Sony Ericsson Xperia active Review

Performance:
 
Our verdict of how the Sony Ericsson Xperia active performs is distinctly split. On the one hand you've got a decent 1GHz processor delivering solid overall speeds, especially considering this is a rugged phone. It tends to fly through most applications and with the revised UI designed for the smaller display delivers decent usability. Add to that pretty good signal strength and you'd think the Sony Ericsson Xperia active was a winner. Unfortunately, that's far from true. Extremely poor call quality tarnishes the handsets performance immensely with muffled audio from the in-call speaker being the norm. Any medium to heavy wind also makes conversation inaudible, a pretty huge oversight for a phone targeting the outdoors / active type. The final nail in the coffin comes in the form of a painfully low max volume that means anything below a clear bellow is a challenge to make out in less than ideal conditions.
 
The battery powering the Sony Ericsson Xperia active has a capacity of 1200mAh, and is rated at 4.5 hours of talk-time, and 14 days of stand-by, which is below average. We guess the small body of the phone didn't allow for a more powerful unit to be installed. That said, it should comfortably last a full day.

Conclusion:

We can’t help but like the Sony Ericsson Xperia active, given the multitude of accessories you get out of the box, not to mention the weatherproofing and pre-installed fitness apps. We even grew to like the protruding bottom as it houses the lanyard which we found ourselves using all the time. Unfortunately however, nothing saves the Xperia active’s call in-call speaker. It really is a shame and weighs heavily on our rating. If you intend to use a Bluetooth headset or the bundled headphones when making calls, you can buy the handset with confidence, if not however, bear in mind this is a great phone with a big niggle. If you like the small screen but don’t really need the weatherproofing, the obvious alternative would be the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini, however if you need a waterproof bit of kit, consider the Motorola Defy+ or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Xcover.

Pros

  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Range of accessories in the box
  • Pre-installed fitness apps

Cons

  • Very poor call quality
  • Low in-call volume
  • Camera low on detail

PhoneArena Rating:

6.5

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17 Comments

1. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

any chance of this being a faulty unit?

2. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

Unfortunately, not. We double checked it with a second unit.

3. ghost_uwi

Posts: 47; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

two faulty units :P

4. jacko unregistered

lmfao

5. balaklava

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Great review, the info about the poor call quality was very valuable. I found this blog xperia-active.com where they made an in-depth review about the pre-installed sports apps on the Xperia Active.

6. thouvou

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

I suppose you took a look at http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/support/mobilephones/troubleshooting/subject/poorsoundqualityduringacall/xperia-active?cc=il&lc=en it's hard to believe that mini has good call quality,since active is based on that. I was looking forward to buying active and got very dissapointed by the call quality results very good review though

7. Artur

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Hello Dear, I 've just read your review, and I can't believe, that you put many nice pic's of SE xperia active, and you saying in your review that the phone has "Surrounding the display panel is a silver plastic rim"......... I've got this phone yesterday after I gave back SE xperia mini. Xperia active has Metal rim....not plastic as you describe. Second, you say that xperia active have: " while above is a front facing camera," There is no front facing camera. After 1 year having HTC Desire I sold it out, because the battery life was tragic, and was to big phone for me. Than week ago I've got xperia mini, and I was surprise how good phone it is.Only I didn't like the physical "Home" bottom which had feeling like after some use will be tear off....and the screen texture was getting funny way very fast greasy dirty.I see on xperia active the sreen quality is much better. What I found about bouth phones....the back speaker, the sound is amazing...compare to HTC Desire (horrible). Enjoy your xperia active. I don't understand how we can trust your review if you don't see the things clearly....

8. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

Thanks for the feedback, we've edited the review with the correct information.

9. Artur

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Not for the sony ericsson xperia active.

10. Artur

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Now I see you have changed, corrected. Unbelievable... I compare your review of xperia active with xperia mini.....You just use the same sentences from review from xperia mini in review xperia active..... What a lazy job you do..... In my best respect

13. Farkad

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Hello, thanks for the the review, very well done. but I have a question: do you guys have any idea for the release date for North America? I've searched MANY web sites and SE website is not helping either! I've been anticipating this phone since its release to Europe, and my current phone is Killing me!! I'm just so tired of waiting that I might buy a different phone.....

15. Trixx

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I have been using my Sony ericsson active for a month now and i have to say I am very well pleased with the device. call quality is ok. battery is just ok the unit still steardy tough , especially when in water. the only small prob it has is when the phone gets wet , the speaker becomes muffled, I have to wait for it to dry befor ethe speaker comes back to its normal sound. but all in all I love my unit. one of the best around comapring to other new mobiles that are too fragile.

16. brix102778

Posts: 1; Member since: May 16, 2012

Trixx you are right... To see and to feel is to believe... I have my new Xperia active and I been using it for 3 days already... Pretty fast and has good sound quality... Not to mention the toughness of the material used on the casing... I am a Mechanical Engineer that's why I know how tough this is... The casing was made out of tough plastic material combined with a metal aluminum frame w/c is both strong and light weight... Also had good and outstanding camera capture quality, I already used the 3D panoramic feature and the outcome was superb... This is one of the SMART phones that I encountered in my entire life... Imagine you could take pictures underwater... Nice one, now I am not afraid of bringing with me my cell phone at the beach or boating "island hopping and even fishing... Nice one sony...

17. Dydia

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 18, 2012

HI. I have a big problem with front camera. Does this phone even have it? Because when I call from skype, there is showing just back camera. Help me

18. OlleProductions

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

Just wanted to let you know that I read this review two years ago and wen’t ahead and bought the phone. It has since been with me for many hours training and I find it a really good training companion. I event went ahead and made my own app for it that I recently published to Google Play. It is called Move Tracker. Thanks for the great review that made me start the fun hobby programming project building Move Tracker!

19. _5er_

Posts: 1; Member since: May 21, 2014

After 2 years of use: -Hand strap band broke off -Back cover headphone hinge broke off - white spare cover is slippery as hell - useless -Microphone became terrible after 1 year - people can't hear me -Cam became blurry, surface not scratched - impossible to scratch

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Xperia active
  • Display 3.0" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 0.32 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1200 mAh(5.50h 3G talk time)

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