Sony Xperia TX review

Has the sky fallen for Sony's latest handset?

Sony Xperia TX
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Like pretty much every Android phone maker outside of Google's Nexus program, like LG's Nexus 4, Sony has smothered the basic Android in its own Timescape skin.

Different users will love or hate the changes, depending on their personal tastes. If there's anything that Touchwiz on Samsung phones and Sense on HTC handsets has taught us, it's that different folks enjoy different strokes.

For us, Timescape is both easy on the eye, and close enough to vanilla Android to avoid too much of a learning curve. It's more a tweaking of fonts and some pretty themes and widgets instead of a complete UI overhaul, and that's okay by us.

Sony Xperia TX review

Because it's so close to vanilla Android you get the benefit of many of the features built in to Ice Cream Sandwich, but with a nicer appearance.

You can cycle through the five different home pages easily, while pinching will pull back to give you a floating view of all the apps and widgets stored on the home pages, giving fast access to key functions.

Swiping down from the top of the screen will bring up the notifications panel, as well as shortcuts to functions like mute, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, mobile data and the Settings menu.

You can also create folders quickly by long pressing an app on the home page and dragging it onto another app or folder. Alternatively, you can drag apps around to rearrange them using the same method.

Like pretty much every other Xperia handset in recent memory, the TX has a dual-slide lock screen. Swipe from left to right to unlock the device, or right to left to quickly open up the camera app.

The lock screen will also give you music playback control if you're listening to tunes, and the ability to answer or ignore calls easily.

One of the areas that Sony has tried to differentiate itself from the competition with is its use of the Timescape widget, which pulls in data from all your social media feeds.

Sony Xperia TX review

Facebook and Twitter and can all be added to the widget, while extensions for LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gmail and Google Reader all available to download from the Play Store.

It works and it looks elegant within the rest of the Timescape design, but if you follow a lot of people on Twitter or simply prefer one social network over others, it can get a little cluttered with information.

The touchscreen is responsive, swiping through different pages and opening apps with ease. The three soft kys at the bottom appear significantly smaller than many other all-touchscreen devices, but work well, with hardly any accidental presses.

Typing on the keyboard was relatively simple, with haptic feedback giving the screen a solid, engaging feeling. If you're not a fan, you can switch it off in settings easily enough.

Sony has promised an upgrade for the Xperia TX to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by March 2013. Given the benefits upgrading has given phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, we expect similar improvements to appear when the update becomes available on this handset.

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.