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Sony Xperia S Review

Sony Xperia S

Posted: , by Daniel P.



Call quality with the Xperia S is very good, with loud and clear voices in the earpiece on our end, while the other side said we sounded very clean, with strong volume, and the noise-canceling mics managed to weed out the ambient sounds while we were talking.

The loudspeaker is very strong, as we mentioned, meaning that it will be unlikely you’ll miss a call. As long as the sound is turned on.

Sony Xperia S Review
 Another feature in the Sony Xperia S is the improved lithium-polymer technology that allows the device to charge in half the time of a regular battery. Just 10 minutes of charging time will get the Xperia S up and running for 1 hour. Even when we just plugged it in our wimpy computer USB port, the battery went from 65% to 90% in about half an hour.

The 1750mAh battery is rated for the commendable 8 hours and 30 minutes talk time and 25 hours of music playback. Standby is also very good, but if the screen is on a lot, the phone drains the battery like a typical Android high-end for a day, day and a half, depending how you stress it.

We looped an HD clip at ⅔ brightness and the phone’s battery went from hero to zero 10 minutes before it reached the 5-hour playback mark with Wi-Fi off, but connected to the HSPA+ network. If we had placed the brightness on 50%, the Xperia S would probably hit the six hours and thirty minutes video playback threshold it quotes for itself, which is about the norm for most high-ends.


What can we say in the end, but to acknowledge that Sony has hit the nail on the head with the Xperia S. From the characteristic design decisions, like a transparent illuminated strip, through an amazing HD display, to the ultra-fast camera, the first Sony-only handset is a delight.

Given the above advantages, beefs that we’d consider a nuisance in other handsets, like the fussy capacitive buttons or the sealed battery, here seem minor. You can tap the capacitive key one more time if you can’t dot the i the first time, and the battery holds well, so no need to swap often, but you can’t get such a fast and capable camera or a display as detailed in most other phones.

Actually, only the iPhone 4S can measure up to the camera speed and no-hassle great results of the 12MP Exmor R sensor in the Xperia S, but Sony’s phone offers that sweet Quick Launch camera mode. Apple’s Retina Display also has pixel density close to the one on the Xperia S, but the 4.3-incher dwarfs it and would be preferable for Android’s big screen lovers; or not so, if you have smaller hands, or if you prefer the App Store.

On the Android front, you can check out the LG Nitro HD/LG Optimus LTE, which also has a great HD display and 8MP camera, or the HTC Rezound with Beats Audio. The Galaxy S II with its Super AMOLED display has a slower to react camera, but its night shots actually measured the light better than Sony's phone. And, of course, now we have HTC's One X with sub-second camera shenanigans, thanks to ICS and the HTC ImageChip, whose camera. however, has some kinks to be ironed in comparison.

We only wish the Xperia S shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, otherwise it proves that you can come late to the multicore party, and still be more capable than most.

Software version of the reviewed unit: 6.0.A.1.249

Sony Xperia S Video Review:


  • Very good photo and video quality
  • One second from sleep to snap
  • Quality HD display with ultra-high pixel density
  • Distinguished design with a transparent illuminated strip
  • Hearty 32GB of internal storage
  • Strong loudspeaker with clean sound
  • Good call quality
  • Rapid battery charging


  • The capacitive button dots are hard to spot and not very responsive
  • Sealed battery compartment
  • No memory expansion slot
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posted on 02 Mar 2012, 09:39 12

1. buggerrer (Posts: 306; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

nice phone, for 2011 !

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 09:47 13

2. Mozarrt (Posts: 301; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)

Could you at least tell us why you think its a phone for 2011.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 10:25 10

7. leftheodo (Posts: 106; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

- Android 2.3 not ICS
-2011 CPU ( Snapdragon S3 not S4 )
-2011 GPU (Adreno 220)

The 2012 phones will be out in april ( One X, Optimus 4x, possibly GS3 as the korean ZDnet mentioned today)
Xperia S is a nice looking phone but Sony is to late!

posted on 07 Mar 2012, 09:16 2

54. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

There must be a lot of Sony fanboys out there voting you down, because everything you said makes perfect sense, especially the point about its S3 processor. What differentiates this from, say, an HTC Rezound?

posted on 02 Nov 2012, 13:50 4

94. SalmanAhmad (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

ICS upgrade is now available and the phone will get Jellybean soon hopefully.

2011 CPU Snapdragon S3? I have the phone and it barely lags and it is extremely responsive.

Adreno 220 and 225 isn't that much of a difference.

The phone has amazing PPI, great graphics, fast processor 1GB of RAM and is made out of durable materials.

Last but not least it's much less expensive than all phones of 2012(One X, Optimus 4x, GS3.)

It also features an amazing camera, how I know all this? I bought the phone about a month ago.

posted on 05 Nov 2012, 08:40 1

96. nsnk86 (Posts: 43; Member since: 18 Jun 2012)

i totally agree with you Salman!! am using this phone for more than 4months......

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 11:47 5

12. metoyou (Posts: 279; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Sony always late in smart phone, they now release this phone in 2012 and will release quad-cores in 2013..hm...
But I do like this phone design but not gonna get it IF it has S4 in it then it's another story. btw. reviewer is correct the capacitive buttons arent really repsonsive (friend have this fone)

posted on 02 Nov 2012, 13:56 2

95. SalmanAhmad (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

The buttons are a bit unresponsive at first but once you get the hang of it they aren't really a problem.

If you can't find the appropriate place of the buttons, slowly swipe upwards with your finger on the buttons and you will eventually find their places and it won't be a problem any longer.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 18:30 16

23. darknight307rc (Posts: 7; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)

and what are u guys "Quadcore lovers" gonna do with a quadcore "cellphone"? work with "Auto CAD" or "Adobe photoshop" on ur cell phone??? what do u really use ur phone for other than..calling of course..surfing the net..music..photo or video shooting..check ur mail...gaming & stay connected to facebook or twitter. all that can be simply done by only a single core & 512MB RAM...even Android itself as an OS it doesn't need more than this to operate fast. and here is a phone with dual-core & 1GB RAM which will make any app goes very fast plus a 12 MP cam captures photos from sleep mode to shooting in less than 1.5 secs which makes it the fastest phone in market. it's just not about putting in a phone the latest tech or specs. if u really need the quadcore or the 3 or 5 GB RAM in ur phone for ur daily life tasks...wait for the GSIII or HTC one X. but with all respect the Xperia S is not an old one..it's fits all the needs & even more for a Smartphone in 2012

posted on 19 Aug 2012, 04:47

91. radreadiano (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Aug 2012)

u did good!!! i absolut love this phone

posted on 18 Oct 2012, 09:51

93. nsnk86 (Posts: 43; Member since: 18 Jun 2012)

i totally agree with you darknight307rc.... if u guys wanna spend all d cash for a quadcore phone with like 2gb ram, instead you can get an ultrabook or a gud laptop coz it wil hv bigger display & using all these latest specs in a laptop will prove much useful....

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 20:13

92. lintek (Posts: 8; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


posted on 02 Mar 2012, 09:48 10

3. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

so let me get this straight, every other phone that launches with 2.3 gets a con and points taken off but this one doesn't? Hypocritical if you ask me

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 10:23 13

30. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)

Perhaps because Sony's version of Gingerbread allows much more customization than the normal GB.

Or maybe because this deice will be upgraded to ICS before other devices hit the shelf.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 09:49 10

4. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Get yourself a galaxy s 2 or a note

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 09:52 21

5. Mozarrt (Posts: 301; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)

Why get an ugly platic slab if you can have this. Only the Nokia 800/N9 rivals this handset in looks.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 10:13 4

6. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

i personally think it looks like a decent phone and great scores for the processor its using mostly because crapdragons are horrible

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 15:38 10

18. Chronos (Posts: 258; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)

Only because that "ugly plastic slab" looks better than the Sony Xperia S.

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 08:09

28. ivanprskalo (Posts: 123; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)

It is not. These matters are personal oppinion and please keep your to youself, or else... :-)

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 10:44

8. Giggity (Posts: 147; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

Is the S also sports the aluminum body like the P?

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 02:51 3

26. r41nier (Posts: 70; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

no, it's just plastic but it does have an anti-stain UV nano coating

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 12:56

32. CivicSi89 (Posts: 349; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

Anti Stain... Giggety

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 10:49 4

9. robocopvn (Posts: 448; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)

Need to mention that Sony Xperia S and brothers still you S3 snapdragon, which is outdated comparing to S4 used in many phones and tablet

Sony seems to be so slow on upgrading their hardwares ! But I love their designs

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 22:39 3

40. bayusuputra (Posts: 963; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

but it is better in most benchmarks than the S2.. i think it's not whether it is outdated, but whether Sony could optimised it in this handset, which i believe they did..

posted on 06 Mar 2012, 08:38 1

52. robocopvn (Posts: 448; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)

Qualcomm SOC always get better points in benchmarks apps. But in games and real apps, their GPU is worse than PowerVR :D

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 11:43 10

11. Aaron_R96 (unregistered)

Firstly, I disagree that its a 2011 phone, sure it has many of the same specs of the galaxy s2 and the likes, but has a better screen and camera by far, also those moaning it has no quad core processor, I dont see why it would need one, particularly ifit runs so well on dual core, just because the technology is available, doesnt mesn it needs to be used, it wont make anawful lot of difference to theaverage phone user anyway, plus it looks on of the best devices recently released, the one x looks like your typical htc device anyway, lacks creativity, tbh, id much rather show this off. Sorry.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 16:15 5

20. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

have the s2 and agree that quad is not necessary but the should have atleast used the new s4 dual core instead of last years s3. love the design of this but hate the fact that the capacitive buttons seem unresponsive,hopefully can be fixed via software and oh the charging speed of this phone looks awesome,the s2 takes forever to charge and is the only negative of the s2. cant wait to have a play round with the s,brithers already ordered it but for me i am waiting for the s3.

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 16:25 2

22. Aaron_R96 (unregistered)

Yes they should've done I do agree with that point, just see quad core as a tad unnecerssary for the casual user, but S4 would have been preffered and yes, it is also a shame about the capacitive buttons too, but currently deciding between this and the Xperia P, so looks like that'll be an issue for me either way!

posted on 05 May 2012, 08:59

78. itiswhatitis (Posts: 423; Member since: 23 Jan 2012)

believe me i've tried it at the store the capacitive buttons are no way unresponsive its just the review opinion, i mean i dont even need to try its like everything else!

posted on 02 Mar 2012, 14:08 4

13. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

If this would have come out in Nov of last year I would have been all over it :(

Love the design
Love the camera quality and functions
Love Sony.

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Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S

OS: Android 4.1 4.0.4 2.3.7 2.3.5
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.3 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (342 ppi) TFT
Camera12.1 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
Size5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 inches
(128 x 64 x 10.6 mm)
5.08 oz  (144 g)
Battery1750 mAh, 7.5 hours talk time

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