Sony Xperia S Review: Sony’s first Android smartphone
The Xperia S is now selling under the Sony brand and comes in a white, compact box that contains the Android smartphone, USB and HDMI cables, two-pin power adapter, audio headphones, startup guide and Sony Smart Tags for use with the phone's NFC feature. The Xperia S that is selling in stores now, comes in black or white for users, and the review unit that was sent to us is the white version.
Unlike its Xperia X10 and Xperia Arc siblings, Sony has gone for a more boxy look on the Xperia S, with a slight curve to the rear. There is also a distinctive translucent strip below the display where you can find three tiny white icons – Back, Home and Menu. A lot of users would try to press on the spot where the particular icon is, only to see that it doesn't work. Well, to access the Back, Home and Menu options, you have to press on the touch-sensitive spot (the black section with the white dot) above the strip instead. Oh, did we also mention that the translucent strip gives a white glow when you pressed the power button to unlock the screen? It looks quite cool, for a while.
Even though the Xperia S sports a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, strangely, it feels a bit long. Probably because of the lower portion. Above the display is the Sony logo and 1.3-megapixel camera that can record videos at 720p resolution.
Like most phones, the obligatory power button and 3.5mm audio connector are at the top. The left holds the microUSB port, while for those who want to output their images and videos on HDTV, the HDMI connector is on the right. For most of their larger smartphones, Sony would usually incorporate a camera mode/shutter button for ease of picture taking. And that is also present on the Xperia S, located beside the volume/zoom controls.
The white rear of the Xperia S has a ceramic feel, though it is only a thin plastic cover that lets you access the phone's micro-SIM card slot. And that's it. The rear is secured with tiny screws which means there is no way to remove and replace the rechargeable battery, even if your phone is experiencing problems. So what do you do if you need to reboot the phone? To force a restart, simply press and hold both the power button and volume up control for five seconds. After the phone vibrates once, release the keys and it should restart automatically. There is also no microSD or M2 card slot for expansion, but Sony has been generous in providing 32GB of storage for your apps and other data. If you looked closely at the white rear cover, you'll notice the Sony Ericsson logo that has been embedded. Apparently, the company has not managed to remove the logo in time for the launch. It could serve as a momento that the phone used to be part of the formerly joint Sony Ericsson brand.