First off, a thank you to Sony for letting us review this device. Here we have the Sony Xperia P. Coming in as the middle of the range in the Sony NXT series, between the top of the range Xperia S and bottom of the range Xperia U.
If we look at the price, it varies between £340-£420, available online and from various retail outlets across most network providers. This isn’t the cheapest handset on the market but does boast a great range of specs.
In the Box
We have a fairly standard set of accessories in the box with this device. Obviously there is the handset itself, which is has a very sleek design (more on this later). There is also one micro USB cable, one hands-free set/headphones, a HDMI cable and the usual instruction booklets. There is not a USB adaptor provided, which will make charging hard, unless you already have one but. Besides this I don’t belive there is really anything else you could ask for.
122 x 59.5 x 10.5 mm.
Android Gingerbread 2.3.
Dual core 1 GHz Cortex-A9.
4 .0″ LED-backlit LCD (540×960 @ 275 ppi).
Audio playback, supported formats: MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis.
xLOUD Experience – audio filter technology from Sony.
3.5 mm audio jack for headphones.
No memory card slot, 16GB internal memory.
Li-Ion 1305 mAh, Standby 470h (2G), 475h (3G). Talk time 6h (2G), 5h (3G).
8MP with LED flash and digital zoom.
Front of device: Screen, front facing camera, back, home and menu touch buttons on the clear strip.
Back of device: Camera and flash
Bottom of device: Microphone
Top of device: 3.5mm jack input
Left side of device: Micro USB slot, HDMI slot and micro SIM slot
Right side of device: Speaker, power/lock button, volume controls on a rocker and camera button.
Look and Feel
All the phones in the NXT series have a very similar look to them. The handset is rather chunky compared to other recent smartphones but still looks good. Sony have added a clear strip near the bottom of the device, which on this particular model features touch-enabled buttons for back, home screen and menu. This is an improvement on the Xperia U as you have to touch above the buttons of the strip.
Being a smaller device than the Xperia S, it feels a lot better in your hand as it is more comfortable to hold and grip. The device is very angular with a curved back, which on paper sounds like an awful combination, but Sony have put this together to form one of the best looking handsets I have seen in a long time.
The Xperia P is powered by a Dual core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 processor. Now 1GHz is not the most powerful processor on the market but in phones of this range this is fairly common. If we ignore other phones however, and look at how this processor acts in this particular handset, we see that it is perfectly capable of handling all you would want to do with the phone. This ofcourse is then backed up with 1GB of RAM which together leads to a very smooth running phone.
As for the GPU we see a MALI-400MP. This works well in the phone and allows you to play games such as Asphalt 6 or Dead Trigger which run with ease, making it a great gaming experience as well as running efficiently on everything else.
The screen on this phone is 4.0″, which in comparison to the low range Xperia U is rather large but for phones in this range is about average. The resolution is 960×540 which gives great clarity to the device especially with the 275 pixels per inch. With such great clarity it’s hard to notice that the screen is so small and very little zooming is required.
As for the touch element of the screen, everything is super responsive. You don’t have to press hard to get a reaction, just gently swipe your finger and it will respond exactly as you wish. Although this is great, it is expected of phones in this price range so nothing unique or to set the phone apart from the competition here.
A major issue I have with Sony’s Xperia phones is that they tend to always come bloated with Sony’s own apps. On this particular model we see apps such as Media Remote, Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited to name a few. Basically these apps are Sony trying to promote there other services, especially with the Media Remote, which can only be used with Sony’s televisions. I’m sure this is a great app, but I’m not going to go out and buy a new Sony television just to use this app ergo making it redundant to me. This sort of app should be an optional install not preloaded to the device. With these apps on the device we find 4 pages on the menu before even begining to install your own.
There are a set of 5 screens to use on this device. The dock is loaded with the essentials: Phone, messaging, menu, Play Store and quick access to all your media. There is quick access to Google preloaded and then the rest of the screens are pretty much bloated with widgets for Sony’s apps. Again it seems Sony are trying to push there products too much here maybe one or two would be fine but this just seems excessive.
With an 8MP camera the Xperia P excels. Okay it’s not the only phone with an 8MP camera but it’s still exceptional. The pictures are of a great quality for a phone, there is minimal graining on the photos and they have great clarity. The zoom function is a bit poor but, only having a digital zoom, what more would we expect? Other than this the only other feature worth mentioning is the auto focus which does work very well, resulting in very few blurred pictures (See camera gallery)
As for gaming, the phone came pre-loaded with Asphalt 6, which in itself, is a fairly good game. The Mali-400MP handled this game with ease and made it a really enjoyable experience. I really can’t fault the gaming capabilities of this device. I wasn’t expecting much from the phone but it really did surpass my expectations, making it a good device for anyone interested in android gaming.
Lastly I will briefly discuss the music player. This is your bog standard music player which functions well. There really isn’t much else to say besides the fact that the device does have a pretty great speaker. I have always admired the speaker quality on the Xperia range, and this phone has not disapointed.
With around 470 hours of standby time stated this battery does alight. On a normal day without hammering the device with heavy usage, the battery will last all day and into the next. That being said, when you do decide to have a day of heavy battery use, keep your charger to hand! It only takes around 2 to 3 hours to charge which is perfect for someone like me who will religiously charge their phone over night.
On the whole this device by itself is great and worthwhile. Sadly compared to its competitors Sony has done little to make the phone stand out. The device is NFC capable which allows wireless mobile payments with apps such as Google Wallet. Sadly there are no shops near to me where I would have been able to test this. Other than this I feel what would have been an exceptional device a couple of years ago, will now just blend into the crowd and allow Samsung to continue dominating the android market.