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Sony Xperia SL Review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Sony Xperia SL Review
Introduction:

Sony did with the Xperia SL what it did with the Xperia arc and arc S last year – a new version with more colors, newer Android version, and souped-up processor speed. The only notable difference between the specs of the Xperia S and the SL, is that the dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor went up from 1.5GHz to 1.7GHz.

Other than that, ICS and the few fun new colors, like the pink SL unit we have here, it carries the same 12MP camera with Exmor R sensor, and is shipping with the same generous 32GB of internal memory, as the Xperia S. Is there anything new in the performance aspect? Read on to find out...

In the box:

  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Warranty and information leaflets
  • Sony in-ear headset

Design:

The phone looks like a boxy slab, and weighs more than usual for a 4.3-incher, yet when picked provides a firm grip precisely because of the sharp edges. It still offers the slightly curved back of the former Xperias for added grip comfort, but its matte plastic is a bit slippery, so the phone not being overly thin as some other anorexic handsets helps to grip it tight. The boxy phone has this rugged good looks, which the girly pink version we got tries to balance out.

The Sony Xperia SL looks like a boxy slab - Sony Xperia SL Review
The Sony Xperia SL looks like a boxy slab - Sony Xperia SL Review
The Sony Xperia SL looks like a boxy slab - Sony Xperia SL Review

The Sony Xperia SL looks like a boxy slab


Sony Xperia SL Review

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

Sony has gone with the narrower but more elongated design that first appeared in the Xperia arc, and which we very much appreciate, as it allows your thumb to reach more places on the screen. Even if your hands are not as large, you’ll still be able to navigate fairly comfortably the interface with one hand, compared to other big-screen phones that come wider.

Speaking of one-handed operation, the Xperia S offers good weight distribution, not most of it concentrated in the upper part around the camera module, as is so often the case. Thus we weren’t worried that it might tip over when we push it up a bit to press the three capacitive Android buttons under the display.

We had a ho-hum experience with these buttons - the transparent strip that is a trademark of Xperia's NXT design line lights up with the Android navigation symbols like a back arrow or home, but the keys are three teeny-tiny dots above the respective icon lit up in the strip, and are very easy to miss. You have to tap precisely on the miniature dot, and they are not very responsive to boot, making us tap two or three times to register an action very often.

Sony Xperia SL Review
Front camera - Sony Xperia SL Review
Android buttons and transparent illuminated strip - Sony Xperia SL Review
 

Front camera

Android buttons and transparent illuminated strip


There is no arguing that the transparent illuminated strip is a thing of beauty, though, and the contrast with the edgy black slab when it lights up leaves a very futuristic impression, which Sony has been aiming for with the “Iconic Identity” design. The firm says that this strip, which also houses the antenna parts for improved reception, is meant to emphasize the screen part above it.

Looking around the sides we barely notice any buttons and ports, we notice the microUSB and microHDMI ports covered with protective flaps in the chassis paint too. The flaps are a bit hard to pry open, especially if you are the nail-biting type, and even harder to push back in, but they should break in with time.

The volume rocker and the two-stage camera key on the right, as well as the lock/power button at the top are painted silver, distinct to find and tactile. The rocker in the middle of the right side, however, sits too low, and tends to get operated with the thumb joint instead of the tip.

microUSB port (left) - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review
Camera and volume keys, microHDMI port (right) - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review
3.5mm jack and power key (top) - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review

microUSB port (left)

Camera and volume keys, microHDMI port (right)

3.5mm jack and power key (top)

Bottom side - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review
Back - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review
Rear camera - The sides of the Sony Xperia SL - Sony Xperia SL Review

Bottom side

Back

Rear camera

The sides of the Sony Xperia SL



Display:

We have a 4.3” HD display with 720x1280 pixels of resolution on the Xperia SL, the same one we have on the S; we have 342 ppi pixel density, one of the highest of all HD mobile screens, since most others are bigger. We get crisp small text, no icon jaggies, and readability even for zoomed-out websites.

The LCD screen is bright, with popping colors, but the horizontal viewing angles degrade the image more than they should on a high-end screen. Sony has included its Mobile BRAVIA engine that boosts colors and contrast while watching media, which can be turned off. Brightness and screen reflectance are decent, so outside visibility will only be an issue if the sun shines directly onto it. The touch layer is very responsive and registers even the slightest finger tap.

35 Comments
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posted on 03 Oct 2012, 07:16 15

1. wendygarett (unregistered)


Lets make this phones to James bond's girl :p

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 07:33 16

2. shandesilva (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


surely this deserves more than 7!!....PA has been bought by apple or what?? this is ridiculous...so much for a fair review.

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:04 6

6. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


I think they got lost in the alphabet jungle of Sony.. t,j,s,sl,tx,p,u,v ~

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:51

10. sats.mine2k4 (banned) (Posts: 208; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)


Actually no 7 is perhaps right
SL pros
1. The best display in the market.
2. A very good camera.
3. Beautiful design.
4. Andorid ICS

Cons
1. 18 month old processor which when combined with Sony's custom UI makes for a horrible experience. You will need to root and install an AOSP build to bring it to usable.
2. Made of plastic... so build quality is not great.
3. Non-replaceable battery + no sd card slot...

posted on 01 Dec 2012, 02:31

26. spikie (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Dec 2012)


don't iphones have Non-replaceable battery + no sd card slot...

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:54

11. jan25 (Posts: 408; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


4.3, S3 chipset, abysmal viewing angles and still on ICS. 7 is about right. i don't know why would someone not consider the G Nexus or the HTC One S over this.

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 13:21 2

18. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


i dont know about the garbage nexus but maybe the one s for sure lolz

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 15:44 1

21. jan25 (Posts: 408; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


garbage Nexus? how deluded are you.

posted on 05 Oct 2012, 00:04 1

22. ilriz08 (Posts: 9; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


dude the only reason the nexus is more powerful in performance than the SL is because it offers updates straight from google. but the nexus has only 1 Ghz single-core processor

posted on 05 Oct 2012, 00:06 1

23. ilriz08 (Posts: 9; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


oops sorry wrong info it's dual 1.2 ghz as for sl's dual 1.7

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 07:46 15

3. brock8687 (Posts: 10; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


deserves a better rating thats for sure.... for what I have experienced, Sony phones are one of the most stable androids out there...... pity their marketing division sucks....

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 13:25 1

19. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


7.5 - 8 at the most i can understand this coming from PA....... i guess knowing that they are usually wayy off its "ok"...............long as they dont try and give the TX and V something like this im good

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 07:50 9

4. GUNDAM (Posts: 63; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


is it me or is PA kinda anti-sony??? :(

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 07:55 1

5. ryq24 (Posts: 509; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


another sony phone failing to pass the 4 stars mark.

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:09 6

7. camohan (Posts: 12; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


"In that sub-$450 price range you can't find many phones with the Xperia SL specs, so Sony is doing the right thing to attract customer attention towards what would otherwise be considered a lame upgrade." Than too just 7....not done!!!

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 13:28 2

20. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


dude i love sony but with 450 dollars you can get a One X, One S, an Evo 4g lte or if you're a tablet guy then you can get two nexuses with that kind of money............on ebay

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:16 2

8. kanagadeepan (Posts: 686; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Let us hope the upcoming Nexus from SONY will get more than four stars (out of five)... SONY please bring an android phone with Xenon flash... There is very less competition for great camera phones in whole of the Android world...

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:24 2

9. oktopod3 (Posts: 4; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


i like the XS very much, but this pink one makes me wanna puke.

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 08:54 2

12. ruchi (Posts: 8; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)


It is so much better than even galaxy s2. The display quality is amazing. It has 720p screen resolution. It's CPU is also faster than samsung galaxy s2. See the main three points here:
http://www.smartprix.com/mobiles/sony_xperia_sl_vs_samsung_galaxy_s2_i9100_s_ii-c2203_167.php

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 09:14 5

13. joaolx (Posts: 356; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Those negatives points make this phone a 7? What the hell?

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 09:36 7

14. javorr (Posts: 14; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)


Daniel hates sony , now I know it .

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 10:17 3

17. Zenith_95 (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)


Absolutely Agreed, and his Accent seriously P*ssed me off, seriously please, Change a reviewer like John V or someone else

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 09:38

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Why is Sony making all it's Xperia phones look so much alike?
People are going to have a hard time figuring out which is which! Agree that it's a beautiful line, but still it don't feel so right.

posted on 03 Oct 2012, 09:59 7

16. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Do these "star" ratings really matter when the "bias" is so evident ?

posted on 08 Oct 2012, 09:53

24. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)


that thing looks horrible in pink.

posted on 11 Oct 2012, 18:06

25. jenna_23 (Posts: 145; Member since: 02 Apr 2010)


I just ordered mine black of course no pink for this girl lol ;)

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 07:06

27. X-Box (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Jan 2013)


Xperia SL, ION, or acro S ??

posted on 16 Feb 2013, 16:55

28. umarfarooqkhan (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Feb 2013)


Just bought SL and I MUST SAY .... AWESOME CELL PHONE.

PROS
1. Outstandingly attractive , I hear ppl saying check out the cell it so expensive you know
2. Super camera , but you need to know how to use the features apart from selecting the AUTO scene , if you can set your own req by changing the snap feature it can give you more then excellent results.
3. SOLID body
4. 32 GB is more then ENOUGH , so stop winning if it does not have an external SD card, i mean who needs more then THAT..lol
5. Great hands free which lots of Manufacturers like SAMSUNG Iphone SUCK at , come one you buy a 4-5 grand cell phone and you get those lame ass hands free ??
6. HD dsiplay
7. Perfect Video recording
8. Super Fast

Conns
1. Viewing angle is not that great
2. Battery not that good

One thing I love after buying a Sony is not everyone has it so you stand out in the crowd with your device and make other jealous, I dont know why ppl dont like the invisible strip, to me that was the main reason for buying SL, it makes it very Unique.

posted on 22 Feb 2013, 10:45

30. Blacklisted (unregistered)


hey :) can you answer my question ....can we change the color of the led lights in the transparent bars like the other xperia S , U

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 18:48

32. umarfarooqkhan (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Feb 2013)


Nopes I dont believe it can, Maybe if you install a custom ROM then it would be possible

posted on 22 Feb 2013, 10:41

29. Blacklisted (unregistered)


can we change the color of the led lights in the transparent bars like the other xperia S , U

posted on 26 Feb 2013, 06:02

31. Andrew26 (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)


what phone is bettr lg optimus 4x hd or sony xperia sl? and why?

posted on 29 Mar 2013, 03:01

33. rmarchon09 (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


I am confused about which phone to buy,the xperia U or SL. I also wanted to know does the xperia SL have the illuminating lighting elements like the xperia U? Please reply soon.

posted on 17 May 2013, 04:15

34. seopenkey (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 May 2013)


Sony Xperia SL is awesome phone. I am using this phone. The 3 thaings I love about this phone is it's display, processor and camera quality. This phone has a superb dispaly of 720 x 1280 px. It's processor is dual core of 1.7 GHz along with 1GB RAM. There are dual camera facility in this phone. Rear camera is of 12 MP Pixels Camera (4000x3000 Pixels) with Auto Focus and LED Flash and there is anothor camera in front of 1.3 MP.

I bought this phone at Rs. 23,000, but now this is available at Rs. 20,000 only at 91mobiles.com.

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 00:17

35. Price-Hunt (Posts: 5; Member since: 23 Nov 2013)


i bought this phone 5 months ago(got a great value deal from Amazon from price-hunt.com) its an amazing phone but only drawback i that it gets hang when u open message apps as I tend to install lot of apps which require some RAM for them to run constantly in the background.

To all the people looking for a good phone can go for this.
Awesome Camera, not doubt
HD videos clarity is wonderful (bravia engine)
can play all the HD games
Supports maximum apps available in play store

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Sony Xperia SL

Sony Xperia SL

OS: Android 4.0.4
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (342 ppi) TFT
Camera12.1 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8260, Dual core, 1700 MHz, Scorpion processor
1024 MB RAM
Size5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 inches
(128 x 64 x 10.6 mm)
5.08 oz  (144 g)

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