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Sony Xperia S review

Goodbye Ericsson. Can the Japanese powerhouse go it alone?

Our Verdict

It might not be cheap (yet), but we're impressed with the power and poise of Sony's first solo foray

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 12.1 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 8.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720

View full specification

For

  • Fantastic screen
  • NFC capability
  • High quality camera
  • Premium build
  • Large internal storage

Against

  • Easy to drop
  • No microSD slot
  • Slightly poor battery life
  • Fat chassis
  • Only Android 2.3

Getting apps onto the phone is a cinch thanks to Android's setup. Having said that, we had a minor heart attack when we realised the Market wasn't there which was only calmed on reading that Google had renamed it to Google Playshop.

Sony Xperia S review

It's arguable the best app store there is (he says, inviting the wrath of iOS fans) because whilst it lacks the security (and polish, some would say) of Apple's AppStore, it makes up with the sheer creativity (and randomness) of the developers who don't have the same restrictions. If you are going to go wild though, we'd definitely recommend a good virus checker like Lookout Pro which has never let us down.

Having said that, the Xperia S does come with desktop favourite McAfee preinstalled so you can try that out. And that's not all. Whilst some Android devices come with the bare bones, we were majorly impressed with Sony's generosity on the Xperia S as it obviously splashes the cash following the divorce.

Sony Xperia S review

In fact, even in the Sony Ericsson days, the manufacturer was pretty generous with the Xperia range. Firstly, you get all the standard bits and bobs – calculator, clock etc – as well as the Google stuff like Gmail and Navigation.

Sony Xperia S review

The latter is a brilliant piece of software – all the more exciting because it is free – giving full turn by turn satnav and taking advantage of Google Maps. Using it was a pleasure – not least, because the GPS chip included in the Xperia S is highly sensitive and achieved a lock within seconds.

We're talking Samsung Galaxy S2 territory here which is pretty high up there. If you'd prefer to use something else, there's a version of Wisepilot preinstalled.

Sony Xperia S review

Taking advantage of its corporate tie-ins, Sony includes a link to the free Xperia Football Downloads app (Sony is a partner of the UEFA Champions League) and we found it to be a fairly OK app though the user comments on Android Play unanimously implied that it sucks.

We liked the inclusion of extra bits like the Media Remote which allows you to control a Sony-connected TV and 'Lets Start PS Store' which got us all excited until we opened it to be greeted with a message saying it doesn't work. This is down to the fact that the handset is so new and we're assured that it will be up and running by mid-March which is great news as the handset is Playstation certified.

Sony Xperia S review

Sony also helpfully includes links to its own portals like Music/Video Unlimited which allows you to buy a subscription to get more media. For Office types, there's a version of OfficeSuite preinstalled but it's only the viewer version. If you want a full word processor, you'll have to reach into your pockets.

Sony Xperia S review

They're all laid out in the app drawer in a standard grid format as is the way with Android handsets and you can reorder them with several options. Our only gripe was that it all looks a little cluttered and untidy. This is because of the way Android works where developers can make their icons all shapes and sizes and you see the lack of control compared to iOS which is all neat and tidy. However, a replacement launcher like GoLauncher Ex - which we're big fans of - can sort this out.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.30 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia S
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time8.50 Hour
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)144 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
Pixel Density342 ppi
Height128 mm
Width64 mm
Depth10.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA S Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXperia S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number1257-3114
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Experience thrills. In HD.

First day of the summer. Last day at the beach. Memories may fade, but the Xperia S HD mobile keeps them bright. Share the moment via a video chat in HD.

Or record it all in full HD video. View in razor-sharp clarity on the stunning 4.3" Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Want more? Simply plug your Xperia S into your TV's HDMI port and enjoy your HD content on a bigger screen.

Experience now. With lightning-fast capture.

A single key press takes you from sleep to snap in just over a second. With the 12 megapixel camera of Xperia S, you'll never miss another shot again. And you can keep on shooting. No delays, no missing the subject. Low light? No worries. The Exmor R for mobile camera sensor lightens up any gloomy day. Then share your pictures on a big screen. A single swipe of the display, and you can enjoy them on your tablet, TV or laptop via DLNA.

Limited Warranty2 Year