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Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S

Posted: , posted by Daniel P.

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Camera:

The 8MP camera on the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc is with the  Exmor R sensor we wrote about. It is back-illuminated, like the one on the iPhone 4(S). This feature, combined with a novel arrangement of the photo diodes, tailored to the fine pixel structure, should bring high sensitivity and less noise in low-light situations on paper. However, its 1/3.2" size is a far cry from the 1/1.83” behemoth on the Nokia N8, for example.

The pictures, while with revved contrast and saturation, are nothing exceptional.

The photos came out sharp enough, color representation is accurate, detail is plenty in daylight, but there is overzealous noise suppression, which smears the details when light is scarce. Otherwise the low-light snaps came out above average, probably thanks to the back-illuminated sensor. The LED flash is no Xenon, but does the job fine up to about ten feet, without casting weird shadows on the objects.

Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Panorama inage - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Strong - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Medium - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Low light - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Darkness - Indoor samples - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

Strong

Medium

Low light

Darkness


The light also does a good job illuminating night video, especially in Night Scene mode. Video is fairly smooth at 30 fps, and the same good looking colors and fine detail are observed as in the stills, but we wish that the 720p videos were sharper.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Sample Video:



Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Indoor Sample Video:




The camera interface is unobtrusive, but touch-friendly, with big enough buttons for finger operation. There are six focusing modes – single autofocus, multi autofocus, macro, face detection, infinity and touch focus. Center, spot and average metering modes are covered as well, and for manual white balance setup incandescent, fluorescent, daylight and cloudy options are available.

There are also an image stabilizer mode and four flash modes – auto, fill flash, no flash, and red eye reduction. The extensive capabilities of the 8MP shooter are rounded up with a bunch of scene modes such as Landscape, Portrait, Night Portrait, Sports, Beach and Snow, Night Scene, Party and Document. The smile detection algorithm can even be set to track a faint or a big smile.

Obviously a lot of Sony’s Cybershot expertise has gone into the camera interface, but a notable exception is the lack of any effects. No Negative or Sepia, nothing, which is puzzling, considering the wide range of other capabilities. There is a vertical strip with the latest pictures and videos captured on the right, and you can pull it left to reveal the rest in thumbnail view, which resembles the concept in Windows Phones.

Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

And now we come to the new additions to the camera capabilities of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S, compared to the Xperia arc – Sweep Panorama and “3D” Sweep Panorama pictures. In essence, you set the direction in which the phone will be going – left, right, up or down – and slowly rotate it 180 degrees from your starting point until a panoramic image is stitched together.

The 3D Sweep Panorama option applies some preset algorithm shenanigans to the resulting picture, which makes your Panorama appear three-dimensional when shown on a 3D HDTV, which, frankly, sounds like too much hassle. The process is meant for tripods, since you have to hold the phone very steady, and rotate with preset speed from one end to another, and even then some grey areas might appear at the end of the panoramic view. The 3D Camera app takes you directly to the 3D Sweep Panorama option in the camera interface for quick access.

Sweep panorama Demonstration:




Multimedia:

The music player is the same as in the other iterations of this UI, with flashy, but minimalistic interface, ten equalizers, the song recognition service Track ID, and the option to show related YouTube videos or lyrics. There is no Dolby Mobile or SRS surround sound in headset mode, but we have to tell you the loudspeaker is outstanding - strong, with real bass and very clean and pure output, even at the highest volume. The last time we heard such a speaker was in the Sony Ericsson Xperia mini, and it is great that Sony has managed to fit the same thing in the slim body of the Xperia arc S.

Music player - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Music player - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Music player - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Music player - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

The video player and the gallery are of the stock Android flavor, and the handset doesn’t support DivX/Xvid, so we had to download a free player from Android Market to watch our ripped TV shows with subtitles in up to 720p resolution. The Mobile BRAVIA Engine can be turned on and off manually from the Display settings, but we can’t imagine a reason for it to be off, as it adds color and sharpness to the pictures and videos on the handset.

Gallery - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review
Gallery - Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review


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PhoneArena rating:
8Good
Display4.2 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (233 ppi) TFT
Camera8.1 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1400 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.5 GB 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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