Jan 11 AT 3:18 PM Nick Gray 32 Comments

Hands-on the Sony Ericsson Xperia S

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We’ve been waiting for the Sony Ericsson Xperia S for quite some time now, but now that it’s finally here it’s hard to say if we’re impressed or underwhelmed by the handset. The Xperia S is the latest high-end Android handset to feature a 720 Reality HD display, dual-core Qualcomm processor, 12-megapixel Exmor R camera sensor, NFC support and Play Station certification.

The specs on the Xperia S are not as impressive as those on the Samsung Galaxy Note, or other phones that have been on the market for a few months already, but the handset does have a unique look and feel, which allows it to stand out in a crowd. The Xperia S features a soft-touch rubber coating that reduces those pesky finger prints and a clear band below the screen that wraps around the entire phone and illuminates when the phone receives notifications. Also, the corners of the device are nearly perfect right angles, giving the handset a distinctive look and feel.

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Since the phone itself doesn’t really have the specs to blow the competition out of the water, Sony has equipped it with a few new tricks. Knowing that consumers will love to snap pictures with the Xperia S, the phone comes with a quick snap functionality that allows the handset to take a picture in less than three seconds, even when the phone’s screen is off. Simply hold up your phone, press the dedicated camera button, and the handset will launch into the camera app and snap a picture in under three seconds.

Sony has also equipped the Xperia S with NFC support to take advantage of their new NFC tags. There’s nothing terribly unique about the system, but users can set up different NFC tags at work, in the car, on their night stand or anywhere else. They can then be individually programmed to change specific handset settings. We guess you could compare it to Local, but rather than basing the system on your GPS location, it works with NFC tags.

Like most other Sony phones, the Xperia S also features an HDMI connection and a dedicated media launcher for when the device is plugged into a TV. If consumers connect the phone to a newer Sony Bravia TV, they would be able to control the phone directly from their TV remote control.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia S is a great looking phone with some unique functionality. This may give it a bit of an edge over the competition, but we’re sure the device will be overshadowed by a few dozen phones that will be unveiled in only a month at Mobile World Congress. If Sony really wants to make the Xperia S a success, they will need to hit their late Q1 release date and push out the Android 4.0 update before the competition is able to get their next-generation handsets to market.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • YMS123

    Is this coming to America? These Sony phones seem to have hard time getting here… On contract…

  • Angie Wimberly

    Nice gallery!

  • zerosix

    I like the new Sony-style. It is so… rectangular.
    And this idea with transparent block is great.
    The only thing I dislike is the search button, for example, in Xperia Ion.

  • spazby

    not impressed… expected cutting edge from this phone

    • Jeff Pan

      Yay! for thinking different from the rest of the pack with regards to design. But the -ve is the specs arent good enough!

  • Logan Edwards

    I gotta say, theses phone are very sleek. I’m loving the design. I wonder what the camera’s picture quality is like? I’m looking for a stellar camera in my next Android phone. The Samsung Captivate’s camera is much better than my old iPhone 3G, but marginal at best.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      We got some pictures with the phone and will be posting about it in a few days.

  • cthonctic

    The design is pretty nice, as usual from Sony. Also good to see the Sony logo on there rather than than green SE bubble. ;)

    The only thing I don’t like so much is that transparent band below the screen. IMO it looks a bit tacky on the pictures and makes the bottom part look like it doesn’t belong to the phone body proper but is somehow tacked on needlessly.

    All in all, not bad. But the Xperia Ion is more to my taste, including the larger screen.

    • MyMilan

      I actually like the bottom clear band. It lights up whenever you get a notification. Great idea! If the price was right I would definetly buy this phone.

  • aranea

    I like the ability to control phone from TV remote

  • cb2000a

    Not an Ericsson…..Sony only…but nice phone! They will do better without Ericsson.

  • Dustin Earley

    The buttons are the only thing that gets me. I do like the translucent antenna bar.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Those tags and the bar are neat! Especially if the bar flashes when a notification arrives ;)

    Would be a nice touch ;)

  • jamal adam

    Looks AWESOME!!!

  • RacecarBMW

    Umm, I think the standout feature of this phone is the amazing 12MP camera.

  • aryin

    looks elegant !

  • donger

    looks like sony android phones are getting better.

  • marshie

    thank god i didn’t buy the xperia arc s. this new smartphones are awesome!!! when is it coming out in australia???

  • damambt

    CES is making it harder to decide on what phone purchase next. Xperia S sounds a lot like Nexus — maybe sony is hinting at something

  • Hall Lo

    It’s so handsome :D Definitely want one of these

  • benben

    I’ve never been a fan of Sony (Ericsson)’s handsets but this is one great looking phone!
    Also happy to see they didn’t jump on the ‘World’s thinnest smartphone wave’. I don’t mind a phone being a little heavy – if anything a little extra weight gives me the impression of quality.
    Very happy with my Desire Z but I might be tempted to throw my money at one of the upcoming HTC phones (Edge, Zeta, Ville).

  • Steven Nutt

    This could easily be my next phone come upgrade time, especially as now I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 I find that I use my phone (SGS) for 3/4 main things, checking Twitter/Facebook/Google+ on the go, calls/texts, light gaming and taking photo’s/video’s of my little girl.

    So a good camera is a big draw for me in a phone and Sony’s looks good.

  • starwin almeida

    it’s awesome…

  • WesGTR

    I just don’t get it: the phones you had at CES, the ones in the gallery, they all have SonyEricsson branding, but promotional images of the phone all merely say Sony… What’s up with that?

  • dko3tgk

    My biggest question… pentaband? For T-Mobile USA?
    If Sony wants to put almost stock Android OS, with their beautiful hardware, and commitment to upgrade quickly to ICS. I don’t feel the need to buy a Galaxy Nexus.
    Besides I think 4.5″+ screens are making phones too big.
    If this is pentaband, I think with the right marketing Sony can make a comeback in the US phone market.
    However Sony needs to bring this to market soon. All their phones in 2011 were released far too late and were already outdated in terms of hardware when they hit shelves.

  • Hehe

    Want it it looks like a superfone would be truly a competor if it had qaud-core processer and atleast 1.2 – 1.5gb of ram but otherwise absolouty stunning when is it coming to Australia and if the Price suits the quality may be contender to the s3 for me lols

  • darko

    Shame on you, for this article!!!
    You missed to mention the most standout feature of this phone, 12MEGA PIXELS of its amazing Exmor R camera!!!
    Really, unbelievably amateurish and disappointing from a so called tech journalist.

  • dan

    Super telu eu eram fan nokia pana la primu tel sony aparut cu android da acesta este superb iaras sony ne arata ca pote……..Si probabil ca o sa mil iau in rate pt ca 600 de euro no sa am de unde sai pun jos.

  • kingman

    Yes yes,this s how. It surpose to be.like this phone very much,the size s perfect,the camera wonderful,and should I say something else…definitely need this,thank u SONY….!

  • fadi

    is this coming to middle east?

  • Teena

    Excellent review. Here is a hands on review which i found quite useful. I actually bought the phone based on the below review and i am fully satisfied with the phone.

    http://pickadvice.com/sony-xperia-s-powered-by-bravia-engine-in-depth-review/

  1. Is this coming to America? These Sony phones seem to have hard time getting here… On contract…

  2. I like the new Sony-style. It is so… rectangular.
    And this idea with transparent block is great.
    The only thing I dislike is the search button, for example, in Xperia Ion.

  3. not impressed… expected cutting edge from this phone

    • Yay! for thinking different from the rest of the pack with regards to design. But the -ve is the specs arent good enough!

  4. I gotta say, theses phone are very sleek. I’m loving the design. I wonder what the camera’s picture quality is like? I’m looking for a stellar camera in my next Android phone. The Samsung Captivate’s camera is much better than my old iPhone 3G, but marginal at best.

  5. The design is pretty nice, as usual from Sony. Also good to see the Sony logo on there rather than than green SE bubble. ;)

    The only thing I don’t like so much is that transparent band below the screen. IMO it looks a bit tacky on the pictures and makes the bottom part look like it doesn’t belong to the phone body proper but is somehow tacked on needlessly.

    All in all, not bad. But the Xperia Ion is more to my taste, including the larger screen.

    • I actually like the bottom clear band. It lights up whenever you get a notification. Great idea! If the price was right I would definetly buy this phone.

  6. I like the ability to control phone from TV remote

  7. Not an Ericsson…..Sony only…but nice phone! They will do better without Ericsson.

  8. The buttons are the only thing that gets me. I do like the translucent antenna bar.

  9. Those tags and the bar are neat! Especially if the bar flashes when a notification arrives ;)

    Would be a nice touch ;)

  10. Looks AWESOME!!!

  11. RacecarBMWGuest 3 years ago

    Umm, I think the standout feature of this phone is the amazing 12MP camera.

  12. looks elegant !

  13. looks like sony android phones are getting better.

  14. marshieGuest 3 years ago

    thank god i didn’t buy the xperia arc s. this new smartphones are awesome!!! when is it coming out in australia???

  15. CES is making it harder to decide on what phone purchase next. Xperia S sounds a lot like Nexus — maybe sony is hinting at something

  16. It’s so handsome :D Definitely want one of these

  17. I’ve never been a fan of Sony (Ericsson)’s handsets but this is one great looking phone!
    Also happy to see they didn’t jump on the ‘World’s thinnest smartphone wave’. I don’t mind a phone being a little heavy – if anything a little extra weight gives me the impression of quality.
    Very happy with my Desire Z but I might be tempted to throw my money at one of the upcoming HTC phones (Edge, Zeta, Ville).

  18. This could easily be my next phone come upgrade time, especially as now I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 I find that I use my phone (SGS) for 3/4 main things, checking Twitter/Facebook/Google+ on the go, calls/texts, light gaming and taking photo’s/video’s of my little girl.

    So a good camera is a big draw for me in a phone and Sony’s looks good.

  19. starwin almeidaGuest 3 years ago

    it’s awesome…

  20. WesGTRGuest 3 years ago

    I just don’t get it: the phones you had at CES, the ones in the gallery, they all have SonyEricsson branding, but promotional images of the phone all merely say Sony… What’s up with that?

  21. dko3tgkGuest 3 years ago

    My biggest question… pentaband? For T-Mobile USA?
    If Sony wants to put almost stock Android OS, with their beautiful hardware, and commitment to upgrade quickly to ICS. I don’t feel the need to buy a Galaxy Nexus.
    Besides I think 4.5″+ screens are making phones too big.
    If this is pentaband, I think with the right marketing Sony can make a comeback in the US phone market.
    However Sony needs to bring this to market soon. All their phones in 2011 were released far too late and were already outdated in terms of hardware when they hit shelves.

  22. HeheGuest 3 years ago

    Want it it looks like a superfone would be truly a competor if it had qaud-core processer and atleast 1.2 – 1.5gb of ram but otherwise absolouty stunning when is it coming to Australia and if the Price suits the quality may be contender to the s3 for me lols

  23. darkoGuest 3 years ago

    Shame on you, for this article!!!
    You missed to mention the most standout feature of this phone, 12MEGA PIXELS of its amazing Exmor R camera!!!
    Really, unbelievably amateurish and disappointing from a so called tech journalist.

  24. danGuest 3 years ago

    Super telu eu eram fan nokia pana la primu tel sony aparut cu android da acesta este superb iaras sony ne arata ca pote……..Si probabil ca o sa mil iau in rate pt ca 600 de euro no sa am de unde sai pun jos.

  25. kingmanGuest 3 years ago

    Yes yes,this s how. It surpose to be.like this phone very much,the size s perfect,the camera wonderful,and should I say something else…definitely need this,thank u SONY….!

  26. fadiGuest 3 years ago

    is this coming to middle east?

  27. TeenaGuest 3 years ago

    Excellent review. Here is a hands on review which i found quite useful. I actually bought the phone based on the below review and i am fully satisfied with the phone.

    http://pickadvice.com/sony-xperia-s-powered-by-bravia-engine-in-depth-review/