Last 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.