Sony Mobile NXT Series Phones – Hands On
I have already chatted a little bit about the Sony Mobile Xperia S and the latest phones to be unveiled – The Xperia P and Xperia U – but this is the first time that I’ve had all three together and able to compare like-for-like.
I also managed to sneak some quality time with the Sony P Series tablet and the Sony SmartWatch 😉
The NXT phones all have their strengths and are all different sizes, which makes them easier to identify.
The Sony Xperia S is the ‘daddy’ and stands proud with its 4.3-inch display the S is closely followed by the Xperia P at 4-inches and then there’s the Xperia U at a pocket friendly 3.5-inches.
I really enjoyed the screen-space on the S and the P, saying that the Xperia U doesn’t feel too cramped once you’ve been messing around with it for a while. I would say that it is, however, better suited to those with more slender digits rather than those of a bassplayer.
Sony have really brought their Bravia smarts to these phones. Not only is the Bravia Engine doing wonderful things to video clips, these phones have some impressive resolution figures. The Sony Xperia S gives you 1280 x 720 pixels (a pixel density of 341), The Xperia P gives you 960 x 540 (a pixel density of 275), and finally the Xperia U has 854 x 480 (a pixel density of 279).
Where you would think that the Xperia S would have all the toys you’d be missing the fact that it’s only the Xperia P which has been equipped with Sony’s WhiteMagic tech. This endows The P with a fourth pixel. Remember the Quattron TV with the extra yellow pixel? Well, the same is going on here except the extra pixel is white. This boosts the brightness of the display and, thanks to a sensor in the face of the phone, it will automagically boost the white pixel when you’re trying to watch something in bright, sunny conditions. When you nip back in to the shade, the Xperia will dial the white down and thus saving battery too.
The Xperia S is the more powerful handset with a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm processor and 1GB RAM to the Xperia P’s 1GHz dual core ST-Ericsson NovaThor processor and 1GB RAM. The U has the same processor as the P, but only 512MB RAM.
Internal storage comes in at 32GB for the S, 16GB for the P, 4GB for the U – you have probably started to spot a trend here haven’t you?
Guess which phone has the best camera? The Xperia S has a 12-megapixel sanpper with the P enjoying 8 and the U gets 5. Both the S and P have an Exmor R sensor and offer 1080p video, whilst the U only offers 720p. So, HD all round though then?
I was really impressed with quick-start button on the Xperia S which takes photos in 1.5 seconds from the phone being on stand-by.
Don’t start feeling sorry for the Xperia U though. It got sum krazy skillz innit.
It might be classed as the smallest, but I prefer to say that it’s the most compact. And you know that slinky clear strip that all three phones have? Well, the U is the only one that the strip actually changes colour to match the colours on the display! So there!
It also can be customised – the section below the dynamic transparent belt can be popped off and replaced by another with a differnt colour. The black U comes with a pink bottom (so to speak) for example.
NFC – Sony SmartTags
I managed to get to play around with one of the neatest features that the NXT phones have as far as I am concerned – NFC ‘SmartTags’.
The Sony SmartTags can be set up to activate certain features on the phone – you just select what you want the phone to do once a certain tag has been swiped. I was told that there is no limited to how many single actions can be assigned to a tag.
For example, you could have SmartTag on a ring with your car keys so when you get in to your motor you can simply swipe your phone over the tag and it could set up GPS, turn your phone to handsfree and start your driving playlist.
I suggested that you could put a tag just inside the front door so when your partner or kids come home they can swipe the tag and you’d receive a text telling you that they’re home safe.
I did have a few issues in swiping tags and was assured that it was ‘a knack’ that does come quickly. I still like the idea in having NFC tags stuck strategically around the place instead of having to delve in to menus all the time.
Launch and First Impressions
All the phones launch on Android 2.3.7, with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich promised for Q2 2012. All the phones are also packed with Sony’s connected UI, pulling in services from Music and Video Unlimited and offering DNLA connectivity within Sony’s custom user interface.
The phones all feel nice to hold thanks in part to the curved back but also the aluminium unibody design does lend itself to making the whole package feel premium.
The Xperia S and P both handled squirting video over to a huge TV with no problems with full HD being enjoyed both wirelessly and via HDMI.
I hope to get the handsets to live with and review as soon as MWC 2012 is over but I was impressed by these handsets overall it must be said 🙂