JAPANESE ELECTRONICS FIRM 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 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.
Sony has stuck to a simple design, with the only real 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 does look 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 1280x720 resolution. It looks good 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 and has 1GB of RAM. We found responsiveness smooth, but the overlay that Sony has used could bring some lag with it during everyday use.
Other key features include a mammoth 12MP auto-focus camera with an Exmor sensor and HD 1080p video recording capability. Users can also take pictures directly from standby mode with a long press of the camera button.
The handset has a 1,750mAh battery, but it remains to be seen if this is enough to provide reasonable uptime. Connectivity includes A-GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi. The device is also NFC-enabled so that will come in handy when the infrastructure is in place.
We were disappointed that the device will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Sony confirmed that an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is expected in the first quarter.
It remains to be seen whether the device will carry the Sony moniker or will be shipped with the Sony Ericsson logo. 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 the device is expected to be around the same price as other high-end Android handsets. µ