Sony Ericsson have treated us to a whole selection of Android smartphones so far; and with the skinny, smaller, cheaper Xperia Ray, and refreshed Xperia Arc and Neo models all on the horizon, we’ve pitted the Xperia family against itself.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray
The next phone we’ll see from Sony Ericsson, to the eye, it seems like a skinnier Xperia Neo.
Despite its smaller screen, it still manages to pack in the likes of an 8-megapixel camera capable of high-definition video-recording, and a respectable 1GHz Snapdragon processor with Adreno graphics. This is the same stuff found in the Xperia Arc and Neo, and the smaller 3.7-inch screen still manages to cope with the same 854×480 resolution found on its bigger Xperia brothers.
The smaller screen, and lack of any slide-out part, make this is the lightest of the group at 100g. It’s even chasing the thinnest phone crown, measuring at a uniform 9.4mm, versus the Arc’s 8.7mm ‘at-the-thinnest-point’ boasts.
The Xperia Ray looks set to launch in a more interesting array of colours too, and could be something to consider. According to Sony Ericsson, it should arrive in gold, black, pink and white.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro
Alongside the keyboard-less Xperia Mini, this tiny phone is a departure from the big-screen stylings of the rest of this year’s Xperia range, with a tiny but sharp 3-inch screen encased in plastic. Despite this, the phone is reassuringly rugged, with a smooth, sharp slide-out keyboard motion.
The screen has a resolution of 320×480, but with some clever retweaks to Android Gingerbread (like the “four corner” shortcuts on the homescreen making more space for your favourite apps) the user experience never seems squashed or fussy.
Whilst it doesn’t carry an eight-megapixel camera like the Xperia Arc, it does have a f/2.6 aperture – better than the Xperia Play, and it takes noticeably better pictures than the all-about-gaming smartphone
With a redesigned keyboard from its predecessor, the Xperia X10 mini pro, it does add to a portly 18mm thickness, but successfully dodges the problem of touch-typing on a small screen. The smaller screen means that despite the smaller battery, we found it had a longer battery-life than other Xperia phones.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
Arguably Sony Ericsson’s flagship smartphone, it’s a beauty. With a curiously curved back, the plastic casing may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s hard to deny it’s not a lovingly designed slice of smartphone. It’s a lean 117g, measuring at 8.7mm at its thinnest point.
Sony Ericsson are keen to stress the phone’s Exmor R sensor, and it’s ideally placed in the Xperia Arc, which seems to be built for photography.
There’s a two-stage shutter button and Sony’s Mobile Bravia technology ensures your pictures and video look great on that 4.2-inch screen. The bigger screen makes the Arc ideal for web browsing with plenty of space to view your favourite sites. It’s designed for pinch-to-zoom maps and apps.
Be warned though; that huge, gorgeous screen can suck your battery- especially with brightness set to max.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo
Perhaps unfairly labelled the Plain Jane of the Xperia range, the Neo may measure slightly thicker, despite a smaller screen, but it’s capable of doing everything the Xperia Arc can.
It has both the Exmor R camera sensor, ensuring some great performances in low-light, and the Mobile Bravia engine pushing the TFT to better blacks, and deeper hues. The 8-megapixel camera is capable of high-definition video capture too.
Courtesy of the smaller screen and the handset’s bigger size, it’s also worth mentioning that the Neo is substantially cheaper than the Xperia Arc.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
The fabled PlayStation Phone, the Xperia Play hasn’t yet set the world on fire. We’re hoping that the incoming PlayStation-certified Sony tablets will soon open up some more PlayStation hits for us to play through.
Anyone who’s played a bit of PlayStation in their life with find the controls are ideal; mimicking the original’s d-pad and four-symbol button array. There’s only two collar buttons, but even the analogue sticks are represented here by a mysterious touchpad nub for each thumb.
With these digital controls, it means your gaming fun is never interrupted by your fingers on the screen, though you will find the gaming slider adds noticeably to the weight of the phone; a hefty 175g.
Aside from its gaming chops, the 4-inch screen doesn’t compare too well to the likes of the Xperia Arc and Neo; it seems to be dimmer, forcing us to increase the brightness to the max , and there’s a weedier 5.1-megapixel camera whose performance doesn’t even match the 5-megapixel packing Mini Pro. But for serious gamers, with these controls, no other phone compares.