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Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Interface and Functionality:

We have the new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface that shrinks down Mediascape to one elaborate widget, and leaves only Timescape – the card-based notification system for your social network accounts and messages - on one of the homescreens. We examined this updated interface in our Xperia arc preview, if you want to have a look at it in details. Coupled with the transparent backgrounds and cool animations, this new interface is shiny, good-looking, and, according to the company, is simple enough to ensure timely updates to the next versions of Android after 2.3 Gingerbread, what we have on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play.

Homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
Homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
Homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
Homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

Homescreens of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

The new version of Sony Ericsson's UX Android interface


It is not an accident that the phone ships with Gingerbread, which sports numerous gaming-oriented enhancements, like native motion sensor support, thanks to which "a game application could use readings from a gyroscope and accelerometer on the device to recognize complex user gestures and motions, such as tilt, spin, thrust, and slice." Slice is nice!

Android 2.3 also improves the support for 3rd party video drivers, used in 3D graphics acceleration, and includes system level coding to minimize application pauses. This ensures smoother animations, and increased responsiveness in games. The Gingerbread platform now recognizes touch and keyboard input faster, and at the same time with minimum CPU load. This helps all interactions with your Android phone to appear smoother, with the main beneficiary being games, which use touch controls. In the case of the Xperia Play, that also includes the dedicated gamepad, whose PlayStation symbols were found in the Gingerbread SDK way back in December.

The 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset with an Adreno 205 graphics subsystem in the Xperia Play might not be dual-core, but it achieves high enough benchmark scores of around 1500 on Quadrant, which is sufficient for the games you are likely to rock on the Android handset with smooth fps. The chip was probably top of the line when Sony Ericsson started working on the handset, before NVIDIA started pitching Tegra 2 to Google. It seems to be used in all of the new Android handsets from the Xperia line, so Sony must have gotten a discount to use it. Just kidding.

All system info apps we tried showed 400MB of user-available RAM and 380MB of user-available ROM, which is sufficient for the kind of games you are likely to find for the handset. Still, bear in mind that the handset has a single-core processor, so some upcoming games that we expect to be optimized for dual-core might not run very well on the Xperia Play. Exactly when such games will come out is still unknown though.


Internet, Connectivity and Software:

The app for browsing the Internets performs very well, with average pinch-to-zoom and double-tap response, compared to the dual-core handsets, for instance, but we are spoiled. We updated to Adobe Flash 10.2 and there was a slight boost in rendering Flash because of that. The 4” display has enough resolution to make text appear sharp and comfortable to read. 

The browser of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY performs very well - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The browser of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY performs very well - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The browser of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY performs very well - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The browser of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY performs very well - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

The browser of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY performs very well


The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play we had was with European/Asian 3G GSM frequencies, but it will also be available in a CDMA flavor on Verizon, and maybe other carriers in the US. The handset rounds it up with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and DLNA connectivity for wireless multimedia streaming, which has its own dedicated Media Server app to manage it.

LiveWare - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

LiveWare

The lack of an HDMI port to connect the gaming-oriented handset to a big screen HDTV is puzzling at best, considering DLNA is not that wide-spread and fluid yet. Why did Sony Ericsson include HDMI on the thin Xperia arc, and castrated the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play which needs it more, is beyond us. Here we even have a dedicated gamepad, so it would have been logical to use it as such, with all the action happening on your living room TV via HDMI. Oh, well, in the next edition, we presume.

We guess you can use DLNA to stream your phone's screen to the TV, passing through a Windows 7 laptop with HDMI port, if the TV is not DLNA-enabled, but the lag might be significant. The Media Server app on the Xperia Play allows you to control what devices you stream to or from, and it also manages the media you want to share.

Another app worth mentioning is LiveWare - it allows you to start an application of your choosing when something is connected to the phone, be it a headset, headphones, or a charger. Thus you can start the music or video player each time headphones are connected, or automatically go into the desktop clock mode in Android, while the handset is charging. We also have the WhatsApp Messenger, which allows you to exchange text messages for free, and the usual suspects – TrackID for song recognition and OfficeSuite doc viewer and file manager – that have been present on Sony Ericsson's phones for a while now.

15 Comments
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posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:32 3

1. fatexo (Posts: 126; Member since: 21 May 2010)


First..!!

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:42 5

2. fatexo (Posts: 126; Member since: 21 May 2010)


it would be better if they kept the Bravia Engine in this one..
it would have given it nice viewing angles and colors giving a better gaming experience.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:57

3. yoyofellow (unregistered)


It seems to be experiencing some software-related problems. May it be only for the UK devices?

http://readatech.com/2011/03/27/sony-ericsson-xperia-play-delayed-at-o2-because-of-software-problems -2848/

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 12:48 2

4. Seylan Naidoo (unregistered)


error, the sides of the phone aren't chrome...its just shiny plastic!
Yeah, I agree since its a gaming phone, they should have put the Bravia mobile engine...or why not give it an OLED display with that 960 X 544 resolution like on the Sony NGP ? And this really needs a dual core...Imagine how owners will feel in a year when they wont be abled to play "new" games?
And wheres the 6-axis gyroscope????
Plus the phone is pretty thick, if the Xperia Pro could have an 8mp exmor R camera, why couldnt this? And no HD video recording out of the box, whats up with that?
I 'was' thinking of getting this...but i decided that its all just hype about the "first Playstation phone" Maybe if it were called the Nintendo phone, people would understand its 'out-datedness'

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 13:41

5. videophone (unregistered)


ugh.. just like all sony ericson phone.. indeed prone to color fade out, especially those plastic keys. anyway, i thought this phone has a dual core cpus..-_-

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 13:43

6. videophone (unregistered)


if they put all those bravia engine, hires screen etc.,all of watever you desire on a high end phone.. then this phone will fail! no one will buy it because it'll be too xpensive

posted on 02 Apr 2011, 08:37 1

9. Junior in Jamaica (unregistered)


Exactly. This is not marketed to be a high end Android. I'd say by today's standards it is midrange.

The only issue I have is that for a gaming device, they should have definitely made the screen better.

However all else considered I am sure they didn't want to pack it all with the latest greatest hardware features and make the price unmanageable for their first gaming phone.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 17:10 2

7. cheetah2k (Posts: 870; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Its a great concept, but will it blend???

posted on 01 Apr 2011, 12:23

8. Jyakotu (Posts: 823; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


Still want it. Seems like the first true "gaming phone" that I've seen.

posted on 03 Apr 2011, 10:50 1

10. Bob Smith Jr. (unregistered)


apparently the play has a plastic screen.
Really SE? This isn't 2004. All high end phones need scratch resistant Glass.

posted on 25 Dec 2011, 10:13

17. jellytime (Posts: 135; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


it´s Glass

posted on 03 Apr 2011, 11:46

11. Sean Johnstone (unregistered)


Eh, the screen is whatever but they really should have put dual core in this phone. That is my only concern. Looks like I won't be having this phone for long but it's a flagship so I must get.

posted on 27 Apr 2011, 15:38

13. Mini_Pritchy_18 (Posts: 4; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


This phone is insane, everything is great except the camera, just the lack of zoom can get annoying but still good, don't think twice about it, just get it :L

posted on 16 May 2011, 09:25

14. phonejak9 (Posts: 3; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)


Hey i'm curious, does any one know anything about the texting? I was wondering if you could use the key pad to text too that'd be kinda cool something like a PSP. Anyone know anything about that?

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 22:31

16. julio (unregistered)


Ihave a xperia play and a sony bravia 2011 series dlna certified and i can only stream pictures nit videos why ?

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Display4.0 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (245 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 MSM8255, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.69 x 2.44 x 0.63 inches
(119 x 62 x 16 mm)
6.17 oz  (175 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 8.41 hours talk time

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