Sony Ericsson Xperia Play review

The PlayStation Phone finally lands - but can it live up to the hype?

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play review: Verdict

Sony ericsson xperia play review

Let's be frank: the Xperia Play is no knock-out punch set to revolutionise mobile gaming. It's better than playing on a touchscreen-only phone, the iPhone 4 included, but the advantage is minimal enough to be overshadowed by the cost and the competition.

The hardware is mostly good, but patchy implementation of software hobbles it. Indeed, consistency is not the Xperia Play's strong point.

We liked

The slide-out pad, despite some niggles, is a boon to gaming, with a selection of pleasing face buttons.

It's a great-sounding device too – we're happy to praise the stereo speakers and the media playback. And while bulky, it's a pretty sweet-looking machine, one we'd be pleased to show to our friends.

We disliked

Oversights and bad decisions plague the software side of the Xperia Play. We desperately hope Sony Ericsson patches the device to plug the more egregious holes soon. Even so, this is a handset that could have been so much better and one we want to love. Seeing it this way is painful.

The price. Seriously, it's insane when some really great products cost less. The iPhone is more polished as an experience; the 3DS has a better overall layout, exciting tech, and is easier to use for being a focused games machine; and there are numerous decent Android phones that are less per month. Just off the top of our head, there's HTC's Incredible S and Desire HD.


Much of what ails the Xperia Play could be fixed with time and care. As it stands, however, we reckon you could do better for your money. The Xperia Play is too pricey for casual gaming, while we'd suggest serious gamers would be better served by picking up a full-on mobile console. Sony fans have the NGP to look forward too, and we'd seriously recommend the 3DS hardware as an alternative.

What's important is whether you can live with the Xperia Play as your everyday phone and if it's a sound investment of your hard-earned cash. On both counts, the answer is: not yet.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.36 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 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5.1 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time8.41 Hour
Product ModelPlay
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)175 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, REACH
Maximum Video Resolution800 x 480
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
Height119 mm
Width62 mm
Depth16 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time425 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA Play Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXPERIA
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberXPERIAPLAYBLK
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Need a super efficient, full-featured smartphone with Facebook inside Xperia? And what if it also had real game controls? You got it. The Xperia™ PLAY. A PlayStation certified Android smartphone that lets you immerse yourself in the games you want.

The latest Google apps on your Android mobile

Never get lost again. Explore cities and sights with 3D maps. Use Google Voice Search to call, text and more. With your Xperia PLAY Android mobile, there's no need to type. Just speak. Want more? Get the apps you need from Android Market.

"So, is this the PlayStation phone?"

Once a fantasy. Now a reality. The first PlayStation Certified Android smartphone gives you incredible graphics, great sound and real game controller. This phone is not actually named "the PlayStation™ phone" though - we call it Xperia PLAY.

Limited Warranty2 Year