With Sony’s new flagship currently dominating advertising space across the nation, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the only phone the company have under the belt and so far in 2013 and in truth it is. However, its solo spot in Sony’s lineup thus far is soon to expire as two new handsets are on track to grace store shelves in the form of the Xperias SP and L.
Heading up the charge is the Sony Xperia SP; a mid-ranger with some pretty high-end specs and most importantly 4G (LTE). Our encounter with the SP was certainly positive, getting some time with both the white and red models (the SP is also available in black).
Physically smaller than the Xperia Z, the front of the SP sports a 4.6-inch 720p HD display and a VGA front facing camera. The phone’s right side features the volume rocker and hardware shutter button, both of which are the same colour as the rest of the SP’s body, whilst the centrally positioned power/lock key mimics that of the Z’s with a complete chrome finish. Despite the all-plastic body, elements like the metal rear camera surround and small steel screws in the phone’s sides really purvey how well put together the SP feels. In the hand, although heavy, it comes across as solid.
There’s a removable back which reveals the NFC chip as well as slots for a microSD card and microSIM, but the 2370mAh battery isn’t removable which is a shame. The most notable addition to the external aesthetic of the SP is the transparent bar at the bottom of the device which as with last year’s Xperias S, P and U, features LED notification lights which shine different colours for different types of notification.
Turning the Xperia SP on, we’re treated to the same elegant iteration of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean which Sony have already granted the Xperia Z. In fact the user experience is almost identical to that of the Z including the same widgets and small apps as well Sony’s own services; such as Movies and Music Unlimited. The 720p display is vivid and bright, with decent viewing angles and of course Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 in play. The hardware keeps the user experience snappy too with a 1.7-GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
For those who don’t want the size or price tag associated with Sony’s new flagship, the SP looks like a great 4G toting alternative, with SIM free pricing suggested around £340 and availability likely to kick off in April.