Sony Xperia S review

Goodbye Ericsson. Can the Japanese powerhouse go it alone?

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Sony Xperia S review

Although the majority of non-geeks won't even notice the lack of an Ericsson logo (especially when they hear the familiar Xperia name), there is no doubt that the Sony Xperia S is a big deal for Sony. Forgetting its toe-dipping efforts of the early 2000's, Sony has to get this right for it to cement itself as a credible new solo player in the mobile world – and we're pleased to say that we think it has scored a blinder.

There are a few niggles here – the Xperia S is by no means a perfect phone – but we're yet to encounter one handset that leaves no room for criticism. And it is our belief that the positives on the Xperia S far outweigh the negatives.

We Liked

As you may have gathered from reading through our review of the Sony Xperia S, the screen is amazing and really has to be seen to be believed.

The 1.5GHz dual-core processor keeps everything zipping along, helping us to browse the internet at speed and run multiple apps without a hint of slow down.

The 12MP camera found on the back of the Xperia S is one of the best out there and really sets it apart from other phones in the range such as the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S2.

Sony has very kindly bundled lots of software with the Xperia S out of the box, which saves you having to dash to Google Play as soon as you turn on to grab vital apps.

We Disliked

The Sony Xperia S isn't perfect though, as it has several small niggles which can frustrate over time.

The unnecessarily fiddly flap over the charge port will grind some gears and thanks to the slippery back cover and top-heavy design there is a high drop risk with the Xperia S.

You do get 32GB of internal storage, but this will not be enough for some people and Sony has failed to provide a microSD slot on the Xperia S, which means you can't expand the memory.

We found the soft keys below the screen lacking in response and thanks to the top-notch screen battery life takes a serious beating.

We were also disappointed with the lack of Mac support and we hope this will be ironed out before the Xperia S is available for sale.

Final Verdict

There are still some niggles but we think it says a lot that when writing the pros and cons above, we really struggled with the cons section. This handset may not be cheap – and it may feel like a Sony Ericsson without the Ericsson bit printed on the front – but we are really impressed with what Sony has done for its first solo foray.

Is it worth buying? At £450 sim-free, it's not cheap but it is one of the better handsets out there and one that we found encouraged a few "What is that?" questions from iPhone owning friends.

People who look at this will probably also be looking at the likes of the iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S2 and we'd say it's pretty much on a par with both of them.

But of course, that is before the Samsung Galaxy S3 is announced and we've a feeling that when that happens, this may just end up looking like another Xperia handset. But for now at least, we'd definitely urge you to consider it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.30 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyXperia S
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time8.50 Hour
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)144 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
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
Pixel Density342 ppi
Height128 mm
Width64 mm
Depth10.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time420 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameXPERIA S Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineXperia S
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number1257-3114
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Experience thrills. In HD.

First day of the summer. Last day at the beach. Memories may fade, but the Xperia S HD mobile keeps them bright. Share the moment via a video chat in HD.

Or record it all in full HD video. View in razor-sharp clarity on the stunning 4.3" Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine. Want more? Simply plug your Xperia S into your TV's HDMI port and enjoy your HD content on a bigger screen.

Experience now. With lightning-fast capture.

A single key press takes you from sleep to snap in just over a second. With the 12 megapixel camera of Xperia S, you'll never miss another shot again. And you can keep on shooting. No delays, no missing the subject. Low light? No worries. The Exmor R for mobile camera sensor lightens up any gloomy day. Then share your pictures on a big screen. A single swipe of the display, and you can enjoy them on your tablet, TV or laptop via DLNA.

Limited Warranty2 Year