Newly single Sony has the goods to turn heads.
Have you heard? Sony Ericsson doesn’t officially exist anymore. It’s just plain, old Sony now and like most divorcees, the company has used this as an opportunity to reinvent itself.
Sony is gunning for both geeks and fashionistas with its latest Android smartphone. The former will love the powerful 1.5GHz dual-core processor, sharp 4.3in 720p LCD screen, high-quality 12MP camera and 32GB of storage, while the latter will be won over by the distinctive design, consisting of a polycarbonate white or black shell, curved back and a translucent strip that houses the antennas.
Other features we like are the two-stage camera shutter button, the micro-HDMI port and a built-in NFC chip. The NFC interacts with Xperia SmartTags (two are bundled in the box) to do things like toggle Wi-Fi, change the wallpaper and load a particular playlist. The idea is that you can configure your phone exactly the way you want it by holding it near a pre-programmed SmartTag -- you could keep one in the car to automatically turn on Bluetooth, for example.
The Xperia S currently runs Android 2.3.7, though Sony has promised an Ice Cream Sandwich update for later this year. As it is, Sony’s custom skin is one of the nicer Android mods. Sony has also made good use of its mafia-like family connections by blessing the Xperia S with PlayStation certification for playing PSone games, integrated access to the company’s Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, and a Sony Mobile Bravia Engine that enhances the screen’s contrast, colour and sharpness whenever you view photos or videos.
The real kicker is the Xperia S’s price tag. RRPs in the $800 range are the norm for this sort of firepower, yet Sony is only asking $579 (you’ll find it for less on the street), which is $320 less than the equivalent 32GB iPhone 4S.
Available from Sony, retailing for $499.
APC rating: 9/10 (Editor's Choice)