Sony Ericsson Xperia S, An Initial Thoughts Review

Contrary to the many rumours in circulation on-line, the ‘Nozomi' or Xperia HD was actually only the codename for the first in the, now only Sony, Xperia range of mobile phones. The Sony Xperia S is now the official name of the device, which was launched this week at Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show.

This will be the inaugural handset, in the batch of the new Xperia NXT series - which stands for NeXT generation of smartphones. The Sony Xperia S has enjoyed no privacy since pictures were leaked back in early December, but it has now been confirmed that it runs from a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 12MP camera and a 4.3-inch screen that uses Sony's mobile Bravia engine.

The Xperia S is also NFC enabled, and offers up 32GB of internal flash storage space, as opposed to the widely considered 8GB that came close to causing mass uproar. The device itself weighs in at 144grams, which is only fractionally more than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This is actually quite impressive, given the bulk of the design

Sony's Xperia S will initially be available with the 2.3.7 version of Android Gingerbread OS at launch, with users being able to upgrade to Android platform 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) during the second quarter of 2012. For reasons unknown, it will be joining an exclusive group of devices which only use a microSIM card, such as the Nokia Lumia 800 and Motorola Razr. This follows the original trendsetters Apple, and their devices. Also, there is no microSD slot; a feature, or lack there of, that many of the newly released handsets are keen to adopt.

Sony has been eager to show off the high definition display of the newest Xperia on the block, with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The phone has two front-facing cameras; one with 12MP camera that is capable of 720p video recording and a front-facing version, for video calling. The Exmor ‘R' sensor also makes a welcome return, which is essentially an image sensor with enhanced imaging characteristics. Introduced to the original Xperia series, this feature helps you to capture high quality, bright pictures especially under poor light conditions. In order to further heighten the camera's specification, there is a 3D-sweep panorama feature and low aperture value - allowing more light to reach the sensor.

The Xperia S will arrive PlayStation certified, with access to the PlayStation store and a fast-growing library of music and videos. Despite this, the real benefit of the phone are its ability to take high-resolution photos and videos, whilst being able to view them on the device itself. The idea is to better integrate smart devices, and for them to communicate intelligently.

Perhaps a tenuous example of this is the wrist watch worn by the spokesman for Sony Ericsson at CES, who could remotely control the camera and view messages on a tiny screen. It's therefore no surprise that the Xperia S comes with a built-in TV out function, where you can connect via HDMI and enjoy both pictures and videos on the big screen, and in glorious high definition.

As we saw with the marketing strategy of the Xperia Arc and Arc S, the company will probably be positioning the Xperia S just below the top devices, aiming to fill the niche right underneath the flagship products of Apple, HTC and Samsung. The ‘S' certainly packs some heavy hardware without overwhelming technical spec, and we believe the price will validate this theory.

Variants of the Xperia S are also set for launch in the springtime, when the Xperia ion, Xperia NX and Xperia acro HD will be released. The Acro HD will hit the Japanese market with specific features such as infrared port data exchange, mobile wallet and mobile TV.