The Sony Xperia Go is the best rugged handset on the market, but its outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and bloatware stop it having any real appeal to the mass market.
Sturdy handset that survives more than the usual wear and tear, waterproof, decent camera.
Bloatware, outdated Android 2.3 operating system, unattractive.
Processor: 1GHz dual-core
Display: 3.5in, 320x480 touch-screen
Camera: 5MP rear-facing
Connectivity: GSM/HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Ports: Micro USB, microSD card slot
Operating system: Android 2.3 Gingerbread
The Sony Xperia Go builds on the legacy set by the company's previous Xperia Active handset, targeting the niche rugged smartphone market, promising users a handset capable of surviving more than the usual wear and tear.
Design and build
For the Go, while Sony has kept the same hard-line, angular design seen on its more expensive Xperia S and P handsets, it is significantly less streamlined and visually pleasing. This is largely because the company has been forced to make several major concessions to ensure the device managed to get an IP67 rating - a scoring system that measures the device's resistance to elements like water and dust.
This means that while the Go can survive water submersion up to one-metre deep for 30 minutes and take significantly more punishment than your average smartphone, it isn't all that pretty. The device features a significantly more plastic feel than the S and P, and features plugs that cover its headphone and Micro USB ports. The plugs are fairly ugly sticking awkwardly out from the device's sides, though those with a taste for a more industrial looking smartphone may like their inclusion.
Despite its awkward plugs we found the handset was fairly comfortable in hand, measuring in at 111x60x9.8mm and weighing 110g. Designed for people with active lifestyles or jobs that require them to occasionally get their hands dirty, we found the Go is a really nice size, being pocket friendly and easily fitting into most shoulder straps for those that want to use it while exercising.
The Xperia Go features a 3.5in 320x480 touch-screen that features the same Bravia engine technology seen in other more expensive Sony smartphones. The technology means that despite its modest resolution the Go's screen provides sharp and clear graphics even when used in less than ideal outdoor lighting conditions and viewed at awkward angles.
The Go's screen durability also impressed us, with our tests proving that the smartphone does live up to Sony's scratch-proof claims. Additionally as an added perk, the Go's screen features technology that lets you use it while wet, something most other smartphone displays struggle with.
We submerged the device in a bowl of water to test the screen's usability when wet and found that just after being removed the screen immediately recognised all our commands, coming close to matching its responsiveness while dry.