We’ve already done a huge roundup of hands-on impressions for the Sony Xperia ion and it was only fitting that we followed suit for the Xperia S. Unfortunately the Xperia ion is a very limited device in terms of availability, it is only headed to AT&T in the United States. For this reason, the Xperia S is probably of more interest to most readers and so we’ve got a whole host of hands-on impressions and videos of the device below.
We have to hand it to the Sony designers, the Xperia S has a very unique design. It may not be to everyone’s taste, and it doesn’t match the Xperia arc in our opinion, but it is different and that is very important given how many cookie-cutter Android phones there are out there. Overall, most people seem to like the design and display, with the main criticisms pointed at the capacitive buttons (similar to the Xperia ion). Click through for the full roundup.
– The gorgeous S looks right at home alongside Sony’s other glossy hardware.
– The handset itself has a nice feel, with a concave back, which makes the handset a bit thick than the segments of the Android population attempting to win the title of the “world’s thinnest.”
– Just below the display, you’ll find three white dots. These line up with the home, menu and back buttons, embedded in a sliver of thick glass casing. Upon seeing the handset, we found ourselves attempting to touch the icons themselves, it turns out it’s actually the aforementioned dots that activate the functionality. We appreciate the clear focus on aesthetics here, but the whole thing is a bit counterproductive.
– It’s a very handsome device, especially with the transparent strip at the bottom.
– The soft-touch feel of the device should keep it from slipping out of the hand, but even with the 720p Reality Display we’re not entirely sure that the Xperia S can hang with the top of the line Android phones of December 2011, much less 2012.
– It has an interesting transparent piece toward the bottom that doesn’t really add any function, per se, but it’s kinda cool looking.
– There was also a bit of lag here and there which could stem from that, though I was told that the units I played with might not have had the final software.
– The most noticeable difference of the XPERIA S was how much thinner it was than the Ion, and of course that see-through glow along the bottom of the casing.
– It’s too bad the XPERIA S isn’t launching in the US, I would almost rather see it than the Ion LTE.
– It retains some serious hardware under the hood and flaunts a design that’s not only neat looking, but also has a more compact body (than the Xperia ion).
– It still features a curved back that makes it very comfortable to hold in the hand, while its smaller footprint makes it considerably easier to handle.
– One can find a translucent acrylic piece separating the phone towards the bottom. Indeed, it’s not something we tend to see on phones, which gives it a very fresh look, but it’s actually a part of the handset’s antenna system.
– Fine text is easily distinguished (on the display), but it’s nice to see that it maintains its clarity at all angles. However, there’s a noticeable bluish tinge to the handset’s display, which of course results in some very saturated looking colours.
– The skin running on top of Android 2.3 might seem to be a culprit with its not-so instantaneous response at times.
– The Sony Xperia S is definitely a desirable phone. It has a great, sleek look and we love the little design flourishes Sony has decided to give the Xperia S. Sony has said that this design will be a familiar one from now on, and it will continue in the future and be used on other upcoming phones.
– In the hand, the Sony Xperia S feels great – it’s thin too, with no apparent bulk to speak of.
– Sony has managed to cram its Sony Exmor R technology into the phone and Xperia S boasts a fast capture speed of just 1.5 seconds. In our tests this worked brilliantly.
– There was no apparent lag when switching between the camera and apps and then on to the browser.
– The screen that leverages Sony’s Bravia technology, is very crisp and clean. Watching a trailer of Smurfs (oh the shame) we found the viewing angle to be very good indeed.
– There appears to be little point to the see-through bar other than it looks interesting – maybe it is the antenna, but what is apparent from our quick play and watching other journalists is that the actual buttons, that sit above the see-through bar, are missed time and time again. We, and others, instantly pressed the see-through bar instead. That could be something that you quickly remember, but it certainly is annoying to start with.
– It is hard to judge the quality of the shots we took as we weren’t able to export them, however on screen the playback looked great, fantastic even. The Xperia S screen, combined with the camera, makes a great combination.
– Our quick hands-on play showed the Xperia S to be nippy loading apps and playing video with no issue.
– While we didn’t get to do extensive side-by-side comparisons with other 720p-screen devices, I found the Xperia S to have a bright and beautiful screen where colours really popped out.
– We think that plastic stripe could prove divisive — the Xperia S doesn’t appear as chic or minimalist as some other mobiles. But it does make the phone look unique, and there’s much to be said for that.
– That stonking resolution means on-screen icons look really clear, with text rendering very crisply. This display should do justice to your photos and high-definition video.
– We’re mighty excited about the Xperia S. Sony’s first phone on its own is shaping up to be a real hardware powerhouse, and it certainly rocks an alluring design. The display and camera are particularly worth of note.
– With an HD 4.3-inch screen offering a pixel density of 342 and an angular, bold aesthetic, the Sony Xperia S certainly looks out to make an impression stylistically.
– The Sony Xperia S is an impressive debut for the new Sony phone brand. It’s stylish, well built, packs in loads of great features and is easy to use. It’s not perfect, with a screen that only has mediocre colours and viewing angles – and the signature clear strip on the bottom is also just a bit odd – but it’s a great all rounder.
– Apart from the obvious body design tricks, the S is still a cool phone to mess around with. The large display looks great, and the device feels good in your hand as well.
– 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. It looks good and when we flicked through pictures and watched a HD video, the colour reproduction and playback were excellent.
– I was very impressed after taking a good hard look at the new Xperia S. It is something fresh which is more than I can say for most Android Gingerbread phones.
– The phone is very boxy, and even has an extra bit of hardware on the bottom that seemingly has no purpose. Still, I don’t mind it since it adds something new to the look of the phone with that thin strip of clear plastic. I also tend to frown upon white phones, but the Xperia S is a sexy little beast in white.
– All in all, the phone feels great in the hand and looks hot. The corners are a bit “sharp” but not at all uncomfortable, and the purposeless extra hardware along the bottom doesn’t make the phone cumbersome at all.