Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review: Messaging
Standalone SMS messaging on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc has been skinned a little, with texts appearing in threaded format in a simple text window. You're able to attach images and videos, or even record them direct from the SMS window prompt. It's a stylish little tool that glamorises text messaging like never before.
The Xperia Arc's keyboard is simple and a bit of a disappointment. There's no Swype or alternative on here either, so Sony Ericsson's take on the standard Android keyboard is all you get.
There are no alternate characters on the keys, so for numbers and special characters your only option is to switch screens. Still, no one complains about that on iPhone 4, so it's clearly not a deal breaker for most people.
The phone attempts to predict your words as you type, but it's a patchy experience. We found we'd typed almost the entire word before it popped up, rendering the feature virtually useless. Fans of proper grammar will also be frustrated by its poor handling of apostrophes, especially as the apostrophe itself is hidden away on the special characters screen.
Text editing is made easier in Android 2.3 thanks to a little on-screen tab that attaches itself to the bottom of the cursor when you touch an area of text you've typed. Dragging the tab is much easier than trying to precisely touch the specific area you need to edit, making correcting errors less of a chore.
Email is handled by the standard Android client, which, as ever, does a great job of setting your accounts up for you once you've supplied a username and password, also fully supporting Exchange accounts. You're able to view your accounts separately, or as part of a unified inbox – something a lot of phones neglect to do, yet so many users love the feature.
Sony Ericsson has included a very nice scrollable preview pane, which can be turned on or off – or only used when the phone's in landscape mode to give you a little more room. As with most things to do with the Xperia Arc, it's a sleek, user-friendly experience.