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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review

A minor phone processor update or an essential Android refresh?

Our Verdict

A very slim, stylish and sexy smartphone that's right up there with the best 2011 has to offer.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 1 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 7.41 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 854

View full specification

For

  • Fantastic big, bright, sharp screen
  • Great user interface customisations
  • Fast and pretty good stills camera
  • Very thin and light
  • Good battery life for its size

Against

  • Blotchy 720p video results
  • Mismatched widgets
  • Still only five home screens
  • Tiny power button and camera buttons

There's one big software update on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S compared to the original Xperia Arc - an absolutely insane 16x digital zoom is now available when recording movies.

Using one or two steps of the zoom is fine, reducing picture quality only a little. But pulling in the full 16 times totally obliterates the quality, also making it impossible to keep the image even vaguely steady. It's technically impressive, but mostly useless. Like ITV1 HD.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Much more useful is the selection of focusing methods. You can leave it on auto, select multi-focus, engage face recognition or use the tap-to-focus option. The latter is a particularly fine option if you're filming moving things, reducing the amount of needless focus adjustments in your video clips.

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

Even with focus left on automatic, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S does a nice job. It takes a second or two to refocus, which is just long enough to stop your films being filled with unnecessary focusing.

But image quality isn't amazing. The 720p clips are perfectly smooth, with VLC Player saying they all average a rock-solid 29.69 frames per second, but detail isn't quite there. Grassy areas turn a little mushy, with distant detail also lost in translation to 720p MP4 format.

Facial shots and close-ups are decent, but the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S could do a little more.

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
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Divert, Call Waiting, Fixed Dialing, Call Forwarding, Conference Call
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height125 mm
Width63 mm
Depth8.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
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