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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

As with the original Xperia Arc, the photo-taking powers of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S are a particular high point of the smartphone.

Sony Ericsson has included an 8.1MP Exmor R camera sensor, which creates bright and vivid images. They're perhaps a little too bright in places, because the sensor seems to exaggerate colours a little, like we've seen with most Sony Ericsson phones this year.

Despite this issue, it's still one of the better smartphone cameras around today.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

The camera app has a broad selection of options. The 8.1MP setting is only available if you select 4:3 aspect ratio shots, with the camera dropping the megapixel count to 6MP if you'd rather capture images in 16:9 format.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Set the capturing mode to Normal and you get even more choice, because this enables you to specify the scene setting yourself. There are eight to choose from, although we didn't really bother using anything other than Landscape and Portrait.

The camera app itself is very fast in use. You can fire off a rapid succession of shots with no issue, thanks partially to the lack of a full-screen image preview.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Instead of the usual image preview, your five most recent shots are shown in a sidebar down the right-hand side of the screen, which, as with the email app's preview pane, can be pulled out for a better look if you've just taken one you're particularly proud of.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

There's one other new software feature in here that's yet to filter down to the original Xperia Arc - Sweep Panorama. This is a stitching tool with support for building 3D images as well, which produces wildly varying results.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

SWEEP PANORAMA: This is a panorama, built by moving the phone from left to right, with results stitched together automatically. We found the software pretty unreliable, often coming up with error messages about incorrect movements and the sensor moaning about "grey areas" in the images. But when it does work, it makes some impressive extra-wide shots.

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Sony ericsson xperia arc s

MACRO: Great performance from the macro mode.

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Sony ericsson xperia arc s

LANDSCAPE: The Exmor R sensor manages good contrast between light and dark, capturing scenes well. But the detail of the grassy areas isn't great.

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Sony ericsson xperia arc s

FLASH: Inside, the flash is good performer. Low-light images are pretty good.

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Sony ericsson xperia arc s

INDOORS: Even without the flash, indoor photos emerge well.

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Sony ericsson xperia arc s

PORTRAIT: Slightly crazy reds has become Sony Ericsson's trademark this generation, but the facial recognition works and portrait shots come out very nicely indeed. As long as your subject doesn't have too red a face.

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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