Android handsets really do lead the way when it comes to messaging with the push benefits we've come to expect from BlackBerry mixed in with Exchange support and, indeed, deep integration for more messaging solutions than you can shake a stick at.
As mentioned earlier, the excellent WhatsApp comes preinstalled but you can add so many more from LinkedIn to Twitter, from Skype to Windows Live Messenger to ICQ to whatever the heck you want. In this area, Android is unmatched and the Sony Xperia S can take full advantage of this attribute.
Although there's no universal inbox, there is universal consolidation in the form of the excellent Android status bar (so good, even Apple copied it) where all your notifications will be grouped together for you to work through.
For Gmail users, there is the inbuilt Gmail app which allows you the benefit of being able to use things like labels and full search. For all other types, Sony includes its own email app. Aside from being given a lick of paint to make it look black and grey like the address book, it's the same as far (as we could tell) as the one included in older Sony Ericsson Xperia handsets. Which is no bad thing because it does the job well.
Writing an SMS or MMS (or indeed an email) can be done by firing up the app or by going through the contact of the person you want to message. It's highly intuitive and will become second nature to even the most novice of users.
A special mention has to be made for the keyboard though which we found to be, frankly, excellent. Not only is it a standard QWERTY but also works in the same way as Swype and does this extremely well.
Until now, we'd have said that the best keyboard out there was the one provided by good old HTC and it was unmatched. Although the Sony Xperia S can't topple it from the top of our chart, we're pleased to say that it is definitely on a par. HTC, watch out – Sony's coming for you!