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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