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Sony Xperia P mobile phone review

Sony Xperia P mobile phone review

Company

Sony

Price

£329

Launched in February this year, the Sony Xperia P sits above the recently reviewed Xperia U, in terms of hardware specifications. It also sits just below the flagship Xperia S, in the new NGT series of mobiles. That top-tier phone was unveiled in January, where ITProPortal published exclusive hands on photos of the phone, days before it was actually launched.

Setting up the Xperia P for the very first time involves eight steps. This is in the most complete set-up procedure that I have seen in a recent handset, including phones from HTC, Samsung, Nokia and LG mobiles.

The first step that sets the handset apart from others is the way it offers to download the phone’s Internet and multimedia messaging settings. This is followed by configuring access to Wi-Fi for syncing data, without using up your valuable mobile data allowance. The latter is a feature of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich setup, but the Xperia P doesn’t even run that OS.

{MPU Placeholder}Next up you can configure your personal email accounts, with the usual range on offer: from Google to Microsoft Exchange. There is also the not-always-expected Facebook login, which is used for Sony’s own social networking client called TimeScape (but more on that later). The setup procedure ends with either logging on to, or creating an account for the Sony Entertainment Network. This gives you access to the company’s collection of media, from major record labels to Hollywood studios, as well as what Sony has to offer.

Design

The three devices in the Sony next generation range all share a similar look and build. The new handsets look different from the previous flagship Sony Ericsson phone: the Arc and revamped Arc S. However, the height and width of the Arc S and Xperia P are not too dissimilar, at 125 x 63mm and 122 x 59.5mm respectively. Only the back of the older phone curves in the middle (giving it its name) and measures 8.7mm, at its thinnest point. This is compared to the constant 10.5mm thickness of the P.

This handset has design elements taken from the mid-2011 Sony Ericsson Ray. This was a bar style of phone, with a sleek form factor and an almost minimalist quality. It is made up from only four parts, with an aluminium unibody chassis that conveys a premium look and feel, even more so than the higher-end Xperia S.

At the base of the phone is a significant gap across its entire width, which has been filled with a transparent strip. This houses the touch sensitive back, home and option buttons. The phone’s radio antennae also reside here. The other two new Xperia devices all have their touch buttons located above the see-through area, and not embedded within it. This alludes to the P being more of the finished product, since many users of the Xperia S expected the buttons to be within the clear strip.

I would have liked to have seen the strip to add some functionality to the phone. Perhaps this bar could have displayed notifications when the screen is off or maybe alert you to incoming calls when the handset is in silent or meeting modes. Definitely something for Sony to think about, perhaps even via a firmware update.

On the right-hand side is the speaker, volume rocker and dedicated camera button – from top to bottom. The left side is home to the microUSB, mini HDMI and micro SIM card slot. I had a hard time using the SIM card slot; as a word of warning, get an official micro SIM card and not one cut down to fit. The charging port and HDMI are too close together for comfort. I often mistook one for the other and tried to jam a microUSB lead intro the HDMI port. The Xperia S, by comparison, avoids this issue with the ports on either side of the device.

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Pros

  • Good build
  • Nice size and screen quality
  • Easy to use UI

Cons

  • Older operating system
  • Translucent strip needs to do more
  • No microSD card slot

Company

Sony

Price

£329

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