The Sony Xperia S comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread preloaded. That's not a massive surprise since the majority of Android handsets at the moment come with that, though it is a disappointment since Android Ice Cream Sandwich is the one that everyone is going for right now.
It's been out a little while and we're sad that Sony couldn't come up with the goods here. Yes, there is a promised upgrade later this year so it's not all bad, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't feel it took a little of the gloss off the whole experience.
Sitting atop Gingerbread is Sony's Timescape skin which has been around on the Xperia handsets for a while. We've never been overly impressed with Timescape but it seems to work well here.
Sony has given us some nice new widgets to play with – just the usual type of things like toggles, photo frames, music control and the like – but with the Xperia wallpaper now being live, we must admit to being completely shallow and in love with the look.
That Bravia screen really adds to the experience and everything just looks crisp and fresh. Definitely a plus for Sony here and we would go so far as to say that this is as good as Apple's Retina display. This has to be seen to be believed.
You get five homescreens and we couldn't see a way to add any more but fret not since this is Android which means that you can easily do so if you change to another launcher with many free alternatives available.
The only real complaint we had here – and it is minor – is that coming from a Samsung Galaxy S2, we'd grown used to the fact that we could pull down the Android notification bar and toggle things like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off here which Sony doesn't subscribe to. It's not a big issue as there is a toggle widget on another homescreen but we are fans of the HTC Sense/Samsung Galaxy way of doing it.
The app drawer itself is pretty standard fare – the icons are stored in a standard 4 x 5 grid though Sony does give you the opportunity to rearrange them in a number of different ways. You can fire up as many apps as you care to on this baby and it doesn't seem to faze it. The 1GB of RAM and 1.5Ghz dual-core processor put in a stellar effort and we couldn't seem to tire it out no matter what we threw at it.