After acquiring Ericsson, Sony needed some good quality engineering and some luck to stay in this competitive smartphone market.
And I have to say it did came pretty close with it’s new 2012 Xperia series.
Let’s look at the key features first
Bright 4″ 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine and WhiteMagic (fourth white subpixel); Scratch-resistant glass
Android OS v2.3.7 Gingerbread, Android 4.0 ICS update coming soon
Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, 1 GB RAM, Mali-400 GPU, NovaThor U8500 chipset
8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging, Multi Angle shot
1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
VGA front-facing camera
Built-in GPS receiver with Assistant-GPS
microHDMI port, dedicated TV launcher
Adobe Flash 11 support
Deep Facebook integration
WHAT I LIKED
- Metallic unibody design
- Brilliant screen
- HDMI Port
WHAT I DIDN’T
- No expandable memory
- Poor battery life
The Xperia P comes with a big nice box, with key specs like HDMI, White Magic Screen, NFC etc. written on it.
Inside it consist of our phone, an earphone, a USB-cum Charger and few NFC tags
HARDWARE & DISPLAY:
“REFRESHED AND ELEGANT”
The design and finish of the phone is pretty good, infact it’s more than good. It has a curvy design, a little thick in the middle, it is made of Aluminium, which gives it a premium feel, better than the plastic body handsets. The bottom portion of the phone is made up of plastic with the Xperia logo embedded on it. On the right side it has got the speaker, the volume rocker keys and a good addition the shutter key (Not seen in most of the phones these days)
The left side consist of the MicroUSB port, the HDMI port and the MicroSIM port. On the top there is a 3.5mm audio jack. It has got the three capacitive buttons on the transparent bar above the Xperia logo, which are pretty responsive. The front VGA camera is on the left side of the earpiece, and all the usual sensors are besides it. Blackberry users rejoice because it also has a LED indicator positioned near the earpiece. It blinks when any notification comes, the thing which I liked about it that the colour changes when you receive any email/message from a different account. It blinks green on a gmail message, a pink on a Yahoo! Message and Yellow on Hotmail.
The not so good part about the phone’s hardware is that the battery is non-removable, and it is only of 1306mAh which is way below the average, although the company boasts a 475 hours of stand by (2G), it is not the case, it lasted only 4 and a half hours on heavy usage and 8 hours on average usage.
But the screen is gorgeous looking with ~275 ppi it’s pretty crisp and bright, the colours are vibrant and lively, the viewing angles are good, and thanks to the ‘White Magic’ technology (as Sony likes it to say) the sunlight legibility is very impressive, impressive from most of the phones I’ve seen.
The screen resolution is of 960×540 (qHD) which is good.
The 8 MP camera is at the back of the phone with a single LED flash on top of it.
“TIMESCAPE DOES THE JOB WELL”
It was pretty disappointing to hear that it doesn’t comes with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, it runs on Gingerbread version 2.3.7, but they promised an update in late Q2.
The home screen only gives us an option to add 5 screens, but thankfully you can change that, there are many apps available in the play store for that, (for example Go Launcher ). We can add shortcuts, live wallpapers, Xperia widgets etc. There are not many themes to chose from most of them are almost the same just the primary colour differs, my personal favourite is the silk one. The menu is pretty simple, I liked the Timescape UI, although it’s not like the ultimate Sense UI, but it does the job well, and is definitely better than TouchWiz and MotoBlur. The Timescape option gives you the chance to see all your Twitter and Facebook on the same screen, you can also add other feeds like that of Mashable etc. from the Play Store. The pinch to zoom works well on the home screen with all the widgets comes floating at one screen. Multi-tasking is good thanks to the 1 Ghz dual core NovaThor processor, but more on that later.
CONTACTS AND TELEPHONY
“DEEP INTEGRATION WITH FB”
I was pretty impressed with the contact adding system, thanks to the deep face book integration, we can link the facebook account to the phonebook, Google Plus contacts are automatically synced abd added onit, if you want you can add your Hotmail contacts also. We can view the contacts’ facebook photos and interests in the contact info section.
The calling facility is good, it includes smart dialing. Just type the number and it will search and display a list of matching contacts. The sound quality was good, although sometimes I recorded a drop call, but that should be the network’s fault. Thanks to the proximity sensor the phone locks itself while attending any call.
“NOT BRILLINAT BUT DECENT”
Well, Sony made a brave move to make their own line of processor – The NovaThor processor, but it things weren’t as sweet as I expected. Although the phone is capable of handling most of the apps or games, it sometime lags when returning on the home screen and it freezed when I was returning back from one app to another too fast and then it became normal after rebooting it again.
Multitasking had no problem at all, games like fruit ninja and temple run worked smoothly.
I ran a few benchmark tests and it didn’t performed well in either of them. In both the Quadrant and the AnTuTu bemchmark test it was below the LG Optimus 2X, and the Optimus 2X was launched almost two years ago, it was the first ever dual core device, and is one of the latest device.
Quadrant Test (Higher is better)
AnTuTu Test (Higher is better)
CAMERA & RECORDER
“LIVED UP TO MY EXPECTATIONS”
Sony is always known for it’s good camera, and this phone is no different. First the UI.
The UI of the camera is pretty simple, changing from rear camera to the front camera is quick and easy.
The camera is good, it is capable of producing 3624×2448 resolution pictures the colours were lively, and bright, the shades were also decent. The flash was good, pictures were good in the night also. The phone also comes with panorama and “3D Camera” view.
The only problem with some pictures was that the noise reduction was poor and the detailing was not as good, and we can clearly see that while zooming any picture. Apart from that everything worked like a charm. It’s not as good as it’s bigger sibling, the Xperia S, and certainly not better than the Nokia N8 or the Htc One X, but it’s quality is way better than most of the other phones in the market.
The recorder’s UI is similar to that of the camera.
It is capable of recording HD (720p) and Full HD (1080p) videos. And it did it’s job well. It recorded at 30fps, and the bit rate was 15-16 at Full HD mode which is quite good. Here again, noise and detailing was the problem but not so much.
Budding photographers won’t be disappointed with this little beast.
GALLERY & MEDIA PLAYER
It has got the usual stock android gallery. Pinch to zoom worked flawlessly but the photos take some time to load which can be a little frustrating. The default gallery is in no way bad, but then also I would recommend you to download Scalado Album or QuickPic.
The stock media player is pretty good but when I played Michael Jackson’s Hold My Hand (.mp4) the screen went black and the audio was coming, so I tried to play it with MX Player and it ran smoothly, all the other formats like Avi, DivX, Xvid, Mkv ran beautifully.
The music player is very good, it has the option of downloading music information (album art etc.), google the lyrics directly, or to find the Artist information on Wikipedia, and to like it on facebook.
CONNECTIVITY, BROWSER AND ORGANISER
“NFC IS A WELCOME ADDITION”
The connectivity of the phone is good, both GPRS and WCDMA worked fine. Wi-Fi is also okay. Bluetooth 3.0 makes file transfer fast, and NFC is a good thing to brag about for this phone.
The stock Android browser is good but was a little bit crappy and sluggish while opening some sites. We can use multiple windows at the same time. Unfortunately we can’t save any web page, but there is Firefox Beta for that. (It saves the page in PDF format)
I would recommend you to download the Dolphin HD browser, A much better alternative to the stock one.
The organiser is good, the calendar synchronised the Google Calender and the Hotmail calendar, my only complaint is that it looks quite small, when comparing it to Motorola’s or the Htc’s calendar app. Everything else is fine.
Here comes the most important part of the review, the verdict.
The camera is good, screen is good and the looks are more than good. If you are looking for a decent mid-range smartphone, this might be the one for you, but here’s the catch, if you are a heavy user then you will be seriously pissed of by it’s battery performance and the lack of a MicroSD card, apart from these two flaws the phone decent. If you are not that much into gaming and exploring the market then it’s is almost perfect for you.
The competitors of this phone are the Htc Sensation, Motorola Atrix 2, Htc Evo 3D, Samsung Galaxy S Advance, and LG Optimus 3D. All fall in the same price group, and most of them are getting the taste of Ice Cream Sandwich. If you can shed a few more bucks you can go for the classics like the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Razr XT910, or it’s bigger sibiling the Xperia S Let’s see how it performs with the ICS update
coming in late Q2