Performance:

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.

 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.

Conclusion:

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:


Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • The capacitive button dots are hard to spot and not very responsive
  • Sealed battery compartment
  • No memory expansion slot

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

User Rating:

9.5
42 Reviews

FEATURED VIDEO

96 Comments

90. nex0n111

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

How much money is xperia s

84. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

I finally got my Sony xperia s which I bought from amazon uk. I had it for a week now and it's PERFECT! The best smart phone in the market. I have never been disappointed with its features. even negative reviews about it won't affect me coz what this phone offers are really amazing. Screen is incomparably clearer than iPhones or other android devices. Camera captures really fast and the video is awesome. Battery life is just the same with other androids and iPhones, so you don't have to worry about it. I will never trade this phone with other brand in the market. ;-)

82. Lucstax_28

Posts: 4; Member since: May 05, 2012

will get mine in italy

81. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

I will have my Sony Xperia S next week from amazon. I read from one of the blogs that Sony Xperia S Getting ICS Update Late May / Early June. I want to know if it is easy to upgrade it to ICS? I mean the procedure when you upgrade the phone to it's latest android version. thanks!

83. mobileuser

Posts: 66; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

It is not difficult to upgrade to ICS. You will need to install the softwware called Sony PC companion. It will start install as soon as you plug your phoen into your PC. Once the Sony PC companion software is installed, you can than upgrade to ICS by connecting your phone to your PC with the sony PC companion software running. I believe that Sony may not allow you to upgrade ICS OTA, so yo have to up us PC to update.

85. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

Hi mate! Is the ICS already available? I have not connected my phone to the computer since I had it last week.

86. Aaron_R96 unregistered

Sony is doing the OTA update too, but make sure youre on wifi as is faster and conserves your contract/payg data, when your model is ready for the update you'll get a notification saying software update available, or you can go to settings > software update to check, alternatively PC companion will do it if you wish to plug it in, however id recommend OTA as PC companion is very hit and miss it would seem :/ hope this helps

87. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

Hi aaron, thanks for that info. I had tried to upgrade it last night using PC companion it took a while to finished the process. It says the update was successful. But when I start to turn on my phone nothing has changed. I checked the the SETTINGS - ABOUT PHONE and the android version is still 2.3.7. What am I gonna do now? I bought my phone from amazon.uk. I updated it even without the notification saying software update available. I also checked software update on its settings it all says has the latest updates.a

88. Aaron_R96 unregistered

Hey Gary, what youve done there is update the firmware version (this update was released a couple of weeks ago, you will see that your firmware version now ends in .75 or .76 - this is nothing to worry about) Basically ICS for your Xperia S hasnt been launched yet - neither has mine, only some Xperia S devices have it so far, others will get it over the next couple of weeks, so yeah, that will also be why you didnt get the notification. p.s. the firmware upgrade (.75/.76) made the capacitive buttons more responsive, and fixed some bugs, thats all.. ICS will come :)

89. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

I see! thanks aaron!

80. Lucstax_28

Posts: 4; Member since: May 05, 2012

I like all the pros about this phone ,including the 12 megapixel camera, 1080p video recording ,720p screen ,32gb internal storage ,luminous strip at the bottom , 1.3 megapixel front facing camera with 720p video recording. i love this PhOnE . . .

77. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Must See This .. Regarding issues, it has been solved in upcoming phones like in India u wont get this prob bcoz this problem was sort out way b4 launch in INDIA(10th april).. Means u wont get problem in any upcoming XS anywhere. Advantages .. Music n its interface Best Screen Till date Futuristic Design Quality TV Launcher Resolution with High PPI(342) Camera NFC Fast Speed 50 gb cloud storage(dont know about life time) Anti Stain Coating Fast Charging capability Disadvantages .... -Micro SIM -Dosnt supports divx Formats(Runs limited video formats) -Automatic Ambient light sensor control -Battery Life(Same story for all android phones) -Photo compression -No Card slot -Poor viewing angel but better than old SE phones -Old Bluetooth(2.1)(even nokia 4k phones have 2.1 version) -U cannot transfer more than 4gb in drive bcoz it FAT32 (u can check regarding this in xda developers forum) -U cannot take out Battery(If it gets prob u have to give phone instead of battery which is not a good sign) If u need somefeatures which are its disadvantage better wait upcoming phones like SGS 3 etc.

76. tontoo

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

It could have been perfect if it was aluminium uni-body and with an extendible memory,..but none of the above!

79. mobileuser

Posts: 66; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

I think that Non removable battery is becoming a trend very soon for the smart phone industry. Most major smart phone manufacturer like Apple, Motorola, Nokia, HTC and even Sony have all produced their new phone with non removable battery. I am sure LG will follow suit very soon, leaving only Samsung being properly te honly one major manufacturer still stick to removable battery. So I can see that having a battery concealed is not a major issue anymore as long as teh battery techniology gets improved with the capacity increased.

75. Aaron_R96 unregistered

I suppose its mainly personal preferance, personally, id never touch a samsung with a bargepole cause I just don't like them, the design and screen of this phone far outweigh anything that samsung currently has to offer and dare I say it, maybe even the S3, The capacitive buttons you get used to over time and are now second nature and very responsive for me, and the power lock button seems fine to me (even with headphones in) and my device doesn't have the creaks that ive heard others like yourself report either? oh, and it has probably one of the best cameras on the current market.. so overall i'm pretty happy with this device for my needs anyway, most of those problems aren't hugely important/on all devices, but yes, i do agree that it may not be perfect, but what phone is? personal preferance id say :)

74. Mike54

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

Why all this excitement? I understand it has a great display, it's fast and nice. But the body design has many flaws: 1) nasty plastic, no solid feeling, squeaks and cracks - I hate that, wish for aluminum unibody... 2) fixed battery and useless plastic cover that wobbles 3) misplaced power/lock button 4) mini-jack too close to power button 5) volume and camera buttons too small - need to operate with finger nail 6) capacitive buttons hard to operate and not lit together with the screen - what for do I need illumination AFTER pressing the wrong button in the dark? 7) no gorilla glass or similar - instead 'protective' layer that has sharp edges and can be scratched easily (!!!). My cheap old Samsung Wave had better 'glass' on it! Wouldn't you agree? :) I will definitely sell it once Galaxy SIII is out!

73. Aaron_R96 unregistered

It battery life on normal usage for me (texting, browsing the internet, downloading apps and about 2 hours of music a day) is about 16h at half display brightness (display uses most battery, turn this down!) however, with lower use and turning it off overnight i have managed 2 whole days with it (26h) so yeah, this is above average for an android phone i would say, charge it every night or every two nights and you're fine!

71. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

I have read all the features of Sony xperia S and i find it the best phone for me. I opt to but this phone soon. can anybody tell about its battery? I have read in some blogs and reviews about xperia s that the battery wont last long. how often do you charge the phone for those who already have it? hope to hear from you soon.. thanks!

68. karanveersingh1788

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

so u mean its a great buy....... and there no problem regarding the functioning of the phone.. well i m thinking of buying this phone so i wanted to do abit research on it so do u suggest that i can buy this phone wiyhout any worries... and i like gaming alot and this is a playstation certified phone... u might have seen the features so hw r the games and every other feature in this phone at last the most important question should i buy it or there it a better option than this phone............... plzz let me know Aaron

69. RamyRamz69

Posts: 390; Member since: Dec 12, 2011

I got this phone 2 weeks ago, everything about it is perfect. There isn't a single let down about it. Every function works properly as advertised, I had no doubt at buying anything Sony has made until now and the same thing goes for this phone. Games are...like the PS1(Apart from Google Play), same experience. A cool thing you can do is also connect your PS3 controller to the phone. In my honest opinion, there is no phone right now better than the Xperia S.

70. Aaron_R96 unregistered

In my opinion, it is a great buy yes, I would definately recommend this phone, gaming wise it is a very solid device, as you said playstation certified, you have to buy the games which in the UK are £3.99 each, Android games also run very smoothly and the HD screen does really help the gaming experience, albeit having a slighteffect on battery life, however it is easily capable of a day, and mine is on 21% at the moment having gone 21 hours (turned off over night) at the moment this is definately the best option phone-wise, unless your prepared to wait an extra 4ish months for a galaxy s3 at another £100-200 dearer and not much more other than a predicted but in my opinion unnecessary quadcore processor. Hope this helps, feel free to ask more and check out my user review of the xperia s on phonearena :)

72. garyboy

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

for a normal use Aron_R96, how long xperia s last?

66. karanveersingh1788

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

is there any thing wrong with this phone..... i mean in its working or any draw backs that this phone has .. i have heard that there have been few problems with this phone in U.K...... Plzz reply

67. Aaron_R96 unregistered

Not particularly, if you look at my user review I go into some detail over the phone and how well its performing at the moment, my only two drawbacks would be the 2 day max. battery life (which is still respectable for an android phone, especially with the quality of the display like this) and the charging ports being covered by a flap which is a bit of nuisance, and tight at first, but does loosen up after some use and keeps the phone looking quite slick as well, but cant say as ive had any problems with it as of yet (i'm in the UK)

64. wendygarett unregistered

agree!!! dont judge the phone by just looking at the spec... judge it by feeling it...

62. darknight307rc

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Hands on (quick) review: this phone is the best android phone i've ever put my hands on...i've put my hands on the GSII & the Note which almost everyone is comparing with...Actually Xperia S is so fast...highly responsive with a magnificent display & astonishing 12MP cam. its connectivity whether Wifi or bluetooth or internet data is very powerful & of high speed for push e-mails & social networks the cam is one of a kind...not like any other 12 MP cam..it's quite sharp & so fast. the UI buttons up the transparent bar are very responsive & for me i got used to it very fast. media browsing, sharing or organizing have never been better. connecting ur phone to media go or to picasa or to facebook or to ur pc companion all are easy & so simple. this phone adds a lot to the world of smart phones

63. nikhil.agrawal88

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

totally agree with you..much much faster than galaxy s II..though i'd like to add couple of negative points..the sound on earphones is not really very loud..could be beacuse of the earphones supplied by sony are not really great and i dont know why my bose MIE2i earphones are not working with it..and the 12 mp cam is great for day shots but night shots are s**t mainly bcoz of single led flash..sony should have gone for atleast dual led flash if not xenon..apart from these two glitches i found the phone really great..amazingly responsive and fast..display is no doubt the best..

61. nikhil.agrawal88

Posts: 18; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

got my xperia s today..ordered here in uk from phones 4 u..seriously amazing phone..screen is absolute delight..the best screen i've ever seen in a mobile phone..its really smooth as well..

60. Shubham412302

Posts: 595; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

but when is it shipping

56. mikejaxer

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

I still can't decide between iPhone 4S and Xperia S, even after doing a week of research I haven't come to a conclusion.

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

Xperia S
  • Display 4.3 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 12.1 MP (Single camera)
    1.3 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB,
  • Battery 1750 mAh
  • OS Android 4.1

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