Sony Xperia T Review

We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the Sony Xperia T ever since it became clear that’s the new phone of James Bond, err… that it will feature a 13MP camera sensor from Sony.

It is not just that 13MP shooter that the Xperia T has to flaunt – it is powered by a modern 28nm Snapdragon S4, has a large HD screen, and is one of the few to take advantage of Android’s on-screen navigational buttons, allowing it to keep the size compact and bearable.

Would these be enough to stand out against the thin quad-core competition coming in spades from Samsung and LG? Dive into our review to find out…

In the box:

  • In-ear stereo headphones
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall plug
  • Warranty and information leaflets


Sony sort of pioneered the arched handset design of its big-screen phones with the Xperia arc, and the Xperia T falls into that tradition, offering a slightly curved inwards back, like a stretching cat, which helps with the grip and looks more interesting than the regular flat rears. The back cover is also made of soft-touch plastic and has tapered edges, aiding the grip further.

You can compare the Sony Xperia T with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

front also has a distinctive slope at the bottom, which, together with the rounded corners, makes it more distinct than most flat rectangular fronts out there. In addition, Sony has placed three nice, laser-etched metal buttons on the right – the power/lock key, volume rocker, and the dedicated shutter button – which class the handset up some more. The side keys have a pretty nice tactile feedback, but are somewhat smallish, and crammed at the lower right side, so adjusting the volume requires some more thumb-gymnastics than needed. That’s because the upper right side is reserved for the microSD card and micro SIM card slots, since we have a unibody design with a sealed battery compartment, which are very easy to access under the protective lid.

There is an LED notification light at the front, which, however, is as small as if it is made with a sowing pin, and hardly noticeable except in a very dark environment.

Overall, a distinctive design, which immediately screams Xperia, and, thanks to the smaller screen and the lack of physical navigational keys at the front, has kept the Xperia T shorter and narrower than any of the other big-screen flagships out there, easing one-handed operation. The phone is slightly thicker and heavier than the current high-ends, though, leaving you with the impression that you hold a much larger device.


The 4.55” HD screen is pretty bright, which is good for outside usage, but here the experience is diminished by higher than usual screen reflectance, messing with the view. The other downside of the screen are the weak viewing angles, which make the colors and contrast look faded when the phone is observed from the side.

Apart from those gripes, we have 1280x720 HD screen with Mobile BRAVIA Engine-powered popping colors in pictures and video mode, plus a very high 323ppi pixel density, making small text and icon edges sharp and distinct.

Sony Xperia T 360-degrees View:



1. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Very good hardware once again - but for my personal preference, I don't like Sony's skin. Some may like it, some may not, same with other skins. And that is why I'd want 5 Nexus devices, vanilla goodness: it probably won't differ much with the present phones. Sony Xperia Nexus would be Xperia T running stock. LG Optimus Nexus would be Optimus G running stock. Samsung Galaxy Nexus II would be Galaxy S III running stock. Motorola Razr Nexus would be the Razr HD Maxx running stock. HTC (One?) Nexus would be the One X running stock. software's always a problem with me. it's also the problem I have with considering Windows Phone, no mass storage and much apps on the Nokia Lumia 920, otherwise it's the best hardware - even surpassing this and the iPhone. but: software really.

18. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

I don't like the xperia launcher skin either,that saying somebody could easily use Nova launcher etc on the handset and have a jelly bean stock appearance or any other type

23. Aaron_R96 unregistered

Really? I like Sony's skin - in fact, and don't hate for saying this but I prefer it to stock Android! In my opinion it looks really modern and very sharp - whereas TouchWiz and LG's skin (also very TouchWiz-esque) just look tacky (icons) especially in previous generations. I would love to see the 5 devices with stock Android though, and what Sony pull out of the bag to do this will also be very interesting! As far as the Xperia T goes, it does feel very premium in the hand and is quick, haven't had the chance to play with the camera but I think it looks gorgeous as opposed to the large slabs that other manufacturer's have been bringing out - kudos to Sony's design team once again! All of this my personal opinion :)

32. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

yeah, no hate for that and I respect that. icons aren't my problem on UI skins since you can mask that with a launcher. the problem is when the skinning goes deep even after the home screen and app drawer. my experience with Sony's UI feels so mechanical, while with TouchWiz it feels like it's exact for the basic consumer (totally not for me). HTC gave me the best experience so far, but their updates are taking too long, even at flagship phones... have tried Motorola and it feels stock-ish at some point and I don't get the whole point of skinning it if it's very minor. I haven't tried LG yet so I wouldn't comment on that one. UIs appeal to different users, and it would be better if consumers were offered to install or not install the UI. I heard the Xperia S will be offered a Nexus like program... and that sounds awesome. I will definitely consider it again if it's released.

43. osamalone

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

you could put stock in any of those phones just jailbreak it

2. champ_vl

Posts: 44; Member since: Aug 31, 2012

man...Sony makes some really sexy phones lately. LOVE IT !!

3. timtimity

Posts: 196; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

Nice to read a review of this phone. I think I'm still going to get it. Looking at the cons I think an 8 is a little too harsh and it should have been given an 8.5. I'm biased though as I've been looking forward to this phone for a while.

4. Mercenary

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Waiting for the video review.

27. timtimity

Posts: 196; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

5. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Some of the cons are not really considered cons, such as small LED notification light and volume rocker placement, But the score is quite enough. If I have to place a con for this flagship device, that would be for being used with a dual-core processor. I know I know, it's not all about the number of cores or clockspeed, but as a flagship device, this should be future-proof for up to 2 years. And a quad-core processor would help it run smooth future OSes. But all in all, an 8 or 9 score for this is good.

56. royyy

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

The chipset doesn't have anything to do with the device being future-proof. My Arc has been running ICS since June while Tegra 2-powered phones from the same era like the Atrix and the Optimus 2X are stuck on 2.3.

6. XiphiasGladius

Posts: 813; Member since: Aug 21, 2011

Nice, the Cons: bad reflectance & viewing angles part can be overlooked but the call quality part is very suspect. The night shots is very impressive for me though.

7. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Daniel, the T doesn't have Sony's new Exmor RS with the stacked CMOS sensor, at least according to the specs and whitepaper available on the SonyMobile website. Rumour is we will see them in early 2013.

13. Daniel.P

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Thanks, fixed, wishful thinking :)

19. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

I've been waiting for it too so I totally get it. Having seen what Nokia have done with the camera on the Lumia 920, I'm secretly hoping that Sony will develop optical image stabilisation of their own. Imagine the Exmor RS stacked sensor with Pureview tech... now that would be wishful thinking! :)

48. nirmalv

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

Well the iphone 5 uses the new 8 mpx stacked sensor.

8. miki69

Posts: 15; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

@PhoneArena, please change article as Xperia T doesn't have Exmor RS sensor, only Exmor R. RS will come with 2013 lineup. Rest of the article - just perfect. How does flap cover feel like? Is it well aligned with the back? Cheers, Miki

15. Daniel.P

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Yes, the flap is very easy to open, and when you close it, it becomes flush with the surface, no bumps or creaks. I'm suspicious at flaps, too, but this one's well-made ;)

24. schecter7

Posts: 99; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Daniel, could you double check the quadrant score? You may need to close all app and run it couple times. All three new xperias (T,TX,V) scored better than GS3 and others on the benhmarks GSMarena ran - your scores look inconsistent.

28. miki69

Posts: 15; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

Thanks Daniel, really appreciate it. Can you please shed some more light on call quality? Cheers, Miki

36. Daniel.P

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Average to below average - the earpiece is too weak, even at maximum volume, the voices sound hollow and often distorted, while on the other side the voice is not clean either, and sounds muffled.

51. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Oh wow, that's too bad, cause the phone looks beautiful. :(

57. Zungfa.Kkn

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 26, 2012

I think so 2....... :)

9. josephnero

Posts: 780; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

torn between this and Xperia V with no money lol

10. josephnero

Posts: 780; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

or maybe next nexus?what do you guys suggest?i currently own galaxy s2 and iam pretty much satisfied

11. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

The Xperia S lineup and now the xperia T lineup. They have the dullest, most vacuous look I have seen on a smartphone. If you threw your phone into a fire and had the whole thing completely charred, you will come out with an Xperia T. Sony still insists on using the worst screens in the industry. Everyone else has either IPS or AMOLED. Poor viewing angles went out of style over a year ago. You can tell its an Xperia because the screen looks so oversharpened and the colors are deep but so dark with no vibrancy whatsoever. I don't understand how a camera company like Sony can make such subpar cameras over and over again. The Arc was blurry. The S was blurry. Now the T is blurry. Did they set their sharpen filter to -20? To it's credit, its not "as" blurry as their older models, but shamefully lacks detail and definition compared to the iPhone/Galaxy S III/One X. The 13MP is a joke. Phonearena doesn't have a video review up yet, but if you check other sites, you will see its your typical slow and jerky Sony UI. It's neither elegant nor smooth. Why in the world does Sony continue to make such unremarkable phones? And they are pumping out a dozen a year, all almost identical.

21. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

I actually agree. It seems like a lot of people like Sony, but are any really owning these phones? Sony's flagships always come in last. They're overall good phones but never really excel in any one category. I don't really like them, just respect them for being unique.

45. mediar

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 23, 2012

Fully agree. Right now the 2012 Xperias are the ugliest devices out there, absolutely bland and boring design, nothing more than just bulky black bricks, which is a real shame for Sony, especially compared to the gorgeous 2011 Xperias! The UI is ugly and as well, depressing and unpleasant black color everywhere! Made for Emos, I guess. Buggy and laggy as hell! Nothing to do with their cute and sweet colorful 2011 UX UI, or the candy TouchWiz and SenseUI. Again stick with an year-late dual-core processor, poor display, poor camera and limited music player. Other than that, the current Xperias have absolutely nothing remarkable, and are definitely not worth the high price. I have never ever been so disappointed with Sony. They just took and destroyed the good old SE we used to love... ;(

12. ryq24

Posts: 875; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

sony always seems to get lukewarm reviews. i have yet to see a sony phone getting an excellent review even from other reviewers. it's funny people always ogle at japan only phone but once they are release in the international market they get good to poor review. japanese are losing to the koreans and taiwanese.

52. Hlorri

Posts: 40; Member since: May 07, 2008

Most of the Sony Xperia line is not really for the Japanese market, these are phones originally developed in Sweden (by Sony Ericsson) for international customers. But hey, if it's good enough for James Bond, it's good enough for me!
Xperia T
  • Display 4.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1850 mAh(7h 3G talk time)

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