Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review15
While using Verizon's Xperia PLAY to place and receive voice calls, we were treated to a somewhat average experience. Thankfully, on our end voices were adequately loud, though not crystal clear, so we had no trouble comprehending. Our callers didn't have the same luck though, since they were subjected to lots crackling noises coming from our mic.
The CDMA version of the handset is specifically rated at 7.66 hours of talk-time and about 17 days of stand-by - a standard performance - comparable to what you'll get from the majority of similarly spec'd Android phones out there.
GSM Xperia PLAY:
Voice quality from the earpiece of the GSM Xperia Play is very clear and distinct, and the volume is plenty. On the other side our friends also had no problem to hear natural-sounding voices, thanks to the dual-microphone setup for noise cancellation.
The 1500mAh battery is rated by the manufacturer at 6.25 hours talk time in 3G mode, which, of course, can be extended to more than eight hours, if you turn off the 3G radio. We know you are most interested in battery life during gameplay, and Sony Ericsson promised 5.5 hours of uninterrupted fun.
From our time spent gaming on the device we have to say the company is mostly right about it, the battery didn’t drain for 2-3 hours, as we expected, but on the simpler titles. With more sophisticated 3D titles the toll on the battery life is significant. In the end it’s still an Android smartphone that has to be charged daily, don’t even doubt it.
In the end, we have to give Sony Ericsson Xperia Play the benefit of the doubt. Many of us expected it will feature a multicore chipset with scorching GPU to take our mind away, but Sony seems to have reserved that for the PSP2, dubbed Next Generation Portable. It also shies away from a unorthodox exterior, in order to keep in line with Sony Ericsson’s Xperia line fresh looks, curves and materials.
Yet there is something about it for being the first dedicated handset for Android gaming that makes us dismiss the notion that Sony is just milking the PlayStation mojo with the Xperia Play. We came to the conclusion that it is a very capable first effort for a game-centric Android device, the green robot’s first “console”.
The game development for it is still in its nascence, and there aren’t titles that you won’t meet elsewhere, but we will give the platform some time to mature. After all, we have a smartphone with a dedicated gamepad at our disposal to kill time now, and the titles’ are to be priced $2-$16, depending on how complex the game is, which is pretty decent – none of the current available titles is more than $4. Thus the games for the Xperia Play cost about the same as some of the more popular titles in the App Store or Android Market, and the market will ultimately be the judge for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play's success. For each average gamer, though, sliding open the screen part of their smartphone to reveal a familiar PlayStation controller can prove an irresistible temptation, since it is something we admittedly wished for since the dawn of mobile gaming.
Oh, and let’s not kid ourselves that the Game Gripper, or any other similar aftermarket accessory offers the same experience as the controller on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, because what we have here is way better. Once titles that get a good use of this gamepad start sprouting like alfalfa in the dedicated Xperia Play app, or in the upcoming PlayStation Suite store, the phone will be an even more compelling gaming device. Not to mention the barrage of games combined neatly into emulator packages on Android Market, which can easily be mapped to the buttons on the Xperia Play, as well as the rumors for Valve's Steam gaming network looking to appear on Android.
What can we say, the chubby green robot just grew opposing thumbs, as there aren’t any smartphone alternatives with a dedicated gamepad now, although we shouldn’t be forgetting Nokia’s efforts with the N-Gage line once upon a time. What we think Sony is trying to do here is to create a PlayStation Certified mobile gaming platform, which will be accessible from future phones, portable consoles, and maybe even its tablets, in order for the company to have a chance against Apple in mobile gaming. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a bit rough around the edges, as all first efforts are, but it might very well be a harbinger of things to come, and it’s good to have a front seat for some fun in the meantime.
Software version of the review unit: Android 2.3; 3.0.A.2.184
Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Video Review: