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Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Introduction:

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
After redeeming its Android mojo with the sleek and capable Sony Ericsson Xperia arc, the company decided to out an upgrade as a stopgap flagship until it eventually makes it to the dual-core Nozomi rumored for next year.

We say stopgap, since the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S keeps the breathtaking design of its predecessor, but ups the ante with a still-single core 1.4GHz processor, 14.4Mbps instead of 7.2Mbps radio, and teaches the 8MP Exmor R camera some new tricks.

So the phone gets faster and allows you to do cool 2D and quasi-3D panorama shots, keeping its sexy design, but still doesn’t have a front-facing camera? Is that supposed to be compensated by the “S” for a speedier processor and baseband radio? Read on our review to find out...


Design:

The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S is again just 0.34” (8.7mm) thin in the middle, which gradually becomes 0.39” (10mm) at both ends. The overarching ambition (pun intended) has been to arm the company with “one of the thinnest” punch line, and the result is beautiful.

The arched profile makes the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S a breeze to hold and handle - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
The arched profile makes the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S a breeze to hold and handle - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
The arched profile makes the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S a breeze to hold and handle - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

The arched profile makes the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S a breeze to hold and handle


Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

You can compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Everyone we showed the handset to loved how slick it is, and even we seasoned veterans couldn't help but agree that tall, thin and narrow seems to be a good solution for big screen handsets. The size of the huge 4.2” display is barely uncomfortable at 0.34” thickness, and the arched profile makes it a breeze to hold and handle.

The 4.2” screen is of Sony's own Super LCD variety, with 480x854 pixels of resolution and LED backlighting. With the addition of the Mobile BRAVIA Engine to this screen type, borrowed from its TV lineup, Sony has come up with a new marketing title – the Reality Display. What it does in actuality is to rev up the contrast and sharpness of the picture when displaying photos or playing videos.

The 4.2” Reality Display of the Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

The 4.2” Reality Display of the Xperia arc S


We can attest that there is a difference, although it is not as strikingly significant as the one between the Super LCD and the punchy colors of the Super AMOLED screen technologies, for instance. The display is bright enough for comfortably operating it in broad daylight, which is all fine and dandy, but the viewing angles, for that matter, are pretty poor. Contrast and color degradation when looking at an angle are almost akin to the older generation of LCD displays, and far from the excellent viewing angles on the IPS-LCD of the Xperia ray, for example.

The phone sports the previous Xperia line design with the thin buttons underneath the display, instead of the huge semi-circle for a home button we have in the latest Xperias. The three keys are illuminated with white LED lights, and have a nice rubbery feeling to them when pressed, instead of annoying clicks, making them fun to operate. The whole design is made of quality plastic.The back cover flexes a bit when pressed down because of the thin plastic, but the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S clocks in at 4.12 oz (117grams), which is very good for a handset that size.

The phone sports the previous Xperia line design with the thin buttons underneath the display - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
The phone sports the previous Xperia line design with the thin buttons underneath the display - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

The phone sports the previous Xperia line design with the thin buttons underneath the display


The camera sensor is placed in the only space the engineering team could fit it, considering the 0.34” thickness in the middle - near the upper edge on the back - which means you have to be careful not to place your finger over the lens when shooting. Combine that with the rather smallish and somewhat hard to press shutter key on the right near the lower edge, and you definitely need to hold the phone with two hands when taking a picture, unless you use the touchscreen.

Back - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
SIM and microSD card slot - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera key - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Back

SIM and microSD card slot

Camera key


The power/lock screen key at the top is is slightly protruding to make it easier to find, but it's still the size of confetti, so just for checking what time it is, you have to fiddle with your fingers at the top, until you find and press it.

Power key and HDMI port (top) - The sides of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
microUSB port, camera and volume keys (right) - The sides of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Bottom edge - The sides of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
3.5 mm jack (left) - The sides of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Power key and HDMI port (top)

microUSB port, camera and volume keys (right)

Bottom edge

3.5 mm jack (left)

The sides of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S


There is still no front-facing camera, which will be a disappointment to those who ever use one.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S 360-degrees View:



31 Comments
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posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:05 27

1. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Best looking phone around.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:29

2. THE_GAME5 (Posts: 35; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


yeah....sony and apple are my two favourite cos.

i wanted to buy arc but with only 300 mb to install apps.... i was disappointed as i like to have many of them....

same with arc s .....come on sony stop leaving loop holes.....arghhhhh....

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:35 9

3. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


that's why theres root.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 00:19 1

18. AFIQ (unregistered)


dude, with rooting, you can change directory for installation to sd card. 300 mb internal memory is not drawback actually. and compared to iphone4, arc s still the best

posted on 15 Oct 2011, 03:51 1

22. gaumzi (unregistered)


U have Movetosd app from android market...

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 09:35 10

4. dhara (Posts: 6; Member since: 09 Oct 2011)


300mb size for apps?
lol no.
settings>applications>manage applications>all>pick one and move to SD card

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 10:56 12

5. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Sony Ericsson is definitely one of my favourite phone manufacturers.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:26 4

6. dara (unregistered)


actually the arc got replaced on all the carriers that got the arc s. and the price remained the same.

btw I just watched this video straight within the browser of my arc, without any hiccup, even while moving the site with my finger.
anyway, I love the phone, and recommend it to anyone

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 11:31 1

7. abcd123 (Posts: 3; Member since: 03 Oct 2011)


totally disappointed with sony for putting a single core phone at this time of year when there is a race for dualcore processers and soon there will be quad core phones with the start of the next year. And the price for it will also be too high rather than this i will be looking forward nexus prime or htc amaze

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 12:52 7

8. dacastrator (Posts: 232; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Don't worry, we should see a SE dualcore early next year and most definitely, SE will nail it.

About quad-cores, as of now and up until next year im thinking that they are useless as more apps arent even optimized for dual-core. so quad-core makes no sense in that area.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 13:53 5

10. hunted (Posts: 313; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


you're right buddy!!

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 14:13 3

20. dhara (Posts: 6; Member since: 09 Oct 2011)


in fact, i doubt there will be ANY quad core phones next year.
yeah, Nvidia announced their Kal-el in phones arriving soon, but when you look at galaxy s3 rumors(1.8ghz dual core), and snapdragon s4 roadmap for phones, as well as TI not even announcing any yet, i doubt it.

bottom line - when you have a 1.5Ghz dual core chip paired with 1Gb+ RAM (snapdragon s3, probably used in SE nozomi), , and then the improved s4 snapdragon 2.0Ghz dual core 28nm chip with adreno 225, or the 1.8Ghz 32nm Exynos 4212; all that paired with heavily optimised ICS - you REALLY dont need a quad core

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:49 3

15. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 801; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


The reason why they did not jump in the Dual core band wagon is they don't to jump in an untested waters (software support for the handset). . .
They're the type that doesnt want to gamble anymore, they will only release a Dual Core when the ICS is fully utilize which will be in time for their next flagship phone. . .

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 13:32 5

9. GeekMovement (Posts: 1499; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


One of the best looking devices out there I agree wow!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 17:02 4

11. henrickrw (Posts: 403; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


My GS2 is still in full Command & Conquer...!!!!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 19:50 4

12. yougotkilled1 (Posts: 167; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


IMO, best looking phone out there today! :)

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 20:18 2

13. winsaki234 (Posts: 63; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


No Flash? 512MB of RAM? no no no! It's look nice but spec bad!

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:52 3

16. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 801; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


Flash? Review the phone review dude. . . If you're a heavy user consider the dual core heavy weights instead of this one. .

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:23 1

14. DroidSales (unregistered)


Sony makes gorgeous hardware lately. After their update schedule with the original Xperia phones, I was uninterested in any Sony product. However, they are now keeping phones up to date on Android releases much better, and with them giving phones, codes, and support to the CyanogenMod team, I have to say I am impressed. I run an indirect VZW agent store, and would buy a Sony on VZW if it had dual-core and LTE.

posted on 11 Oct 2011, 21:55

17. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 801; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I myself gambled when I bought the Arc last June, considering SE's reputation with its 2010 handsets (x10). . But this time around they've already released 3 software updates. . . So the software side of SE is now about solved next up for them is to upgrade their next years smartphones hardware. . .

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 11:52

19. chirole (Posts: 18; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


I doubt that they're gonna be any Dual core phones next year. Considering that Sony just bought Ericsson's share in the partnership, an organizational revamping should follow next. But we can really expect greater phones from Sony from now on that they'll probably be integrating with their other products, HDTVs, PS3 etc.

posted on 13 Oct 2011, 09:12

21. Sankar Mohan (unregistered)


Ahh.. these guys again forget to fix a front cam !!! Dont u guys want to survive in market.. You guys have to realize how much cheap video calling in India on BSNL network .40 paisa

posted on 16 Oct 2011, 14:49

23. shak (unregistered)


This is design is ok. SE, please consider my design tips to make SE more attractive.
1. Max height should be 4inch
2. Width should be 70mm
3. Get rid of 3 hard key buttons and replace these with soft keys. Hard keys looks absurd in present days.
4. Launch models in off-white color also

posted on 16 Oct 2011, 16:59

24. mzana (unregistered)


I'm looking for a new phone and my two last chooices are- SE arc or blakberry. which is better and which should I buy?

posted on 19 Oct 2011, 07:43

25. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


neither

posted on 10 Nov 2011, 02:06 2

26. KaloqnYo (Posts: 22; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


Xperia Arc of course Black B is awful !

posted on 12 Jan 2012, 08:31

28. Selvaraj (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Jan 2012)


How regarding the repairing your software commencing from side to side the Update Service, you determine to lose the entire your apps unless you install Backup & Restore it was completed for the X10 additional than runs on the Arc it might work on the Xperia Play. For more information you can visithttp://www.futurehardware.com/mobile-smartphones/91.htm

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 13:50

29. Gianni (Posts: 3; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


l telefonino SonyEricsson Arc S, ricevuto per rinnovo abbonamento a fine ottobre 2011, presenta a mio avviso dei difetti congeniti tali da non poter essere da me utilizzato. I tre tasti frontali fuoriescono troppo dal profilo e quello centrale attiva perennemente il display quando é in tasca. Pur avendo disabilitato Internet, Bluetooth, Wlan e regolato il ”Timeout” del display al minimo, senza ricevere o trasmettere nessuna telefonata, la batteria non supera le 24 ore invece dei 430 pubblicizzati in “Standby”. Pertanto l’autonomia è più che insufficiente se si considera il nessun utilizzo. Ho cercato inutilmente un astuccio rigido che attenua il problema nei vari Market anche perché la Sony non ne produce. Ho parlato con il “support” della SonyEricsson e mi è stato confermato che ciò é un problema congenito del telefonino. Questo SonyEricsson Arc S, pur avendo rispetto alla concorrenza una batteria di più piccola capacità, può essere accettato da qualcuno che lo tiene in borsetta ma non da chi è abituato a tenerlo in tasca.

posted on 29 May 2012, 03:21

30. Sangeet (Posts: 232; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


I don't care that this phone has a single core processor, it can still do 90% of the things that the dual core phones can do even with intense gaming and you can definitely play GTA 3 with the lowest / medium settings easily so no matter how is it's processor, it you wan't a phone that looks good then this will be anyone's first choice..!!

posted on 07 Nov 2012, 21:22

31. Kalana (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)


What is The Best .............
*Sony Ericsson Xperia arc
*Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 03:39

32. dussan (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Nov 2012)


For all those who had problems after updating Arc S to ICS, here are the solutions for the two most common problems:

xperia-arcs-auto-reboot.blogspot.com

xperia-arcs-media-refresh.blogspot.com

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Display4.2 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (233 ppi) TFT
Camera8.1 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 MSM8255, Single core, 1400 MHz, Scorpion processor
512 MB RAM
Size4.92 x 2.48 x 0.34 inches
(125 x 63 x 8.7 mm)
4.13 oz  (117 g)

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