LAS VEGAS: Sony aims to get back on track in the mobile market with the launch of the Xperia S handset, a high-end device running the Android Gingerbread OS.
Sony has chosen a simple design, with the only distinguishing feature being a transparent stripe that runs along the bottom of the device. Three touch-sensitive buttons sit directly above this LED illuminated strip and, although it looks nice, we had to resist the urge to keep prodding it.
The standout feature on the handset is the 4.3in HD screen that boasts a 1280x720 resolution. It looks impressive and when we flicked through pictures and watched a HD video, the colour reproduction and playback were excellent.
The device is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 processor, with 1GB of RAM. We found responsiveness to be smooth, but the overlay that Sony has used could bring some lag with it during everyday use.
Other key features include a 12-megapixel, auto-focus camera with an Exmor sensor and 1080p video recording capabilities. Users are also able to take pictures directly from standby mode with a long press of the camera button.
The handset packs a 1,750mAh battery, but it remains to be seen if this is enough to provide reasonable uptime. Connectivity comes in the form of aGPS, Bluetooth and WiFi. The device is also NFC-enabled, which will come into its own when the infrastructure is in place.
We were disappointed that the device will ship with Android Gingerbread, but Sony confirmed that an update to Ice Cream Sandwich is expected in the first quarter.
It remains to be seen whether the device will carry the Sony branding or will be shipped with the Sony Ericsson moniker. The name change is subject to legal paperwork and it is likely that it will carry the current branding. There is no word yet on pricing either, but it is expected to be the same price as other high-end Android handsets.
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