Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review

Can Android 2.3 and a super-slim new body salvage Sony Ericsson's Android ambitions?

TODO alt text

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review: Maps and apps

Because the Xperia Arc is running the very newest version of Android, you get the very latest suite of Google apps on the phone straight out of the box – Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Talk and the quaint News & Weather widget.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

The Arc's processor and multi-touch screen means the new, vector-based Google Maps runs perfectly, with the full range of 3D zooming, panning and rotating options available when viewing maps up close.

The initial GPS lock was swift, with Google's fantastic Maps Navigation app giving you a superb free satnav tool.

Google's Maps app is easily the most impressive mapping and navigation tool out there. As well as access to the classic Google Maps, it now includes full voice navigation across most of Europe. Simply accessing the Directions tab lets you specify a start and end point, with Google computing a route for you.

SE xperia arc review

Clicking on the Maps Navigation arrow then opens the sat-nav part of the app, prompting you to download and install a voice pack for spoken directions – if you want to hear some amusing American mis-translations of UK place names.

The route is calculated in advance, so it's simple to punch it in while at home on Wi-Fi, then head off and let the GPS do the rest of the job. It's one of Android's killer apps.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

Aside from the Google apps, Sony Ericsson has resisted temptation to fill the Arc up with third-party software. There's not much on here at all. The BBC iPlayer app is installed, with the Arc managing to play the highest bitrate streaming video perfectly through Wi-Fi after an initial choppy bit of buffering.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

As with Sony Ericsson's 2010 Android phones like the Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro, the company has teamed its TrackID music identification app with its PlayNow online store. Track ID works well, and individual songs can be bought via credit card of premium SMS message for £1.50.

TrackID also lets you look up artists on YouTube, incorporating sharing features so you can ping links out to Twitter and instantly become more popular.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

One clever Sony Ericsson enhancement is its brightness widget. It's customisable, flipping between the lowest brightness setting and your own level set in the phone's Display setting menu. So it's easy to specify your own custom screen level – rather than making do with Android's default low, medium and high options.

This breaks if used in tandem with the standard Android power strip widget, though, which overrides the setting of the Sony Ericsson toggle. So pick one and stick with it.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

Phone memory displays as having 380MB free for apps, although being an Android 2.3 phone you're able to move certain apps (ones the developer has updated to allow the feature) to SD card to free up space. And our unlocked Xperia Arc came with a generous 8GB card in the box. Enough space for several million Angry Birds levels.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

And yes, it plays Angry Birds perfectly. Sony Ericsson has also included a copy of Let's Golf HD in this unlocked version of the Arc, plus for business there's MS Office-compatible tool OfficeSuite. What other freebies you get may vary depending on your mobile network.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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
Rear Camera Resolution8.1 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourMidnight Blue
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time6.90 Hour
Product ModelArc
Screen Size10.7 cm (4.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 854
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)117 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, REACH, RoHS, WEEE
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
Height125 mm
Width63 mm
Depth8.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time430 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA Arc Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXPERIA
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number1246-9197
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Your life in vivid colours. Videos and stills. Show it all off on the sharp, crisp and clear 4,2' multi-touch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Share, like and comment with Facebook inside Xperia. The Xperia arc Android touch phone - designed to be daring.

Android touch phone with super-screen

View pics and video in vivid colours with your Android touch phone. Crisp and clear on the 4.2" Reality display with Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine.

The sleek, super-slim Xperia arc

Start with premium materials. Stir in a beautiful curve. Squeeze down to 8.7 mm. And there it is, a perfect palm fit: the slim, lightweight and strong Xperia arc.

Limited Warranty2 Year