Review of Ice Cream Sandwich on Xperia Arc S

Discussion in 'Xperia arc and Xperia arc S' started by Charl, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Charl

    Charl Member

    Hello forum!

    As you probably know by now, some 2011 Xperia phones have been updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, I am going to review this update for the Xperia Arc S, updating this post every once in a while.

    First impression.
    When starting the phone for the first time with ICS you are welcomed by the new lock screen, now with a camera shortcut instead of the Audio on/off switch. This may be of more use for some people, maybe not to others, however you can not change it. When playing music, a simple player with play/pause, next & previous buttons will appear. The lock screen looks much better now, it looks considered and the contrast looks good.

    What you will quickly notice is the different dock bar, the new notification bar and the new stock application icons (Phone, messaging, web browser etc.). The big disappointment however is when you first scroll the home screens. When doing this you will have bad response and slow, laggy transitions. The same is for the app drawer, however it's not as bad. Moving widgets is laggy as well, however, adding widgets with the new 3d scrolling is really nice and the ability to resize them is useful. The laggy home screens, widgets and app drawer are the biggest disappointments with the entire update. On the contrary, the new design looks really exclusive. Speaking of widgets, some of the widgets have been modified, for example, one of the calendars is redesigned, this is a big improvement, especially since the resizing of this widgets works really well.

    The redesigned camera interface.
    On the left you have four shortcuts for options, these can be replaced by dragging the icons from the option menu to the icon slots on the left side. They are bigger than they used to be, which makes them easier to use. The different options remains almost untouched, two of the three shutter sounds have been removed, it is now an on/off button, resulting in a very clean look. In my opinion, this is not a drawback, the other two sounds were unnecessary.

    There is now a virtual on-screen camera button, it's really appealing and a joy to use, compared to the dedicated camera button which is extremely hard to press down all the way. Earlier if you wanted to only focus with a touch on the screen and then take the picture you had to first press the area on the screen where you wanted to focus, then use the annoying physical camera button. Now you can press the screen to focus instantly and then take the photo with the on-screen button.
    Taking photos is slightly faster. You can take a single photo in just over half a second, you can view it almost instantly after you captured the photo by pressing it in the bottom right corner. In 5 seconds you can take 6-7 photos, but you have to wait another 5 seconds until you can view them. Viewing the images is a joy! The new gallery lets you switch between images without any load time or blurriness, you can easily share the photo or delete it without using the physical buttons.

    The browser.
    The new browser is beautiful with it's smooth, fading animations. There are a few more options, one of them are the quick-controls. Slide your finger from the edge of the screen towards the middle and a handful of options will fade in as a half circle around your finger; new window, choose window, bookmarks, address bar and options. (selecting "options" is equivalent to pressing the physical options key) These are really easy to use and it makes browsing faster and more joyful.
    The browsers performance is not really improved. Panning around the page is slightly more smooth but occasionally it gets a bit choppy. Zooming in is really smooth, however when zooming out, the whole page is white and it needs to re-render all content, on heavy websites with loads of images this can become very messy and irritating. Sometimes when filling in text boxes on websites, the responsiveness of the keyboard gets so bad you can barely write, there will sometimes be a 3 second latency for each press, it can even hang the operating system, this has happened to me once.

    You get a new selection of themes, they are all similar to the old ones but look better in general. There are a bunch of cool new live wallpapers, they all look very "Ice Cream Sandwich-ish", and thats a good thing.

    The notification bar is black and semi-transparent, there is a shortcut for settings and you can easily swipe notifications to the side to remove them. The new settings menu looks better, it's much more organized and it gives you on/off switches for bluetooth and WiFi. It's easier to use and it finally gives you a separate section for battery usage.

    You can now fully mute the phone, no signal nor vibration, by pressing volume down one more time when it's on vibration or by selecting it from the power button menu.

    You can no longer take screenshots from the power button menu.

    Now to sum up what we have so far:

    +++New Gallery
    +++New Camera interface
    ++New notification bar
    ++New widgets, resizable widgets, widget menu
    ++New themes & live wallpapers | -Should be a wider selection
    +New lock screen | -Can not be customized
    +New settings menu
    +Home screen design
    +Browser interface and functions

    ---Laggy home screens
    ---Laggy app drawer
    ---No updated app drawer
    --Disappointing browser performance
    -Removed screenshot shortcut

    EDIT: New Section

    Install Apex Launcher for smooth home screens, resizing all widgets, new smooth app drawer and more.
  2. Charl

    Charl Member

    Feel free to ask questions and share your opinions, tips and experiences of the new Android 4.0 :)
  3. Vipin J S

    Vipin J S New Member

    Hope you've used arc s with ICS for atleast 2 months. Somewhere else I read that the ICS update for Arc S bundled with lot of bugs (don't knw d specifics).. Shall I go for an update or not, whats ur opinion ?
  4. Charl

    Charl Member

    I'm running the good old 2.3.4 right now and that is also my recommendation.

    Mostly for the smoothness in the UI and also because I like the bold style of it compared to ICS. I miss nothing from ICS, the multitasking is faster and the browser is more capable with better support for advanced websites. In ICS apps crash regularly and the phone seems tired with the heavy ICS resting on it's shoulders. I simply see no reason to update.
  5. Vipin J S

    Vipin J S New Member

    Thanks mate.. Happy New Year.. :)
  6. Ashwin Shaji

    Ashwin Shaji New Member

    Wanna upgrade to ics.Pls help me
    From where should i download package and how should i do it.?Is it free from bugs.?Reviews.
    Help me out..Not an android expert :(
  7. Ashwin Shaji

    Ashwin Shaji New Member

    If possible explain in steps./
    ty :))
  8. guizos

    guizos New Member


    How did you manage to go back to 2.3.4? I just updated my phone and it feels much more slow than before. Where you able to keep all your apps, contacts, etc.?

    Thanks a lot!