Super, sexy, Sony Xperia S

- Kathy Moran -

MANILA, Philippines - I liked the Sony Xperia S when I first saw it. I got to play with a white unit. Its clean white color and cool design made it so much more fun and classy.

The unit is loaded with a 4.3-inch screen, a fast dual-core CPU and a camera that takes really great pictures. I remembered what Patrick Larraga said about it being made to fit the hand well. I have to agree, the Xperia S felt light in the hand, but not so light that I did not feel I had a handle on it.  I also appreciated the sharp, bright screen.

Yes, I did walk under the scorching sun to see if I could still read the text messages I was writing. No problem, no glare.

What seems to set the Sony Xperia S apart from other cell phones in its class is what Sony calls the “clear element.” The cell phone is marked with the home, back and menu icons, although the capacitive contacts for these buttons are located above the icons. They’re the three dots you see in the close-up photos. The bar also contains radio antennae, and if you look closely, you’ll be able to make out the grid pattern running through it. The bar lights up briefly when one of the buttons is pressed, giving it a unique futuristic look.

The Xperia S sports a power button and headphone jack up top, with the volume rocker and camera button on the right side. Above the screen there is a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video chat, checking your hair or challenging yourself to a staring match. MicroUSB and microHDMI connectors are located on opposite edges of the device, protected by plastic covers.

The back camera is a 12.1-megapixel main camera with LED flash. And such a camera in a phone is truly impressive.  I got to take a few shots; I enjoyed the photos I took even if I have always been a klutz when it comes to taking photos. How can one go wrong with a 12-megapixel camera, right?

Gingerbread, anyone?

The Xperia S runs Android 2.3.7 with Sony’s new UXP NXT software. It’s built a good-looking UI on top of Gingerbread, including plenty of useful features, particularly in the multimedia department.

There are plenty of pre-loaded apps from Sony Entertainment Network on the Xperia S, including Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited. Music Unlimited remains a subscription service, though if you’re already on board Sony’s on-demand music service, the fact that it’s pre-loaded is useful.

PlayStation support has been unlocked for the device, too. Right now there’s just over a dozen PlayStation titles available through the PS Store app, though some are still limited to the Xperia Play only.

Sony’s Facebook Inside Xperia support is alive and well on the Xperia S, integrating social network updates with the contacts app, dialer and gallery.

Other features like texting, calling, setting personal tones and even setting up a wallpaper are easy to learn on the Xperia S.

I wasn’t able to try out the recording function, although that is one function that the Xperia S should handle really well. I use a Sony digital recording device and it works just great.

Sony Mobile is gearing up to create more smartphones that it hopes will change the way people view and use their devices.

That can only be good news for us.












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