It looks like all the big guns from the CES and Mobile World Congress 2012 are finally starting to make their way into the market. With upgraded processors, higher resolution displays and cameras, the next batch of smartphones has a lot of people drooling already. We tested Sony’s newest offering, the Xperia S and here are our impressions.
Let’s start with the looks. Nothing about this phone screams attention. We tested the flat black version and the phone looked like a mini-remote control more than a smartphone with its clean lines and an almost matte finish. If you click on the image, you will notice a little strip at the bottom of the phone. This little feature we liked (even though we got a little confused at first). Right above the strip are the Home, Back and App List buttons. And when you click on these buttons, the strip actually lights up. Very handy in the dark and a nice touch we might add.
The display is 4.3″ with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This makes watching videos and photos very pleasing to the eye. There is a caveat here though: despite the high resolution screen, we must admit, the best smartphone displays currently in the market belong to the Samsung Galaxy Note and the iPhone 4S. Bar none. Still, it isn’t as though the display on the Xperia S is bad. The phone also comes equipped with a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Dual Core processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB of storage and get this… a 12MP camera with an LED flash and 16 x digital zoom (and you can record HD videos in 1080P). That’s a first for smartphones on the market. Sony has also been touting that a single key press would take you from sleep to snap in just over a second. We tried this (there is a dedicated camera button on the side of the phone) and were pleased with the results. They also say taking photos back to back doesn’t take much time (i.e. take a photo, wait for processing and then take the next photo) and it doesn’t, but this isn’t exactly a ground breaking feature and has been around in other phones for some time now. Still, it is a quick phone.
The Xperia S is a next generation PlayStation Certified smartphone from Sony. What this means is in addition to watching movies, listening to music etc. you can play games on the phone and also use the phone as a joystick and play games on your big screen TV. THAT, is a cool feature. A pity we haven’t seen or heard much marketing on this feature. No other smartphone can boast having that capability. Another thing that we were surprised about is that the Xperia S is being shipped with Android’s Gingerbread operating system. The phone we tested had Gingerbread Version 2.3.7, but with Ice Cream Sandwich already making its rounds, it seems almost criminal to release this phone with an older operating system especially considering the top of the line hardware specs that are included in the phone. An upgrade to Android Version 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich has been planned in Quarter 2 2012 Sony says… aren’t we already in Quarter 2?
You also get all the capabilities that come with an Android based smartphone in addition to the ability seamlessly stream videos, music, photos and games to your big screen TV. It is a very nicely packaged phone this, and we think Sony should be making some real noise when it comes to marketing this phone considering the bad press they have received lately. Maybe finally a good product coupled with some great marketing might keep the Sony naysayers at bay… at least for a little while.
The Sony Xperia S is currently on sale in India for Rs. 32,549 (~$650) but we have already seen deals online and at retail stores like Croma for Rs. 31,599 (~$630).
Check out Sony’s Xperia S introduction video below.