Xperia arc S review – benchmarks galore!

by XB on 17th October 2011

in Featured Content, Hands On, Reviews, Videos, Xperia arc

Xperia arc SThe Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S is identical to the Xperia arc in every way apart from two internal changes: 1) the processor has been given a boost from 1GHz to 1.4GHz and 2) download speeds have improved from 7.2Mbps to 14.4Mbps (as long as your mobile operator supports it). Another difference is that the Xperia arc S comes in various colours not available on the original Xperia arc. This includes the gorgeous white Xperia arc S that we have been testing.

Since the Xperia arc S is identical in nearly every respect to the original , we won’t retread old ground compared to our recent Xperia arc (six-month) review. Instead, we will focus on what has changed and how much impact this has. Ultimately this comes down to lots of benchmarks and some real-world testing of its browser and camera functionality. Click through for our thoughts.

Xperia arc S versus Xperia arc

As mentioned above, this is not a review in the traditional sense. Please click here for our previous six-month review of the Xperia arc that covers the broader positives and negatives of the handset. These points will still apply to the Xperia arc S. What we will instead cover is how much difference the 1.4GHz processor makes over the 1GHz original in areas such as browsing and the camera. If you remember, Sony Ericsson claims that the Xperia arc S has a 20% faster browser performance and 25% faster camera start-up over the original Xperia arc.

However, whilst this may be observed in the benchmarks below, during real-world usage this performance differential is barely noticeable. The video below shows us loading a few websites and seeing the difference in camera start-up times. Yes, the Xperia arc S is faster, but in web rendering the difference is small. The Xperia arc S is also faster in starting the camera, which is more noticeable, but whether current owners will really notice the difference is questionable.

Whilst the Xperia arc S does allow faster download speeds, we were unable to see a difference with our mobile operator and therefore this difference is likely to be carrier dependent. In our testing we noticed no difference in the camera/video performance between both handsets. Battery endurance didn’t seem to be as good as the Xperia arc, lasting on average around two hours shorter compared to the Xperia arc. It’s difficult to know whether this was down to the short time conditioning the battery before writing the review or whether the higher clock speed means slightly less battery efficiency.


We did some extensive benchmark testing comparing both handsets to see how the 40 percent higher clock speed in the Xperia arc S translated to the benchmarks. This involved running ten different benchmark applications that each test various things. We did each test three times to produce an average. What we see below is that the benchmarks that are more CPU dependent show a much more significant performance gap, compared to those benchmarks that are more rounded and include a greater number of GPU tests (after all the Adreno 205 GPU is unchanged in both phones).

Xperia arc S

AnTuTu Benchmark

The AnTuTu benchmark measures overall performance of the phone looking at memory, CPU integer/floating point performance, 2D/3D graphics and database IO testing. The Xperia arc S took the crown with a 25 percentage improvement.

Xperia arc S AnTuTu Benchmark

Benchmark Pi

This is a test that is used to calculate Pi, the lower the time the better. You can see that the Xperia arc S does better again taking 758ms to calculate Pi compared to 1036ms for the Xperia arc.

Xperia arc S Benchmark Pi Benchmark

GLBenchmark 2.1.0

GLBenchmark 2.1 focuses on graphical computation, measuring the quality and performance of the underlying OpenGL ES 2.x implementation. We ran the ‘Egypt Standard’ standard test to produce the results below. Given the heavy focus on graphic tests, we expected near enough parity in terms of performance and that is exactly what we got.

Xperia arc S GLBenchmark Benchmark

Linpack for Android

The Linpack test is more a reflection of the Android Dalvik Virtual Machine than of the floating point performance of the underlying processor. However, on the single thread test we still saw the Xperia arc S outperform by 28 percent.

Xperia arc S Linpack Benchmark


NenaMark2 is a graphics benchmark for mobile devices. The Xperia arc S does score higher in this test (15.8fps), an 11 percent increase over the Xperia arc (14.1fps).

Xperia arc S NenaMark2 Benchmark


Neocore is another graphics benchmark by Qualcomm and hence we did not expect any difference in fps (frames per second). That is exactly what we see with both handsets scoring around 59fps.

Xperia arc S Neocore Benchmark

Quadrant Standard

The Quadrant benchmark measures a number of factors including CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. As this is a more rounded test, you can see that the Xperia arc S saw a 12 percent improvement over the original arc.

Xperia arc S Quadrant Benchmark

Smartbench 2011

Smartbench 2011 measures the overall performance of your smartphone. This benchmark is multi-core friendly, not that it makes any difference in our testing here. The Xperia arc S did much better than the arc here scoring a 50 percent improvement.

Xperia arc S Smartbench Benchmark

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark 0.9.1

The SunSpider JavaScript benchmark is a widely used measure of browser scripting performance. For this benchmark, getting the lower score is better. You can see that the time it took for the Xperia arc S to complete the test (2641.2ms) is less than half what it took the Xperia arc to achieve it in (5585.9ms).

Xperia arc S SunSpider Benchmark


Vellamo is a mobile Web benchmark from Qualcomm that evaluates browser performance. We expected the Xperia arc S to outperform the original close to its CPU power differential and that is exactly what we get here, with the arc S scoring 38 percent higher.

Xperia arc S Vellamo Benchmark


There is no doubt that the Xperia arc S is a faster phone than the original, both in benchmarks and marginally faster in real world use. We don’t expect Xperia arc owners to upgrade, as quite simply it is not nearly enough of an upgrade. Given that Xperia arc owners with the knowhow can software overclock their handsets to 1.4GHz and above diminishes the performance impact of the arc S.

However, this phone isn’t aimed at current Xperia arc owners, it is aimed at new customers. In that regard, the Xperia arc S is a worthy phone. It comes with a super-sexy design (especially the white version) with a very respectable 1.4GHz speedy processor and a range of different colours. Given that the price point is the same as the Xperia arc, it’s pretty much a no brainer. We’ve said before that the Xperia arc S is the company’s transitionary phone before it releases its dual-core handsets and, in that regard, it is the perfect stop-gap.

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

Xperia arc S

  • Asad Mulla

    How could you put your phones on a rough surface like that.

  • Anonymous

    We didn’t. You just can’t see the small cleaning cloth under each phone!

  • Wael Faddah

    well, my Xperia ARC fell from my hand and  chattered the glass.  THANK YOU SQUARE TRADE, they are refunding me for $600.00 YEAH, supposedly it was too expansive to fix.  now i need to buy the ARC S, problem is where is the LT18A version?  i wonder how long do i have to wait….

  • Anonymous

    Any reports of the Arc S having the cracking problems of the original Arc? 

  • hello

    how does Arc S fare against Arc in terms of battery life?

  • Dyjin

    Thank you very much XperiaBlog

    I don’t think i’ll upgrade yet :p

  • Dyjin

    Thank you very much XperiaBlog

    I don’t think i’ll upgrade yet :p

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this great comparison! I never felt there was a difference between the original Arc and the Arc S, however, after reading this, I know for sure that there is a noticeable difference performance wise.

    The Arc S is a better Arc with Sexier colors! And for the same price, I really find this an excellent deal! Specially for the mass who has no interest what so ever in dual core BS.

  • Anonymous

    There does seem to be a difference – although we’re not sure if it’s down to not conditioning the battery fully or due to the performance hike. Roughly we’re seeing battery life is shorter by around 2 hours.

  • eu!

    in future,will be some programs,or android updates which won`t work on xperia arc? In my country isn`t xperia arc s at orange and te difference is 50 euro between arc and arc s
    should i go for arc,or wait for march 2012?

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  • Labrador

    You guys could put more effort in your photos, come on. There’s sand all over the phones screens right there.

  • damnse!

    Hey Tej

    Arc S have any difference from Arc on noise cancellation performance, I hope it work well both aren’t they?

  • milton luyuvula nganga

    What a great comparison ! you put an 1.4GHz processor into that Arc, but why you didn’t improve the RAM to 1Go? Okay we can say that SE produces beautiful handsets, but when we would be proud to say “SE provides competitive devices”.
    I have noticed that very few SE mobiles has a frontal camera? in my mind it is for economical reasons because the video calling didn’t evolve as it was assumed, so it was a shortfall to set it up on all devices. But be careful SE you will be late again for the ball, just an example, skype had update the video calling during the 1T or 2T on his app, but all SE users can’t use it (except with the kyno V and maybe the active and pro) or better ICS came up with a video unlocking option, How lucky we are! only 2 cells have an frontal camera and they are not the best SE phones.
    I have an X10 and i don’t see the interests to change it by an Arc S which has the same caracteristics even if it is an 1.4GHz processor. It sound like i have better things to do by changing it by an other brand model !?
    Don’t Take it bad, my thrust must help you to respond to ours present and future expectations.
    Thank you for reading. (sorry if my english is bad i am not a native english speaker)

  • vishal

    Nexus S has better benchmark scores than Arc S .Is Power VR 540  better than the Adreno 205.Wish this had Adreno 220 coz all of the hdmi,exmor R n HD recording need better GPU`s as far as I think..?What do u think? Does this fare well with the Samsung phones of the same specs like the Nexus,galaxy series

  • I noticed from day-to-day use that my device (Xperia neo which has similar specs to Arc) slows down when there are multiple tasks running in the background. Perhaps when you have 4-5 windows and some background apps running, the difference will be clearer.  My question now is whether giving the S a faster single core is a better option than giving it dual-core instead.  Seems to me all other smartphone manufacturers are choosing the second option.

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  • Mujahid Reza

    white looks sexy

  • Jonathan_0520

    can you separate the videos and the pictures from the gallery of arc s?

  • no one likes the Gloss black? :(

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  • Alastairdent

    Excellent review, detailed and informative. Thanks


    waaaw v gooooooooood

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