There was a time, not too long ago, when having the smallest phone was a mark of prestige for handset manufacturers. Then HTC came along and convinced us that 4.3-inch smartphones are actually pretty useful, closely followed by Samsung and its current postulation that 4.5 inches might be even better. Sony Ericsson isn’t exactly resisting this trend toward ever-larger touchscreen slabs, having delivered the 4.2-inch Xperia Arc earlier this year, but it also has something to offer to lovers of pretty, little things: the Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro.

The pair of Mini Android phones differ only in the fact that the Xperia Mini Pro is equipped with a slide-out keyboard, which goes a long way to justifying its rather ample thickness. Having spent the better part of two weeks using it as my regular phone, I can say that the keyboard is by far its biggest strength, but there’s plenty more here to explore: a 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture, and all the joys of testing Android 2.3.3 on a frugal 480 x 320 screen resolution. Oh, and speaking of frugality, the Xperia Mini Pro can be had unlocked for a penny under £220 ($360) right now, which is less than half the cost of your typical Android smartphone. Click past the break to see if that represents real value for your money.