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Sony Ericsson Xperia Active: Hands-on shots and first impressions

Fully submersible, one hundred percent dust-proof and super compact, the Xperia Active is one of the many phones we got to see in the flesh at Sony Ericsson’s London event last night.

As you can see, it lives up to its water resistant claim. Our man at Sony Ericsson said that the Xperia Active can be submerged for a full 30 minutes under a metre of water before it’ll stop working. Useful if you’re forever dropping your phone into pints of beer/toilets/reservoirs on your weekend jaunts.

The 3-inch screen also incorporates what Sony Ericsson calls ‘wet finger tracking’ which basically means that you can swipe, tap and poke at the touchscreen and it’ll respond just as well wet as it does when dry.

After having spent a couple of minutes putting this to the test, we can confirm that there’s weight to Sony Ericsson’s claim; we occasionally do have problems composing texts on touchscreen phones when its raining, something which we don’t see happening on the Xperia Active.

As you can see from the pics, there’s a detachable rubber wrist strap and a iMapMyFitness+ app. Combined with the built in ANT+ heart rate monitor and you’ve got a pretty hardy, all-in-one fitness tracking device.

Due to the device we saw being not totally finished and there being no SIM inside we were unable to test out the app fully (there also wasn’t a running track nearby either). But we were able to get a general idea of how everything works.

Aside from these fitness and waterproof credentials, you get a 5-megapixel camera, a 1GHz processor and Sony Ericsson’s usual Facebook Inside Xperia social goodness.

We’ve seen the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active popping up on Play.com for £299.99 where it’s due for release tomorrow.

We didn’t hold it in there for the full 30 minutes; just long enough to satisfy our curiosity that it would be able to withstand pint spillage and being dropped in the bath.

We dunked the Xperia Active in speaker-end first as well for good measure. We’re confident that this will be able to withstand the more accident prone mobile users.

The ‘wet finger tracking’ stands up to all of the hype as well; we found that it wasn’t any less easy to thumb through menus and screens whether wet or not.

The viewing angle on the 3-inch screen is pretty good, although not quite as impressive as the Xperia Ray’s airless screen. On the side you’ve got a volume rocker and camera key.

Power button over on the left hand side. The back cover we weren’t allowed to remove (boo) but we understand that there’ll be a number of exchangeable soft touch back covers available.

The Xperia Active’s 5-megapixel camera with a single LED flash, sitting next to a single external speaker.

All of the apps and widgets on the Xperia Active do that pinch to zoom shuffle thing that we’ve seen on our Xperia Arc.

A quick look at the iMapMyFitness+ app, allowing you to log running routes, workouts and keep a record of what you eat. Shame we couldn’t try it out.

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