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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review

A minor phone processor update or an essential Android refresh?

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

We liked the original Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc very much indeed. This is almost exactly the same, so we like this a lot too.

For owners and fans of the original Xperia Arc, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is way too similar to the original phone to recommend upgrading to. But the software updates are useful and the processor boost a welcome if mostly undetectable enhancement, making this upgraded Xperia Arc a very good buy for anyone after a sleek, high-performance smartphone.

We liked

The 4.2-inch screen is about as good as it gets. It's between this and the legendary Samsung Galaxy S2 when it comes to the best brightness and colour reproduction on a mobile phone, with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S's Reality Display a constant joy to read on and poke.

The camera app is very fast and full of features. The resulting shots perhaps aren't quite as good as they could be, but for versatility, ease of use and features the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S camera is a winner.

Sony Ericsson's developers are on fire when it comes to Android enhancements. Compared to the excellent original Xperia Arc, this newer 2.3.4 software features even more social features, loads of tiny usability and visual tweaks, plus a great clone of the Swype line-drawing keyboard.

We disliked

The 720p video isn't amazing in terms of picture quality. The frame rate is solid and smooth, but the clips lack some clarity and detail. For a high-end Android device, it's not quite up there with the higher-quality 1080p-capable handsets.

Sony Ericsson's approach to widget design is a bit random. There's no coherent feel to it, the powerstrip replacement buttons are too big, with many of the widgets making the screens look rather messy when placed next to each other.

The slim phone means slim buttons. Finding the power button requires a small amount of mental focus, while the tiny camera shutter and volume rockers would benefit from being pumped up a little.

Final verdict

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is a slim, bright, powerful Android smartphone that shows off the mobile operating system to its very best. The screen is fantastic and the processor and memory perform well enough to keep the Android experience running smoothly and quickly.

However, the hardware upgrade in here isn't really noticeable at all. We never felt the original Xperia Arc was in any way underpowered or slow, so the 1.4GHz upgrade seems a bit pointless.

It's a lovely phone, but if the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S means the original Xperia Arc starts selling for a big discount, you'd be just as well of picking that one up instead. Both are excellent mobile phones.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory1 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.66 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXPERIA
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time7.41 Hour
Product Modelarc S
Screen Size10.7 cm (4.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 854
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)117 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height125 mm
Width63 mm
Depth8.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time460 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA arc S Smartphone
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXPERIA
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1254-2342
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

A 1.4GHz processor for super fast... well, everything. Show off sweeping panoramas in 3D.

Start your camera phone. Now shoot and save your pictures in a snap, with the Xperia arc S Android smartphone powered by a lightning fast 1.4GHz turbo processor. Get all the games, apps and videos, without the wait, plus with 3D sweep you can capture stunning panoramas and show them off on a 3D or HD TV. Bright just got more brilliant.

Limited Warranty2 Year