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.”

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