Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review

Can Android 2.3 and a super-slim new body salvage Sony Ericsson's Android ambitions?

The definitive Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review
The definitive Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review: Battery life and connectivity

Sony ericsson xperia arc

There's a 1500mAh battery in the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, which does a good job of keeping the phone going. With the phone set to maximum Timescape media sync and screen brightness on medium, we got a comfortable two days' casual use out of the Arc – certainly better than the HTC Desire HD manages.

As with all smartphones, battery life depends heavily on what you use the phone for. Android's built-in power monitor tells us that the phone's screen is unsurprisingly the highest power user by a huge margin, so if you're constantly staring at things and fiddling away with games it'll struggle to last a day.

However, the background data syncing options didn't use much power at all – meaning that for once we didn't feel the need to immediately turn off all automatic updates to preserve power. Your experiences will vary, but we find the Arc's battery performance sits bang in the middle of what you'd expect from a large-screened smartphone.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

The phone supports wi-fi 802.11n and connects quickly from standby, with 3G and HSPA for mobile connections.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

You also get DLNA compatibility, via Sony Ericsson's Media Server app. Turn this on and it'll share your media via a Wi-Fi connection with any other DLNA-certified devices you have in the neighbourhood.

Once the app has connected via Wi-Fi, you're prompted to allow any other DLNA devices on your network full or temporary access to the files on your phone.

Playback and browsing settings then depend on the device you're streaming the files to – but using software-based DLNA app Skifta on an HTC Desire, we were able to easily view photos and stream music and video from the Arc with ease.

Sony ericsson xperia arc

Being based on a modern version of Android means the Arc can function as a 3G modem via both a tethered USB connection and setting it up to create its own wireless hotspot for a laptop to hook into.

An HDMI output lets wired users display footage on an HDTV, although there's no cable in the box. And there's an FM radio.

When connected via HDMI, the Arc automatically boots to the Gallery and displays that on your TV or monitor. Some TVs will have the ability to page through the gallery using the remote control, freeing you to dump the phone on the floor.

If not, it's possible to use your phone as a remote to control stuff – plus the entire phone user interface is viewable and usable on the TV screen. So you can play Angry Birds on a 42-inch plasma -(what we simply call 'Living the Smartphone Dream).

As ever, the FM radio only activates when a pair of headphones is plugged in – because the cable is used as an aerial. However, there's also an option to output the audio through the speaker once you're tuned in. But you still have to have the headphones in at all times.

It's a simple app. There's an auto station search option, while the only advanced smartphone super-feature is compatibility with Sony Ericsson's TrackID system – one touch of an icon in the corner and it'll identify whatever tune Chris Moyles is currently shouting over the top of.