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Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY 8.5

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We already reviewed the gamepad, and found it styled in the best PlayStation traditions, only redesigned to fit the phone's form factor, but what’s there to do with it? For starters, there is the PlayStation Pocket app, which is dedicated to the sentimental gamers out there, to offer such PS one classics like… Crash Bandicoot. Yes, that’s the only classic title preloaded on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, but we are sure more are to follow, since we asked Sony itself. The company told us we will soon have also Syphon Filter, MediEvil, Rally Cross, Cool Boarders 2, WildArms, Destruction Derby and Jumping Flash in Android Market, before the PlayStation Suite initiative launches later this year.

The PlayStation Pocket app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

The PlayStation Pocket app

Besides, we made a test downloading a bunch of emulators from Android Market for the old consoles  like Nintendo, PSX, Capcom's titles, and so on. All worked as they would on any fast Android phone, but since we have a physical gamepad here, we mapped the keys to it, and switched off the virtual gamepad overlays, which gave us the whole 4” screen to play Cadillacs&Dinosaurs, or any other classic. Thus we didn't worry we'll break the touchscreen with the constant enraged tapping, or we'll have to wipe it with a cloth each time we finished gaming. However, knowing Sony, it might address this loophole, since one of the PS one emulators was just pulled from Android Market.

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY emulator gaming:

The rest of the gaming action is happening within the confines of the Xperia Play app that fires up when you slide open the gamepad. It shows all the Xperia Play-friendly titles available, with a separate section for the ones you've already installed, and the ones that are still out there. The full list of titles is in the Get Games app, which lists such tailored Xperia Play games, regardless if the source is Android Market, or developers' own websites, like the Gameloft titles.

The Xperia Play app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The Xperia Play app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

The Xperia Play app

There are up to seven preinstalled titles coming with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play from the box, depending on the region, and we counted 30+ in the Get Games app list, so this brings us to about 40 titles we had at our disposal at launch. The prices hover around $4, and some of them are free.

Verizon's Xperia PLAY actually relies on the VCast store to supply you with those additional Xperia PLAY-optimized games. The good thing about it is that it uses carrier billing, so all purchases will go to your monthly bill, rather than your credit card.   

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY preloaded games test:

We had Bruce Lee, Star Batallion, FIFA 10 (which will most likely be Madden NFL 2011 in the US), Sims 3, Crash Bandicoot and... Tetris. As you can see, nothing really exclusive, but we are willing to give some time for the game store to mature.

Furthermore, when the PlayStation Suite initiative hits later this year, we should bring much more titles to choose from. It will be a platform initiative for downloadable PlayStation content to devices that meet the forthcoming PlayStation Certified requirements, like Sony's new NGP console, and our here own Xperia Play phone. We are currently probing Sony for the exact PlayStation Certified requirements. Sony hasn't explicitly said no other manufacturer will be able to make PS Certified gear, but we won't be surprised if it says so.

It is also worth mentioning that the Havok game physics engine, which is behind titles like Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, will be available for developers on the Xperia Play:

“As part of Havok’s overall support for the Android™ platform, we are very pleased to partner with Sony Ericsson to put the full power of the Havok product line into the hands of Xperia™ PLAY developers. We were extremely impressed by the performance of the Xperia™ PLAY and the ease with which we were able to port and optimise our technology to the platform. This will enable developers to use Havok technology to create cinematic, rich 3-D immersive games for Android™ smartphones with Xperia™ PLAY in the forefront.”, said the managing director at Havok.

We tried to test the multiplayer capabilities of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, but, naturally, we couldn't find anyone to join our games yet. You can still use your Gameloft ID, though, to play Star Batallion and the like on the developer's network, if there is a host to join. The handset also asks you if you want to stage a deathmatch over Wi-Fi, or on the Internet, so you can have some local fun with friends too. The FIFA 10 edition in particular, Sony told us, is “world-first multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile”, so there you have it. We wish we had one more review unit to kick off a fight in the office.

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posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:32 3

1. fatexo (Posts: 221; Member since: 21 May 2010)


posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:42 5

2. fatexo (Posts: 221; 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: 1734; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

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

posted on 01 Apr 2011, 12:23

8. Jyakotu (Posts: 852; 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
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.5 GB 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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