Xperia ion review roundup [AT&T Edition]

by XB on 25th June 2012

in Reviews, Xperia ion


Xperia ionThe Xperia ion recently went on sale in the United States and to coincide with the launch most of the major US tech sites published their reviews of the handset. The reviews are largely mixed with the negatives focused, predictably, on a lack of Ice Cream Sandwich, poor battery life and issues with the capacitive buttons.

On the positive side, the handset wins points for its competitive price point, 12MP camera, good looks and 4G LTE speeds. Click through for all of the main reviews we’ve come across. The Xperia ion is available exclusively on AT&T for a $50 upfront fee and a two-year contract.

Xperia ion review roundup [AT&T Edition]

Android Central: “Sony has done a great job with this device, while they still have customized the UI, they haven’t gone overboard and they have kept the AOSP speed that we have grown to love. The small additions like the quick launch for the camera and built in panoramic are greatly appreciated, but we could do without some of the bloat. The decision is your own ultimately, but don’t pass up the phone just because of some specs on a piece of paper, give it a try for yourself.”

Ars Technica: “Sony without Ericsson still isn’t quite up to the task of competing with the big boys—an iPhone or Galaxy S III this is not, especially being so woefully behind as to still be running Android 2.3. Still, we came out impressed, especially given the reasonable price point—hopefully issues like the handling of the camera button and soft keys, can be fixed with software updates.”

Cnet: “Sony’s new $99.99 Xperia Ion offers some good features for its affordable price. But don’t be fooled by its low cost; the handset is definitely a step behind today’s flagship Android devices such as the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III. Even the Xperia’s 12-megapixel camera can’t hold a candle to the imaging systems on those high-powered gadgets. A better choice is the Nokia Lumia 900, which for the same price has a more attractive design and better camera. But if you’re wedded to Android on AT&T, then I suggest saving up for a more capable device.”

Engadget: “The Ion could’ve been a serious contender had Sony not compromised on certain features. This wants to be a heavyweight by the looks of its 720p display, HD mirroring, 12-megapixel camera and NFC inclusion. Instead, what it winds up doing in its quest to placate both geek tastes and Joe Blow sensibilities is carve out a lonely island for itself.”

Gizmodo: “The phone is beautiful on the outside but it runs like a dog turd in snow-melt. Maaaaybe it’ll help when it upgrades to Android 4.0 (if Sony doesn’t butcher it with its rather unappealing skin), but the fact that it’s this far behind doesn’t lend confidence. Even for a mid-range, moderately-priced phone, it shouldn’t perform this poorly, and it certainly shouldn’t have ancient software on it. Sony has been moving at a snail’s pace in the Android race, and if it wants to have any impact at all, phones like this are not gonna do it.”

Laptop Mag: “Sony took its sweet time from announcement to availability with the Xperia ion, but you get a lot of smartphone for your $99. The 12-MP camera, HD display, and and 4G LTE speeds all impress, even if the processing power trails higher end devices like the Galaxy S III. Sony also sweetens the deal with easy access to its entertainment services and clever accessories. Unfortunately, the design is relatively heavy and bulky and the Gingerbread OS feels dated. If you don’t need the latest and greatest OS, the ion is a solid mid-range choice.”

MobileBurn: “The Sony Xperia ion appears to bring a lot to the table when you look at its spec sheet alone. It has a large, high-resolution display, dual-core processor, high-resolution camera, and speedy network support. Unfortunately, in practice, the ion’s frustrating hardware, sluggish performance, dated software, and awful battery life combine to provide a pretty bad user experience. The most appealing part of the ion might be its price, since AT&T is offering it for only $99.99 with a new two-year contract. Still, there are much better options available from the carrier for a little bit more money or even the same price. As Sony’s first real effort in the U.S. this year, I must say that the Xperia ion comes up short. Perhaps Sony will do better the next time around.”

PC Mag: “The Sony Xperia Ion is a quirky yet powerful media phone with terrific TV connectivity options and poor call quality. If your phone is your media hub, the Xperia Ion is your phone. While it isn’t the best all-around smartphone on AT&T—that credit goes to the slimmer, sleeker and more powerful Samsung Galaxy S III—this phone offers unique benefits for anyone aiming to connect their phone to a TV.”

PhoneArena: “The Sony Xperia ion would’ve been a downright success if it were launched months ago. Still, we can’t help think about its immaculate $99.99 on-contract price point, which is undoubtedly one of its greatest attributes – much like the Nokia Lumia 900. The Sony Xperia ion has enough gas in the tank to compete with most of its esteemed rivals. However, if you prefer something more awe-inspiring and comprehensive, we recommend checking out the HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S III.”

PhoneDog: “The processor may be last-generation, but snagging an HD display and 4G LTE connectivity for under $100 isn’t bad.”

TechCrunch: “For all of the Ion’s foibles (and there are quite a few), there’s still plenty to like here. The Xperia Ion definitely leans to the more premium end of the mid-range spectrum, and it tries valiantly to punch above its weight with features like its solid camera, media functionality, and great display. Its price tag too makes a pretty compelling statement — there are far worse things you could get for $99. Despite how harsh I may have been with some of my comments, I really do think the Ion is a good phone. With a few minor tweaks and perhaps a helping of Ice Cream Sandwich, the Xperia Ion may eventually grow to become a must-buy, but it’s not quite there yet.”

The Verge: “The Xperia ion feels very much like it could have been a flagship phone had it been released earlier, but instead it is solidly in the mid-range. Mid-range phones are all about compromise, and the Xperia ion is definitely compromised. It’s simply not a good bet to buy a brand-new Android phone with Gingerbread as the base OS. There are enough good parts to the Xperia ion to make me believe that Sony has the ability to seriously compete in the high-end smartphone market — but it certainly hasn’t done so here.”

Wired: “The fact is, releasing a phone running Gingerbread at this point is unacceptable. Ice Cream Sandwich made its debut last November and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean could show up as early as this week. Granted, Sony has dressed up Gingerbread with a few alterations that make it look and behave closer to what a consumer can expect from ICS, and it runs fast despite what is certainly a heavy skin over the top operating system.Alas, the Ion ends up a mixed bag: a phone with impressive internal specs, a top-notch camera and a beautiful screen, all wrapped in an outdated design and powered by an outdated OS. It isn’t a strong debut from the Japanese electronics giant, but it’s halfway there, and that’s at least encouraging. I’m optimistic about Sony’s next attempt.”

  • AlexBurnout

    A sincerly fuck you Cnet. Fuck you bitches.

  • blurb8

    Poor battery life is a problem of all xperias, sony should really focus on this! The xperia go has a weaker battery than the ray, and this doesnt last hardly longer than 24 hours :-/

  • M Usman

    the only thing I agree is with poor battery life. especially after the ics upgrade, battery life on my xperia s is terrible. like x10 days on donut. but everyone else is so biased towards Sony! its terrible

  • XYZ

    This is primarily AT&T’s fault anyway.
    The international version launched with ICS, but ATT’s retardation with updates obviously didn’t allow it. There is no other conceivable reason.
    They’re probably also the reason for the delay of its US launch.

  • I’ve heard more negative’s than I would have liked about this phone. Battery life is probably the most important thing to me so it’s discouraging to hear that the battery life isn’t too great. I don’t know if I want to give up my Arc S with ICS that regularly lasts me about a day or more on it’s battery. But on the other hand, this phone is getting ICS and Jelly Bean. Decisions, decisions.

  • The_Newtype

    Guys, some of these reviews are probably spot on.

    It ships with an OS that was released in 2010 (!!) with no sign of an official update. Apart from the price, this phone is insanely average.

  • The O.S. is definitely a disappointment and a big fumble by Sony. But it will get ICS, Sony has already said that, and from what I’ve read around the web, it’s also getting Jelly Bean.

  • I know ion is a little bit outdated, but wtf Cnet, why so biased?!

  • Loz

    I managed to get the Samsung Galaxy s3 and all though at first sight it is not a beautiful phone… the design grows on you as it melts into your hand, this is my first phone from Sony, I had always been a Sony from my first phone to the Xperia x10 I have to say, Sony have been lacking behind! Get your legs together Sony! I can run the Phone department better!

  • mike_b

    In all honesty i expected better from Cnet. At this point I’ve lost all faith them, what happened to clear unbiased professional reviews, even Engadget had a more balance review.

  • AllaT

    The truth poor job by Sony

    The phone is thick but battery average
    Xperia p Have 1300 battery….. who make this poor decisions?

    Also putting so many pixels in small sensor make picture quality worse – but Sony
    Marketing just push more pixels and they think people will not care about actual pictures

  • DJ

    This is exactly why Sony should start moving their arses and release the int’l GX or the Mint. With reviews like these, they’ll be losing tons of customers who aren’t fanboys/enthusiasts. The funny thing is, they have AWESOME devices in their arsenal but instead of working on getting them out ASAP, they give us this outdated, underpowered piece of junk which should’ve been available MONTHS ago.

  • The_Newtype

    If it’s anything like past devices on AT&T, this phone will be long forgotten before that ever happens — if it ever happens.

  • They need to read carefully features Ion one more time.

  • Jake

    Yup . Recommend lumia 900 which are dead before even launch . wp7.8 lmao

    and 2010 chip better than 2011 chip ? 8mp vs 12 mp ? Not mentioning price tag .

    I couldnt see more biased review somewhere else .

  • Jake

    Ppl are commenting with a real phone in hand . Its picture is better than sgIII and one x etc .
    You don even have a device in hand and still can comment base on nothing . Great job .

  • xyro

    Its terrible that you lie base on nothing . I have a xperia s in hand and i know that you don .
    Its battery life is better / same after ICS update . Why must you lie when you don even have a device on ur palm ?

  • naathaanS

    Fuck gizmodo too

  • ???

    hmm i have waiting for this phone for a very long time. but look at this many negative comments, so should i get xperia S or xperia ion?

  • most of the sites have provided biased reviews of xperia ion…
    here are the reasons-
    1. they are blaming sony for shipping ion with 2.3 but the truth is that in other parts of the world ion is shipping with ICS, so one should blame AT&T for this shit.
    2. cnet is just too biased…, camera of lumia 900 is just average as per other sites while they couldn’t even find a single problem with ion
    3. battery life— as per engadget, ION has respectable battery life when compared with other LTE devices available in USA. Many of them compared battery life of a LTE enabled ION with HSPA phones out there giving totally false info…

  • kazu

    how did ion’s camera not hold a candle against iphone and sgs3?

  • Skipped Buying a Xperia S for this , cant wait for it to be available here in the Philippines!

  • alfino

    I agree with you, The Lumia 900 is poor than Xperia Ion

  • alfino

    I think so

  • tarek ali

    sorry to go off topic or even late about this news but what happened to xperiax10.net? When i go there, it says it’s hacked

  • Rafa

    yes like in Indonesia Xperia ion bring the ICS!

  • Goodbye Xperia S.Hello Xperia Ion xD

  • TGO

    As someone with ICS I really don’t get the outdated bit, it must be one of those mind over substance things, they know it ain’t ICS so they tell themselves its dated when the difference is not much, especially with the enhancements so adds, and to say the hardware is dated and then to mention a iPhone 4s?
    what Planet are they on?

  • M Usman

    omg what the hell are you on. I’ve owned 2 Xperia S devices since launch day! So not can I only comment on my behalf but also on behalf of my friend who has also been experiencing poor battery life. Frankly if I could attach a picture to this comment like Disqus used to allow then I would, but I hope this video on my YouTube channel puts your stupidity aside before you consider accusing anyone else of not owning something they say they do. Just because your battery life is good doesn’t account for all of us.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1aPcd24Yfw&list=UU-l4ayOuWHT0KGEpnYZMR8w&index=0&feature=plcp oh and next time you try communicating with me, try speaking real English. Your terrible mate

  • Slaze

    join me waiting for international XPERIA GX ^_^

  • ???

    when will it be out? if it is not out by this year, i will get ion first.

  • jsantos303

    Tough love from critics.

  • jx

    whats fucking wrong with CNET people? they are stupid and official Sony destroyer! BOYCOT CNET!!!!!

  • jx

    i agree on your comments regarding cnet, but i disagree about engadget balance review. they are all biased!!!

  • *us

  • You can’t take them serious. I wonder why they were included as a ‘review’

  • out of s and ion (depends on when the ics update will be available for the ion) but the ion got a battering in the reviews

  • Well with the way phones and technology evolve these days, that could be said about any phone.

  • mike_b

    I said more balanced, i didn’t say it wasn’t biased. Personally i think all Engadget reviews are crap, especially when it comes to Sony products (but they made some good points, like commending it’s battery life when compered to other LTE devices).

  • AlexBurnout

    Gizmodo and CNET were terrible

  • spcsimmons

    Day 3 with the at&t ion its not perfect but I love it and yes I’m a Sony fan boy. It in many ways is the x10 part2

  • Slaze

    Sony still keeps silence on it, even at CommunicAsia 2012 not a single word about GX :( But I believe in Sony, every day refresh xperiablog.

  • ICS is certainly nothing special. There aren’t even really any differences, at least nothing substantial to complain about. It is definitely a mind over matter thing. Besides, this phone will get ICS and it’s probably gonna get Jelly Bean as well.

  • fastracedriver

    Riviews are decent I guessI . The processor obviously it not the fastest but everything else is good. Can believe why it is taking long for ICS OS and still using gingerbread. Of course everyone have their views, opnion but Cnet is something that everyone should avoid.

    Cnet is very very baised. I cannot believe how they like some phone and then blast the other phone so much and try to justify it. It is by far the worst site.

    Everyone please ignore Cnet. They are turd

  • Angry Sony Fan

    Sony release 1.6 android phone while others have 2.xx. Sony release gingerbread while others are enjoying the ics. Nice job sony, next time you should release ICS phones when jellybean almost retire

  • GrammarNazi

    OMG what the hell are you on? I’ve owned 2 Xperia S’ since
    launch day! So not only can I comment on my behalf, but also on the behalf of my
    friend who also has been experiencing poor battery life. If I could attach a
    picture to this comment like Disqus used to, then I would. But I hope this
    video on my YouTube channel puts your stupidity aside before you consider
    accusing anyone else of not owning something they say they do. Just because
    your battery life is good, that doesn’t account for all of us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
    Oh and the next time you try communicating with me, try speaking real English.
    You’re terrible mate.

    PROTIP: If you’re going to be a goddamn grammar nazi on a
    freaking smartphone blog, then at least do it right. l2grammarnazi

  • Chiwala

    Just stop lying by putting random link for ur own good .

  • Jake

    Enough with ur lie .

  • GrammarNazi

    @64cd5bced3dc054fc843af5da2332dbb:disqus @64cd5bced3dc054fc843af5da2332dbb:disqus

    Are you both blind? Or just retarded? I copypasta’d M Ustman’s reply to xyro wherein he was bashing xyro for having terrible english. He was being a faggot wannabe grammar nazi but if you actually look at his post, he made more mistakes than a monkey on a computer with a 10 inch dildo up his ass. What I did, being a dick grammar nazi myself, was copy his retarded post and corrected his mistakes, proving that he is a faggot and a douche for trying to sound cool bashing someone’s “terrible” English while being terrible himself. I don’t even know why I bothered explaining this shit to both of you bloody idiots but for actually making me give a fuck, here’s a cookie.

  • Evita

    What da hells they mostly moaning is ICS

    PLEASE look how ICS penetrating to Android market since debut

    less than 10% of current crops in market is running ICS

    That’s pretty SICK moaning!

  • FRKD

    I’m getting this phone in a couple of days…..Cnet can ^%$# my !$#@

  • Jay

    Thinking of this oner the One X what are your thoughts?

  • M Usman

    fuck all of you. i don’t need to prove anything to any of you to whether I actually own the Xperia S or not! You lot are retarded. And this post was not for you GrammarNazi. Bravo for trying to correct my mistakes dumbass. Your the only one with something stuck up your ass. Stop getting involved where your not wanted you ass hole! screw you

  • M Usman

    and I wasn’t bashing his English. He pissed me off by stating I don’t own an Xperia S therefore I should not be commenting!

  • Xperia is most preferable peace compare to the Lumia 900. The numerous feature are introduced in it that’s the main reason why people are like to being part of this product.

  • Just Saying…

    All these lack of ICS comlaints are annoying. It’s in AT&T for that problem, not Sony, and besides that, the Ion will get ICS in October

  • Hey, hi ! I am planning to buy a XPERIA bt confused between Ion & Acro S ! Suggest me the best one please.

  • Unless your name is Apple or Tim Cook, you will NEVER have a good review from CNet

  • With ICS upgrade this phone rocks. Volume problem also fixed.

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