Review: Sony Xperia S

By Mike Wheeler

Sony and Ericsson have now gone their separate ways, so how will a solo Sony go on the smartphone front? We’re about to find out with the release of the Sony Xperia S smartphone.

Out of the box it’s of a reasonable size and pretty light – in other words, pretty standard fare. It has a black matt finish, and a nice glossy screen, which seemed small when we first switched on the unit. Then we realised that it was the icons and peripherals such as the date and time that were small, which wasn’t ideal, especially if you are older. But size issues aside, the actual quality of the screen is good.

Navigation is pretty straight forward, although like my HTC Evo, the touchscreen needed to be pressed quite hard to scroll back to other screens on occasion. But overall I liked it. The call quality seemed good. It was connected to the Optus network, so I wouldn’t expect anything less in suburbia.

What was a nice surprise was the sound quality of the music player. Sure, compared to a portable speaker or a good set of headphones, it isn’t up to much, but we felt the quality as a standalone unit was reasonably good. It didn’t sound as tinny as some similar products, and we were humming along quite nicely to the tunes.

Standard features of the handset include a nice 12.1 megapixel rear camera, with a 1.3 megapixel front camera. We found the pics taken were fantastic and would go as far as to say the best we’ve seen. On the downside though, there seemed to be focussing issues when it was in camcorder mode.  It has 32GB of internal storage, but no microSD card, which is a little disappointing. It has 1GB of RAM, and like most Android handsets that have been released lately it comes with the soon-to-be-dated Gingerbread 2.3. No doubt there will be an update to Ice Cream Sandwich available soon, but why not install it with it in the first place?

As well as a charging port, it has a mini HDMI port so you can run any movies you have downloaded from Sony’s Video Unlimited service through your television. Its battery lasted a couple of days, but for half of that time at it was on standby.

Overall, a pretty good effort from Sony. Again, like many handsets we’ve looked at over the past couple of months, there seems to be a trend of trying to fit has much functionality into a unit, all the while trying to make it as light and user-friendly as possible. On this front Sony have done an OK job, but nothing mind blowing.

Pros: Good call quality; decent sound, very nice screen
Cons: Small icons, no external storage; Gingerbread operating system

3.8 Shacks Out of 5

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