The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray shoots video in all its HD glory. If you're not convinced, it even boasts of that with a big 'HD' logo on the rear battery cover.
And for some bizarre reason, although you only get three basic scene modes to pick from in the standard camera app, when it comes to the video camera, you're presented with lots more (Landscape, Beach, Party, Portrait, Night and Sports modes).
That's really odd and these would surely be more use in the stills camera.
There is no way of automatically focusing your video as you move around. Although there are three focus modes built into the options (Single Focus, Face Detection and Infinity), we found they made little difference and parts of our video remained blurred out.
Again, the light is either on or off, and since you have to tap the screen to start/stop recording, you can't even bring the light in midway because any interaction with the screen will end your moviemaking.
You do get the feeling that in the Xperia Ray, Sony Ericsson has put more weight behind the video recorder than the main stills camera, since you're overrun with options from exposure value and white balance to metering and image stabiliser.
Again, you'll have to tap on the screen to start and end your video, because there's no camera button.
Most Android phones with HD recording commit one cardinal sin: they enable you to film video in fantastic clarity, but when you want to send your video by MMS, they don't resize it, just tell you that the video is over your carrier's limit. This is one field where the Apple iPhone beats Android smartphones hands down, and it really needn't be the case.
So we were hoping that Sony Ericsson might buck the trend here. But it doesn't.
Yes, you are able to send your video by MMS, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray does give you the option of editing your video to send that way. But in reality, it doesn't reduce the frame rate and make a smaller file. All it does is give you the ability to trim your video and, due to the size of an HD recording, it means you'll probably only get about three seconds of video in an MMS. Pointless.
Luckily, you can share via lots of other methods from email to WhatsApp to Dropbox, but it does leave a sour taste in the mouth that you have to download third-party software to do something that a phone this smart should be able to do out of the box.