Water, Water Everywhere, But The Sony Xperia Acro S Keeps On Working
EMOTIONAL WEATHER REPORT - Jessica Zafra (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2012 - 12:00am

I’ve been to smartphone product launches with big musical numbers, light and sound shows, and celebrity endorsers walking tightropes lined with broken glass while swallowing live chickens whole (that’s what it seemed like to me), but I can say in all certainty that this is the first time I’ve seen a smartphone delivered to the table in a fishbowl. Full of water.  

The new Sony Xperia acro S is waterproof, which is great news in these times of dramatic climate change. However, you don’t have to wait for a weather-related emergency to test its capabilities. If you work near water you can stop worrying about your phone getting dunked, and if you’re the type who has to know where all your friends are every minute of the day, you can check your Facebook in the shower. You never have to worry about dropping your phone in the toilet again — except for the germs. How did Sony do that? For starters they sealed all the ports airtight. It’s so simple, it’s brilliant.

First impressions: the Xperia acro S design is pretty and distinct from other smartphones, so no lawsuits there. It’s available in black or white. Funny how mobile phones have gotten bigger as users developed more complex relationships with their screens. Wider screens mean more interesting photos for the Instagram-fixated, such as my friend Ricky who helped me write this review. (I am antisocial media so most of the features are lost on me).

Touch sensitivity is not affected by moisture — whether you’re standing in the rain emoting in your personal telenovela, or given to perspiring heavily, the screen goes on working. Not only does the Xperia acro S have the highest level of water resistance in an HD smartphone, it also has Wet Finger Tracking to let you operate it with wet hands.

Ricky observed that it takes a few seconds to activate the camera function, but the images are impressively sharp. Instagram users would probably prefer a camera that starts instantly; then again other smartphones don’t allow you to stick your arm into an aquarium to capture the expression of a fish in a Chinese restaurant right before it’s cooked. Food bloggers, it presents a whole new angle on dining out. Travel bloggers, here’s a reason to take up snorkeling.

With its 12 megapixel fast capture camera and full 1080p HD video recording capabilities, the Xperia acro S unleashes the photographer/videographer in everyone. You have to take photos and video, it’s so easy. Controls for adjusting exposure, white balance and other settings are accessible from the menu button and the icons on the side of the frame. For razor-sharp detail, just touch the screen anywhere you want it to focus.

Minor hassle: After you click to activate a shooting mode, the screen goes back to the shooting screen. This is inconvenient when you want to change several modes at once. However, there is a bar on the side of the screen where you can drag and drop preferences you tend to switch when taking pictures. Four buttons seems a reasonable number of options.

First impressions: the Xperia acro S design is pretty and distinct from other smartphones, so no lawsuits there.

In a virtual ocean of smartphones, the Xperia acro S is set apart by its Sony Mobile Bravia engine. The Bravia engine makes pictures and videos look sharper and more vivid, plus it makes you feel like an auteur. Video quality is quite stunning on the 4.3-inch 720p scratch-resistant HP display, and there is an HDMI output so you can watch your phone videos on a big screen. (The cable for HDMI doesn’t come with the phone, though.) Built-in Sony media apps Walkman, Album, and Movies heighten the multimedia experience.

The Sony Xperia acro S is also dustproof. People in the habit of multitasking — say, eating pan de sal for breakfast while checking out their social media feeds — would appreciate this.

Most smartphones will let you access your e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts, but the Xperia acro S comes with Timescape widgets. Essentially Timescape is an aggregator for the social networking apps you use most often.  Timescape feeds can show you Twitter and Facebook posts from your friends; Timescape share lets you type in Twitter and Facebook updates without having to access the social media apps. Facebook for Xperia syncs your Facebook contacts with your phone contacts so you see their status updates when you go through your contacts list. You can update and get updated easily. Even while you’re underwater fleeing a shark, in case we haven’t made that clear.

The Sony Xperia acro S will be available this month at a  standard retail price of P26,990. Try it out at the Xperia concept stores in Glorietta; Robinson’s Galleria; Robinson’s Midtown; SM Fairview, Megamall, Mall of Asia, North Edsa, Bacoor, Baguio, San Fernando and Cebu; Ayala Center Cebu, Abreeza Davao, and Gaisano Mall Davao.

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