Xperia S review roundup #2

by XB on 12th April 2012

in Reviews, Xperia S

Following our last review roundup for the Sony Xperia S, we’ve come across another nine reviews that we thought were worth sharing. Many of the arguments remain the same. On the plus side, the phone is praised for its display, design, camera and build quality. On the negative front, the lack of ICS on launch is the biggest bugbear along with pernickety capacitive buttons. Click through for the full roundup.

Android Central: “We think Sony’s dropped the ball in shipping its first major handset of 2012 with an old version of Android. But the Xperia S makes up for this shortcoming in other areas, not least of which is its hardware. Once it gets that sorely-needed ICS update, the Xperia S could be one of the first great handsets of the year. Until then, it’s another decent Android phone with a handful of outstanding features.”

Eurogamer: “While it delivers in terms of processing power and screen quality, the Xperia S repeats too many of the same mistakes Sony Ericsson was guilty of last year; unfocused software and poor integration of PlayStation services being two of the most galling issues. Still, the power behind this device will ensure that it remains a viable contender for the majority of 2012, and the promise of a forthcoming 4.0 update – which could solve many of the ills highlighted in this review – makes this a phone that is worth looking into if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Sony supporter.”

Expansys: “It’s probably clear by now that we really, really like the Xperia S. Design wise we loved the angular lines and very industrial design feel, and the glassy break near the bottom edge just gives this handset a little something extra and helps the overall innovative look. A great start for Sony’s Xperia NXT design aesthetic, and a very distinctive phone.”

GSM Arena: Sony without Ericsson. Xperia S a couple of cores short and a year late to the flagship party. Doubters may still have a point there but the Xperia S has more things going for it than against. We didn’t run into a situation where the available processing power wasn’t enough, so for the time being the dual-core vs. quad-core argument seems like a matter of pride rather than performance. The Sony Xperia S is aggressively priced, and offers a lot of bang for the buck. It can stand up to so many different phones – old, current and upcoming – that Sony can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

The Inquirer: “The Sony Xperia S offers a fantastic display and great multimedia features, but is let down by very poor battery life. It also needs an upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich.”

Modaco: “There’s no denying that it would have been nice if the device had arrived a little bit thinner than it is and maybe with some slightly more interesting design features (transparent strip aside), but on the whole Sony [Ericsson] have done a good job here. If your contract renewal comes round or you snag a Xperia S SIM free, probably at a price that undercuts a lot of its rivals, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.”

Pocket Gamer: “The Xperia S is undoubtedly the best smartphone to have been released by Sony (Ericsson) thus far. With an amazing screen that far exceeds the density of anything produced by Apple or its many other rivals (for now), excellent performance from both the processor and battery, and a great camera, there’s little to dislike beyond the questionable touch-sensitive buttons.”

Swedroid: “There really isn’t a perfect device out there and the Xperia S is of course no exception. Most of the problems such as the ever so slightly loose removable cover, doesn’t really matter that much. On the other hand we do have a major problem with the not so responsive front mounted capacitive buttons. To call them unresponsive might not be fair though since the problem really is about the touch sensitive area being too small. In time it does get better as we learn exactly where to press. We still never really feel that comfortable with them as we would’ve wished though and do hope that this is fixable via a FOTA update.”

VR-Zone: “The Xperia S touts itself as Sony’s flagship Android smartphone that was announced earlier this year, though we are disappointed that it has not been equipped with the latest quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 mobile processor, nor preloaded with Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. However, its 1.5GHz dual-core processor should be fast enough to run your mobile applications, let you game, video watching and even navigate your home screens seamlessly. For those who want to shoot high resolution pictures and HD videos with the phone’s built-in 12-megapixel camera will not be disappointed with the image quality. Like most dual-core phones, battery life performance is average, even after we have updated to the latest firmware updates that is available here.”

  • doraemonboi

    pernickety capacitive buttons… Use the phone for one month and I am used to them. Not a single miss when trying to tap onto the buttons. 

  • mastahmind

    after almost a month of owning the device i cant say i still have trouble with the capacitive buttons… and battery life is good now for me also…

  • fried_egg

    orange uk phones are getting an update to the latest firmware today…. hopefully battery life is what was fixed?

  • I’ve had it for almost 2 weeks and love it. And yeah not a miss – to be honest I don’t stab at them and instead do upward flicks over the area which guarantees a touch being registered.

    Also in Germany, SIM free, the latest firmware update has hit and I think it has made quite a difference to the battery life e.g. 7.5 hours on, sat with wifi on for about 7 hours and background updates each hour etc. Battery now at 52% (and I did use it this morning for about 15 mins on the way to work listening to music and reading a kindle book). Compare to Monday when I think at about this time it was more like 30%. Now true I have not made any calls, but I use it more for web than anything.

  • WaelFaddah

    i have to admit Xperia S, is the best phone Sony ever produced yet, but if it was up to me, i could have made it better. 

  • Tiborh

    i always bought ericsson and after Sony ericsson phones. BUT with NO amoled display, …I will give to motorola, razr,

  • Bruce

    Xperia S is a decent phone and it would have been much better if it had ICS preloaded, MicroSD card slot and multicolour strip.
    Volume rocker is used for camera zooming so it should have been placed highest point not middle of phone and camera a little lower so we don’t cover it with our fingers while shooting

    I would have paid the extra price/cost if any needed.

  • AlexBurnout

    Eurogamer is so damn stupid

  • Xperiaslover

    All the review are touch on the service thou -> no of which talk about the otg usb

  • Dan

    Some peoples are plain stupid amoled is not the best display, this one on xs is far better than amoled right now

  • phones that have ton of cores with super OMG amoled + that are anorexically thin means noting if its not software optimized. i was suprized that the this phone was able to render pages faster and smoother than the one x (hence that phone ran on android 4.0). For me that is enough to buy one.

  • Ghostrider007

    Hi Chris and doraemonboi. Great to hear that you are thoroughly enjoying the phone. This is Ruchi from australia, i wanted to know about the in-call volume. Coz there are 50% of forums and reviews saying its not loud enough and 50% saying its loud enough. I owned SE w995, X10, Xperia arc. x10 sucked, Xperia arc is better but still not good enough for crowded places like streets, and the w995 was the loudest. w995 even betas iphone4 volume heads up. Can you guys please tell about the in-call volume as you have already made enough calls on it I guess???????

  • OafleyJones

    There are some great AMOLED diplays out there, but you won’t find them in a Motorola product.  The RAZR screen – qHD Pentile – in particular is horrible.

  • I would say the in-call volume was comparable with the Arc. It’s not as loud as the w995, which is the loudest phone I’ve ever encountered. But much better than the X10!

  • Agreed. I had an x10 before this one. Call quality is pretty good. Also I think the sound boost option may also help?

    As an update on battery usage – Full day of my moderate usage.

    List of things running in the background:
    quarter hour background update of three email accounts
    hourly background update of account synching e.g. facebook and google
    hourly updates of seesmic (4 accounts running)
    hourly updates of google reader
    hourly updates of pulse
    wifi on for 70% of time
    small amount of kindle reading
    small amount of angry birds in space

    Screen brightness set to 25% of max

    Time for battery death? 14 hours.

    So a heavier user who actually makes calls more frequently and is moving out and about with the phone scanning the cell network – perhaps a 9-10 hour life span. I would say that is pretty good compared to the old x10 and these multicore – unoptimized monsters.

    I seriously hope Sony keeps to the idea of optimizing – I would rather have something with 6 month old hardware (that has been fully understood in that time frame) properly optimised, than some beast with all the new tech running glitchy.

    I work in the field of computational chemistry. While technology gets faster and you can have even bigger servers, it can just mean you are wasting energy in getting bad results faster. This is why I am in the business of creating better simulation techniques – which though slower – mean you get better results. I feel there is this sort of danger in mobile phones. Tech for the sake of tech, rather than having it all work together to give something altogether greater than the sum of the parts. Essentially that is what apple does.

    Now my wife has a iphone 3Gs and that thing still does what it was design for really well. She got it at the same time I got my x10. My x10 didn’t feel comparable until it had reached the end of the support SE gave the device, and had all the updates, which of course all worked with the device to give a better final product.

    Summary – having last years tech often is a bad thing as that tech is better understood and can be better optimized.

  • Oh and game wise…. look at getting Elder Signs. Very good adaptation of the table top game and it looks great on this phone (I have it on my tablet as well).

  • I like my S a lot but there is one thing few reviewers are picking up on – if you’re typing with the phone vertical and you slightly miss the space bar the odds are good you’ll hit the home button and be thrown out of your app. There aren’t more than 2mm between the bottom of the space bar and the Home capacitance button.  On the Arc (or the X10 for that matter) the physically raised home button stopped the typing finger sliding down like that. And the older buttons required more pressure than the light touch of the capacitance button.

    In some apps you can lose all  your typing when you flip to the home page this way, so it can be a major annoyance.

  • Chrisme_12

    I just bought my Xperia s and there still nothing like this device, the screen the camera, it’s fast, easy to use. I was with iPhones since the first one, and this phone it’s worth it. :-D

  • Pingback: Xperia S Android 4.0.4 ICS firmware (6.1.A.0.452) review | Xperia Blog()

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