Xperia P: Our hands-on impressions

by XB on 5th March 2012

in Featured Content, Hands On, Xperia P

Xperia PLast week we went hands on with a new member of the Xperia NXT series, the Sony Xperia P. The Sony Xperia P carries the same Iconic Identity design found in the Xperia S but has a smaller form factor thanks to the 4-inch display compared to the 4.3-inch display of the Xperia S.

Two of the standout features of the Xperia P are 1) the use of a WhiteMagic display and 2) its unibody aluminium construction. Other features include a 1GHz dual-core U8500 NovaThor chipset, 4-inch qHD display, 8MP Exmor R camera and 16GB storage. Click through for our hands-on impressions of the Xperia P handset.

Xperia P

Thoughts on the Xperia P

Beautiful design – If you read our ‘24 hours with the Xperia S’ post you’ll already know that we didn’t feel the design suited the larger handset. However, for some reason it feels right at home on the Xperia P. We don’t know whether it was the precision shot aluminium construction or the slightly smaller dimensions, either way it felt great in the hand. There are some great design touches on the handset including the speaker grill and screw on the side. We also like the fact that the power button resides on the right side of the phone, just above the volume. This makes it easier to unlock the handset with one hand. The silver was our favourite out of all three colours (black, silver, red) and it really feels like a premium handset.

Xperia P

Solid construction – As it is a unibody design the back is not removable, unlike the Xperia S, and this means that there are absolutely no creaks on the Xperia P – not that we had any problems with this on the Xperia S.

Xperia P

Responsive buttons – Sony is using a different type of button with the Xperia P compared to the Xperia S and Xperia U. It seems that the back, home and setting keys actually reside on the transparent strip itself, instead of above it like on the Xperia S and Xperia U. The result is a more seamless experience when navigating the phone. To be honest, we’re not sure how Sony Mobile managed to include buttons on the strip itself, but from our testing this does seem to be the case. We also had none of the issues with the capacitive buttons that we sometimes find on the Xperia S.

WhiteMagic display is as bright as advertised – The Xperia P is the only handset to come with a WhiteMagic display. We’ve previously talked about the benefits of this type of display, but it incorporates a RBGW display (an extra display that carries a white pixel), this means it can go twice as bright as previous displays and has 50% more power efficiency. On our playtest, the display was at its brightest and it certainly seemed very bright. A real test would be under direct sunlight though, that will have to wait for now.

Xperia P

No port flaps, yeah! – We’re not a fan of port flaps and this was recently brought back to the forefront of our mind with the Xperia S hands-on. It’s nice to see no port flaps on the Xperia P apart from the micro-Sim card (we can live with that given it will hardly be changed). The location of the ports also means that the Xperia P has its own SmartDock multimedia docking station.

Xperia P

Embedded battery, micro-Sim, no micro-SD – Much like the Xperia S, the Xperia P will use a micro-SIM, embedded (non-removable) battery and will have no micro SD memory card support. The Xperia P uses a 1305mAh capacity battery which Sony Mobile says should be good enough for six hours of GSM talk time or four hours of video playback. It’s a shame that the Xperia P isn’t using a larger capacity battery, although we imagine this was a trade-off to make sure everything fitted in its svelte design. In terms of storage, the Xperia P has 16GB of in-built flash storage (13GB is user accessible). Of this roughly 2GB is used for phone memory to download apps, games, whilst the balance can be used for media (music, video and larger game files).

Overall initial impressions – Prior to going hands-on with the handset, we had felt that the Xperia P was the best all-rounder in the Xperia NXT series. This was confirmed with our hands-on play time. Ergonomically, it feels so right in the hand and the aluminium body really makes it feel that you are holding a premium handset. Of course you are forgoing some features over the Xperia S including less processor grunt, a lower resolution camera, less pixel density, less storage and no PlayStation Certification, but the Xperia P’s features still should be good enough for most users. Current pricing places it reasonably close to the Xperia S, however if more of a price gap emerges we can see the Xperia P being on the wish list of many.

Xperia P

Xperia P

  • Vandenbornejeffrey

     The way lower pixel density is the REAL deal breaker for me. It is one of the reasons as to why I chose the S, being able to read webpages without zooming in because the text looks so crisp is amazingly handy.

  • Fgfg


  • I’m curious about the battery life, if that’s good, I might buy one in december if the phone has become somewhat cheaper.

  • Anonymous

    This is really a killer! Once the price drops, after a month or so it will be mine!
    The dock is a killer feature for me. Is like getting Google Tv for free when you connect it to your set and use the remote to control it.

  • material used is awesome!
    but battery life? doesn’t seem so good :(

  • metal back cover will get scratches ….

  • Anonymous

    “six hours of GSM talk time or four hours of video playback”  .. Am I the only one who thinks that is unbelieveably shit !!

  • Asad Mulla

    The fact that the speaker is on the side is really good because on other handsets if you put them flat on their back the  speaker get covered and sound level is reduced. On this phone they should of put speakers on both sides

  • Guest

    Wow, the button is the tranparent strip itself? Makes sense, when I saw the promo image of the three NXT series, I cannot see those dots as the Xperia S and Xperia U.

  • Guest

    Wow, the button is the tranparent strip itself? Makes sense, when I saw the promo image of the three NXT series, I cannot see those dots as the Xperia S and Xperia U.

  • Seems amazing and will probably my upgrade from the arc

    I wish it had the colored bar like the U but apart from that this phone seems perfect.WhiteMagic and NovaThor makes up for mediocre battery capacity and it should last for atleast 24h
    I’m in love

  • Seems amazing and will probably my upgrade from the arc

    I wish it had the colored bar like the U but apart from that this phone seems perfect.WhiteMagic and NovaThor makes up for mediocre battery capacity and it should last for atleast 24h
    I’m in love

  • I’m holding the arc now(233 ppi) and you can just about tell that there are pixels when holding it 20cm from your eyes. The P’s 275 ppi should be next to impossible to spot pixles on, although the S’s 341 makes for even more viewing pleasure.

  • The battery itself is not spectacular, but the energy efficient NovaThor along with the WhiteMagic display (assuming you’ll use the standard 400-500 nit setting) will result in a above average batterylife

  • Anonymous

    does the transparent bar also light up like the Xperia S? 

  • Anonymous

    Xpera S
    1) 1280×720 342ppi 4.3″ display
    2) Anti-stain UV nano coating
    3) Port flaps
    4) Undockable
    5) Capacitive buttons above the transparent bar
    6) Transparent bar lights up
    7) 12 mpix camera; 1.3 mpix front camera

    Xperia P
    1) 960×540 4.0″ WhiteMagic display
    2) Aluminum unibody
    3) No Port Flops
    4) Dockable
    5) Capacitive buttons on the transparent bar
    6) Transparent bar does not light up
    8) 8 mpix camera; VGA front camera

    what to buy? :)

  • Xperia P! Hehe. Thats just my opinion. Apart from Sony’s own WhiteMagic display, I like the buttons on the transparent bar itself. Coming from Xperia arc, this is considered an upgrade aside the smaller screen from the Xperia P. But it comes with higher resolution and ppi.
    Personally, I dont like the port flaps of Xperia S.The only sacrifice are the 12MP stills, larger screen, HD screen and higher ppi.
    Im sold if the Xperia P’s screen is incorporated with the S.
    Xperia S with unibody, WhiteMagic HD display, button on transparent bar itself would be awesome!

  • spatch

    I think Sony (Ericsson) must have had a single design philosophy, but multiple teams working on their Xperia NXT hansets for 2012. How else can you account for the difference in capacitive buttons and port locations? I’m sure all Xperia S owners would love to have a media dock for their phones, but only the Xperia P holders will have that luxury. I want everything that the Xperia S has to offer, but to gain the most complete enjoyment out of my phone I want all the best accessories, and a dock is almost a deal breaker for me.

    Here’s hoping Sony can strike a deal to bring the Xperia Ion to Telstra’s new 4G LTE network in Australia, or I may just have to wait to see what they have in store for the 2nd half of the year, or maybe even 2013.

  • I’ll choose Xperia P, because the buttons are on the transparent bar itself, and they dont light up = won’t hurt when viewing in the dark… what’s more, it is dockable, and has an aluminum unibody… the display is fair enough for HD viewing, the cam is superb compared to most phones already :D

  • Cssf09

    and it is supposed to enter the micro-sim: |

  • Yes, when pressing any button or when you get a text or call.

    Only white light though, unlike the U

  • Guest

    The smaller non-expandable storage is a concern for me.

  • it seems cool to me, the iphone 4S drops  by 30% in 1hour of video

  • Anonymous

    What an absolutely gorgeous looking phone! The industrial look with the aluminium and the visible screw really works. 

    The moment it gets ICS I am getting this phone

  • Anonymous

    Xperia P looks sooo sexy!
    I want an Xperia S in Xperia P body, with colour-changing Xperia U transparent bar (and Xperia U price would make it the awesome-est phone ^^) do i want too much, Sony? -.-
    Does anyone know if there will be a dock for Xperia S?

  • Tymodmyt

    Dan Vafidis, what about Xperia Ray’s video playback time: up to 6 hrs 45 min???

    What about Xperia Arc/Arc S video playback time: up to 7 hrs 25 min???

    So, BatesOuts, I agree, Xperia P’s battery is SHIT!

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  • Guest

    I was sure I was going to buy an Xperia P until I learned the following in this article:
    – Transparent bar does not light up (really disappointed in this)
    – micro-sim; although not a deal breaker, I assumed the flap that was labelled ‘Sim’ meant it took a normal sim card.

    Plus the fact that the battery isn’t all that amazing, I really need to rethink if I want this…

  • Dvdvdv

    The lower part is made of plastic?

  • Damodara Kovie

    You forget the ion! ;)
    Though if you’re considering the ‘P’ and ‘S’ , you’re probably not in the US…
    I’m going for the ion!

  • Mark Walsh

    should be interesting to see what cases become available as most people use a screen protector and a case to prevent scratches should be interesting to see will people use a case over the aluminium??

  • Anonymous

    I’m not from the US but I Ion will also be released worldwide according to Sony.

  • guest

    Question: Does the P have a message notification light up front? Thanks.

  • ApemAn B

    Albeit the body is said to be made of Aluminum, its still does look like plastic.But Sounds better than Xperia S

  • Does it have illumination in transparent bar ?

  • Cheng

    hmm can someone or some source confirm, whether Xperia P transparent bar, LIGHTS UP? or not?
    If yes, as bright as Xperia S? or much dimmer? or does not light-up at all? really must know this as Im still considering S or P, while I probably will go for S….. anyone?~~~

  • Finally this is a “Its a SONY”?

  • 3rp3,3253,l%253D295300%2526a%253D294716%2526po%253D6,00.asp?p=n

  • 3rp3,3253,l%253D295300%2526a%253D294716%2526po%253D6,00.asp?p=n

  • I tested Android 4 on Xperia Arc. Lasted 20 hours. Xperia P has higher resolution and smaller battery. I estimate that with Android 4.0.3 lasts about 18 hours. And I am thinking about buying. It’s a wonderful phone.

  • Carl114


  • bIgoL

     P’s transparent bar does not light up, read the blog again.

  • bIgoL

    I like Xperia S, but it’s not scratch-resistant. If I go for Xperia P, the battery life is too short.

  • bIgoL

    Just to add, Xperia P doesn’t lit up on its transparent bar. 

  • Cheng

    After see Sony’s Xperia media press event in China, (, i see they do light up but very dim, if you compare to S. this blog has else info and posts (read the comments) about it lights up as well. but still not as bright as S thats for sure..

  • GZ

    Any idea when the Xperia P will get its ICS update?

  • Maulik_jadvani2001

    I bought it just last saturday and xperia P’s battry sucks, it does’t last 10hrs of normal usage, pricing at such a huge amount and is such a DISGRACE

  • Maulik_jadwani2001

    Dnt buy Xperia P, it has everything you dreamed of bt its battry wont last 8hrs also, its a no no for p

  • Anish Bose

    Yes it’s really really really eimbursing about its battery life.

  • r4nierisanob

    er i have the xperia p and the transparent bar does light up dick head plus is half the price of the s in my opinion anyone who brought the s is a dumb fuk coz you could of got the samsung galaxy s3 for the same price if your going for a top end phone you may as well go for the best the fact your comparing a mid range phone which is half the price to a top end phone tells you your xperia s isnt all that for a top end phone where as the xperia p is the dogs bollox for a mid range hand set knocking on the door of the big boy so i think its dumb to even compare the two phones as one is clearly better way more expensive and more powerfull yet you feel the need to defend it agaist a phone that is supposed to be way inferior but is actually coming pretty close other than processor power so hmmm WHAT TO BUY??I KNOW I LL SPEND TOP DOLLAR ON AN XPERIA S WHEN THERE IS WAY BETTER PHONES OUT THERE FOR THE SAME PRICE ALSO I LL SHOW HOW GREAT MY XPERIA S AND JUSTIFY MY SHIT DECISION BY COMPARING IT TO A PHONE HALF ITS PRICE HMM YEAH MAYBE THEN ILL FEEL BETTER ABOUT BUYING A PHONE THAT IS AS GOOD AS ITS MID RANGE BABY BROTHER THE XPERIA P AN NOT MUCH ELSE LOL



  • yuvraj

    is your battery cover’s color getting off automatically and it having bubbles on cover plate

  • i sold my P :) never got any scratches while using

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