, but the mobile phone operator is also bundling in a £20 gift voucher which can be spent at a number of outlets.

The handset was first unveiled back in May together with the Xperia Mini. The device is powered by Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread (and should receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as well).

The Xperia Mini Pro is the cheapest Android phone on the market with a slide out keyboard. It will also attract those looking for a smaller form factor. The handset has a small 3-inch screen with an HVGA resolution, a Qualcomm SoC clocked at 1GHz, 512MB RAM, a microSD card slot, up to five hours talk time, can last up to 29 hours on music, has a five megapixel camera and a front facing VGA one.

That said, it is the QWERTY keyboard that remains the main selling point. It is a full QWERTY model and is way better than having to touch type on a virtual keyboard. The phone is locked to O2 (which means that you will be able to use it only on Tesco Mobile and GiffGaff without unlocking), but then, it is worth noting that the unlocked version of the phone costs £200 at Carphone Warehouse.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.