One of the Xperia SP features that Sony brags with the most is the 8-megapixel Exmor RS camera with auto-focus and LED flash. The benefits it brings include super-fast launch even from the lock screen and rapid burst shot capturing. Sure enough, our tests show that the smartphone indeed delivers what its maker promises in that respect.

As the case is with other recent Android smartphones by Sony, the camera launches in Superior Auto mode by default. That's a supposedly intelligent feature capable of detecting the scene type and adjusting the camera settings accordingly. Well, we can confirm that the mode works fine in most cases, but we didn't like its unpredictability. For example, HDR mode gets turned on without any warning, while sometimes, two consecutive photos of the exact same scene would have a totally different color temperature. Still, we find it suitable for casual photographers, while those who wish to have more control over the frame are free to switch to Normal mode, or use one of the numerous shooting scenes.

Photos taken with the Sony Xperia SP look nice in general, especially the close-ups. We'd classify them as ideal for sharing online and maybe even making small prints. However, don't expect any miracles out of the smartphone's 8-megapixel camera as we've dealt with much better 8-megapixel snappers in the past. The Xperia SP has a tendency of boosting the color intensity of the photos it captures, which might actually be pretty cool for some scenes, but may ruin others. Capturing fine details is also an issue as they are usually blurred by the software's noise suppression algorithms. Indoor photos are much noisier and don't look particularly pleasant. 1080p video captured using the main camera is of average quality at best, but at least it runs smoothly at 30 frames per second.

Sony Xperia SP Sample Video:


We've said it before and we'll say it again: The Walkman music player found on Sony's Android smartphones is pretty awesome. Not only does it look great, but it has a broad arsenal of useful features, such as its lock screen controls and home screen widget. In case your audio collection isn't too organized, the app will automatically download any missing album art. On top of all that, you get an equalizer, bass booster, and other sound-enhancing tweaks. The built-in speaker is loud and doesn't crackle even at maximum volume.

If you're among the people who watch a lot of video on their smartphone, then chances are you'll be pleased with the Sony Xperia SP and its video player. The best thing about it is that it handles any popular video file format, including DivX and MKV. The built-in Mobile BRAVIA 2 engine provides a contrast boost, so watching videos on the handset's large screen is even more enjoyable.



1. flexile

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 03, 2012

It was a good review, but, 8/10? ... .__. I really like this phone, my next phone will either be this, or the Xperia ZL.

3. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Check out the ZR. It's a higher end version of the SP. Same 4.6" screen but iwht a quad core processor, 2GB of ram, 13mp camera and water/dust resistance.

6. flexile

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 03, 2012

I didn't know about that one, I will have to check it when it's announced. I just hope it is a compact phone, since that's why the ZL seems so appealing to me. I really like the SP since it keeps the transparent bar from my previous Xperia P.

17. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'm not sold on the light bar as it seems to add a bit of size. It looks great though. I'm hoping the image on that page is what the ZR looks like after all. Would love the compact size and upgrade it specs.

42. saket.shrivastava

Posts: 55; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

+1 and why is there a removable back if battery is not accesible????? why not just put a flap like one s/x/v

15. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

The ZR does look nice with the screen taking the overall front space, but i don't think it'll come cheap. This here, the SP, i'm falling in love...i'm really interested with this one. The pros out-weigh the cons. Agreed that the camera isn't the best out there but it gets the job done...for the blurred, over-saturated, washed etc pictures, i have photoshop, so no worries. Besides that, i'm all for this phone...the screen size is just perfect for me.

61. ported

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 23, 2015

this phone is complete garbage. The wifi signal drops constantly even when within 5 feet of the wifi router. I would rather cut my own throat than own another of these POS's. Free would be thousands too expensive.

2. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

would love to get the xperia l,ain't got no money right now. xperia sp is an awesome phone,really like sony's designs

4. istitch

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

lumia 720 got 9, and xperia sp gets 8? well done, PA, well done!

5. flexile

Posts: 78; Member since: Jun 03, 2012

Pretty much this.

7. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

It's PA and im not even surprised lol

16. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

they need to push WP sales...

23. rgxVOiD

Posts: 440; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

they can do that by having more apps -Lumia 820 user

25. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

They just hate Sony with a passion.

27. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

your post will be deleted soon. LOL

31. Dimitru

Posts: 40; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

even the Xperia ZL also only got 8 -____- that one thumb down is PA !! he doesnt like ur comment haha

8. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Mid range smartphone from Sony with the Quality and performance of High end devices. But Sony still have the same problem with Camera, just hope Sony can fix that problem soon...

9. CaptainXperia

Posts: 15; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

why phonearena why ????....y do u become a miser when rating SONY phones???? just wanna ask for the last time... and i know how u'll respond...."is it intentional" ???

13. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

How is giving this phone an 8 miserly? This phone is sporting specs and performance of a late-2012 flagship that would've received ~8.5. It's the middle of 2013, of course the score is going to drop a bit.

20. Xenaz

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 28, 2013

Go check on the Xperia ZL review by the same reviewer Nick.T..... It come out with a joke cons for me.

30. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Yeah I read that review, and both the pros and the cons are jokes.

21. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012


24. rgxVOiD

Posts: 440; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

Someone doesn't know "optimization"

29. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Someone's posting really vague comments.

10. imparanoic

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

and an expensive ( literally same guts as s advance ) s3 mini gets 8.9, talk about super bias

11. lovefist unregistered

c'mon PA! 2 points off just for the camera? the pros outweigh the cons, man.

12. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

And the numbers reflect this. If a 5 is average, then an 8 reflects a phone that is far more pro than con.

53. Sammy141

Posts: 5; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

compared to other high end devices,maybe.But compared to other mid-range devices,this whitewashes them so i think it at least deserves a 8.5 or 9

14. spiderpig2894

Posts: 597; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

I love the way the SP produces punchy colors but sometimes there are oversaturated ones. Image detail is only visible at zooming a photo but not a big deal. I guess this phone should have at least gets an 8.5-9.

18. Rajan_sharma

Posts: 1; Member since: May 01, 2013

Phonearena is really a good blog on gadgets.......
Xperia SP
  • Display 4.6" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 2370 mAh(13.23h 3G talk time)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.