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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review

A minor phone processor update or an essential Android refresh?

The standard Android text messaging area has been brightened up a little on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, with threaded messages and a wide range of file attachment options.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

When attaching a video to an SMS text message you'll be asked to crop it to size, with the app then processing it to a ridiculously low-res (176 x 144) size for compliance with SMS size rules.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Or, selecting Record Video from the attachment menu automatically sets the camcorder to its lowest resolution and limits the recording time so you know you'll have a video small enough to send.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

The email app is one of the best Sony Ericsson interface tweaks. As well as a nice, clean visual style, there's a floating preview pane that you can use to easily check messages. You can resize it as you wish. It's great to play with.

The app itself supports POP3, IMAP and MS Exchange Active Sync accounts, with the usual Android Combined Inbox displaying them all, also making it easy to check all your accounts at once by just hitting Refresh when in this mega inbox.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

One of Android's older features is its voice recognition support, and with Apple recently pretending to invent it with Siri on the iPhone 4S, it's interesting to have a little look at how Android does voice operations.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

The Android Voice Actions controls are very simple. You say "Send text to" then the name of your Contact, and, if you're lucky, the phone will identify the person from your Contacts list and open up a simplified messaging window so you can record an SMS message.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Sometimes it doesn't work, though. This message was supposed to say "I hope it's sausages for dinner". We'd like to see Apple do any better (and let's be honest, it probably will). Voice Actions also control music functions and more, with equally varying degrees of success.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Back on the text entry side of things, there's another new Sony Ericsson software tweak in the Xperia Arc S - Swipe text input. A complete clone of the Swype alternate keyboard, this enables you to type by drawing a line from letter to letter.

It works very well indeed, practically identically to Swype. But we can't see any mention of Swype being officially involved, so it appears Sony Ericsson has just nicked the idea.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S also enables you to specify different keyboard layouts for different screen orientations, so if you prefer a phonepad-style system when the phone's in portrait option, that's possible.

Although on this huge, responsive 4.2-inch screen, the standard Android QWERTY is perfectly usable whichever way you hold it.

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