After the acquisition of Sony Ericsson completely by Sony, the Sony Mobile Communications came up with their first smartphone Xperia S which was announced at MWC earlier this year. On 10th April, Xperia S launched in India with the price tag of ₹32,549 and was made available for sale at Flipkart, Letsbuy and other leading online trading websites.
Though most of the smartphone vendors have cut-down with their box sizes, Sony doesn’t follow the same trend. Xperia S comes packed in a mid-sized box with a bundle of things including
a charging adaptor
a spare screen protector
and even two NFC Xperia SmartTags.
The first impression seems to be pretty good. Isn’t it?
Speaking of the hardware, Xperia S disappoints a little. At the time when the world is anticipating about the Quad-core, the device still runs on a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon processor with 1GB RAM and Adreno 220 GPU. The device has 4.3″ 720p HD display, 1280×720 resolution with 342 ppi with the BRAVIA engine, more than what any iPhone has. Although AMOLED screens are the one preferred now, but this LCD is the best i have ever seen. Sharp, good colour reproduction and easy outdoor readability at different viewing angles. 1750 mAH battery isn’t sufficient for the specs, but can differ on one’s usage. Can manage to run a day.
The device supports micro-SIM only, which means there can be a trouble for Indian customers as still some of operators does not provide micro-SIM. With the on-board storage of 32GB without the option of expanding can be insufficient for the device. Adding to specifications, it supports NFC and the usual accelerometer, gyro, proximity, and compass sensors.
Though the body is made of plastic with a special coating but it feels something of a high-end, better than any sony device from the past. It measures 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm and weighs 144 grams. Besides its 10.4mm thickness, the device is easy to handle in hands alike Samsung’s ultra thin phones. The device has a standby button, a 3.5 mm audio jack on the top with the volume rocker, dedicated camera key and the HDMI port on the right. The volume rocker also serves the purpose of digital zoom when in the camera mode. At the bottom, we have the illuminated bar with the Back, Home, Menu button symbols which illuminates on notifications. Sony gave great attention at this bar, and indeed is worth. Below that we have lanyard hook, the microphone and a microUSB connector for charging and synchronisation. At the back, we have the camera sensor and the speaker grill. The matte plastic is great against fingerprints but not strong enough to handle shocks. The back cover is removable but only to remove the SIM, while the battery is built-in. There is one more microphone at the back for stereo type video-recording and a traditional Sony ball logo.
Xperia as we know, have always been known for its camera. The primary camera 12 MP with Exmor R CMOS sensor and 16x digital zoom can shoot FULL HD 1080p videos at 30fps, which is the best for any mobile device available. The secondary camera though is 1.3 MP less than what we have in SII ie: 2 MP, but still is decent for video calling and can shoot 720p video at 30fps. The primary camera has various shooting modes with Face recognition and Smile Shutter including a special 3D Sweep Panorama.
After the release of Ice Cream Sandwich in September last year, it was quite expected that the device will have the new OS but its disappointing that it still runs on Gingerbread 2.3.7, though the company has announced the update in Q2 later this year. Sony always given its effort to make the proprietary colorful UI, at the cost of newer and powerful version of Android as seen with previous devices starting X10.
The improved user experience is awesome and have abandoned some of the widgets which kept lagging earlier. A separate TV launcher is optimized for the purpose, when the screen gets locked in the Landscape position while connected via HDMI.
Talking about the apps, the OS have some of the integrated apps by Sony which might have a better replacement in the Google Play Store, but they are well mixed with the present UI.
• Sony’s Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited service for selling music and movies
• A Data monitor
• Xperia Football
• A media remote which allows you to control DLNA capable Sony BRAVIA TVs
• Moxier Pro
• McAfee Security
• World clock and timer
Coming to the end, Sony has done a great job expanding the hardware in-spite of sticking to the old OS, but they have promised to roll out the update. They have once again proved their excellence in camera quality and have brilliantly optimized for the large display. Though some things like processor and OS are off the grid but if you are out for a high-end device, you can surely consider this as an option.
For now, 4/5 , a bit extra cash for the specs but let’s see what ICS have in bag.