Xperia SP review roundup

by XB on 27th June 2013

in Featured Content, Reviews, Videos, Xperia SP

Xperia SP ReviewWe are fans of Sony’s mid-ranger, the Xperia SP (C530X). The aluminium frame and hefty weight combine to make it feel like a solid handset, the customisable illumination bar has long been awaited for and, overall, nothing is missing from the feature set. Not everything is perfect though as the display is more washed out than others and the 8MP camera isn’t as good as it should be.

These two criticisms have largely been echoed across other reviews, although despite this, the handset is praised for being a great all-rounder for the price (especially considering the inclusion of LTE). We’ve rounded up some of the best reviews of the Xperia SP, check them out below.

Xperia SP review roundup

Android Authority: “If you are a spec fiend, there isn’t anything on the Xperia SP to get you excited. You’ll be better off with an Xperia Z (if you prefer Sony), Galaxy S4, or HTC One. However, if you are a budget-conscious customer that wants to get the most bang for the buck, the Sony Xperia SP is an excellent choice. It costs far less than current high-end devices, and it’s able to hold its own respectably.”

Clove: “Using the Xperia SP has been somewhat of a refreshing experience. I have not been wowed by anything but nothing has pushed me away. I feel at home with it. If I had to complain then there are some small niggles like the memory (it would be touch and go for me) and placement of the microUSB connector but these are not necessarily deal breakers. If I had to part with my hard earned money on a new phone then the SP would be at the top of my list next to the Nexus 4 whist similar Samsung models would be kicked out of contention due to their price.”

Cnet Asia: “The Xperia SP could have been a great smartphone with its solid build and great design. However, the poor display and camera performance lets the phone down. Retailing at S$598 in Singapore, the handset seems aggressively priced, especially against the HTC One SV (which has a street price of around S$500 but lower specs).”

Cnet UK: “The Xperia SP’s specs won’t trouble the flagship phones, but it has loads to offer for a more modest price tag. Its 720p screen is sharp, its dual-core processor is enjoyably swift and the crisp white design and flashing notification light will certainly find a few fans. Its camera didn’t impress in my tests and Sony’s own app stores and controller connections needs some improvement. If you’re looking for a well-performing all rounder though, and don’t want to spend upwards of 600 smackers, the SP is an excellent option to consider.”

Engadget: “The Xperia SP is by no means perfect. It’s got a grime- and glare-loving screen that misses the mark despite its HD resolution. Other problems: a penchant for bloatware and other small flaws like the terrible WiFi reception. The design may be a little bland for those who aren’t interested in the transparent element, but the build quality is solid. Also to its credit are the capable shooter, long battery life and internal hardware that delivers serious performance for the price point. Something that’s hard to get across when you’re reviewing individual facets is just how charming the handset is. You know it’s not punching in the same weight class as the HTC One and Galaxy S 4, but it comes close. So close, in fact, that if you want to consider this a mid-range device, it would be easy to conclude the Xperia SP is the best mid-range device. It’s attractive, does what you ask of it without complaint and has character, to boot. What more could you want from a pocket companion that’s easy on your bank balance?”

Gizmodo UK: “The battery life on this thing is great. I was regularly getting two day’s usage out of the Xperia SP, something I can’t really say for any other smartphone for a while. This is most likely due to the combination of a 2375mAh battery and that dual-core processor, which makes the Xperia SP pretty frugal in stand-by. For £250, then, the Xperia SP is a damn good phone. From a hardware perspective, the only thing that feels at all lacking is the screen, which leaves you feeling underwhelmed at times. From every other angle, though, it’s a well-rounded package, and the usefulness of two-day battery life really can’t be overstated.”

GSM Arena: “Long story short, we believe the Sony Xperia SP to be one of the most compelling packages in the new midrange. It looks good and behaves admirably. It should definitely keep an eye on some of last season’s quad-core smartphones, but probably not fear them too much.”

The Inquirer: “The Sony Xperia SP is a reasonable Android smartphone boasting decent performance and battery life and all the inherent perks of its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mobile operating system. However, the phone’s ability to shine is hampered by a slightly dull display, an ordinary camera, not much internal storage and less than stellar software additions.”

Know Your Mobile: “The battery life and display are fantastic, while the camera and overall performance are reasonable. The design and build quality are both great and in terms of value for money you get a lot of good stuff at an affordable price, including 4G, expandable memory, NFC and MHL – a lot of these are things the Google Nexus 4 is missing in a similar price bracket. It’s always a good sign if we’re sorry to see a review unit go when we’re done with it and that’s pretty much the case here.”

Phone Arena: “There is no such thing as a perfect smartphone, and the Sony Xperia SP won’t be the one to break that rule. However, looking at its pros and cons after testing it extensively, we can confidently conclude that it’s a mid-range smartphone worthy of attention. It is a capable multimedia device suitable for those who want the benefits associated with high-end devices – the large, high-resolution screen and fast processor, to name a few, but in a mid-range package that doesn’t cost as much as a flagship handset. Plus, you get LTE connectivity as an added bonus. But keep in mind that the Sony Xperia SP doesn’t really have that great of a camera, as much as Sony’s marketing department want to convince you otherwise.”

Pocket-Lint: “The Sony Xperia SP is a good mid-range phone. There’s power and flexibility on board and there’s the performance to back it up, aside from a few minor quirks. The design of the handset is good too with the metal frame giving the SP a nice solid feel. We’re not sold on the flashing bar however, it just seems a little too much at times, especially when you’re lying awake at night, watching it illuminate your bedroom. The camera performance isn’t great. Although there’s a lot on offer, it just doesn’t seem to all come together and give you the good shots you’d sometimes expect, with focusing being the thing that frustrated us the most. However, the Sony Xperia SP is reasonably priced and for that you get a good display and a device that will showcase the fun of Android nicely, with a battery that will get you through the day.”

The Register: “The Xperia SP suffers from some of the same failings as the Xperia Z but also benefits from many of the same strengths. The difference is that the failings are fewer, and, at the price, more forgivable. The strengths, again at the price, are more gratifying. The large screen, top-notch build quality, impressive battery life, powerful yet efficient chipset and LTE radio are all very welcome on a handset you can pick up for £300.”

Think Digit: “The 8MP camera on the Xperia SP is, just like all the Sony phones we have reviewed in the last 12 months – a disappointment. For all the claims of new innards and revolutionary technology, the fact remains simple – low light shots are pretty much useless. We had the same problem with the Xperia Z, and now with the Xperia SP. There is just too much noise in any picture taken in less than perfect lighting. On the opposite end, shots taken outdoors during the day or in good light are crisp and fairly good. The colour richness is fairly generous, and so is the overall crispness of the shot. To top it off, the camera does take a bit of time to actually be ready to take a shot, but the fairly quick shutter speeds make up for that by letting you take shots in quick succession.”

T3: “Sony’s excellent design and build quality are evident here. The Sony Xperia SP looks great, though the notification system, a Perspex bar at the base of the phone that glows with different colours for different purposes, will divide users. The camera is not Sony’s best, though the hardware shutter trigger is useful. This is a solid, effective handset that’s good value and has strong specifications. It may not be the Xperia Z but it’s certainly worth considering.”

Tech Radar: “Despite noticeable shortcomings with storage space and occasional processor speed, we really came to like the Sony Xperia SP. It’s a handset that so desperately wants to be able to sit at the grown-up table even though it’s really only a mid-level device. The excellent camera and range of connectivity that includes NFC and 4G go hand-in-hand with a great design and a screen size that will be just right for someone that doesn’t want a high-end 5-inch monster. Heavy users will likely get frustrated with the moderate battery and mediocre processor. But if you want to save a bit of money and still own a smartphone that you can show off at parties or around the office, you could do a lot worse than picking up the Sony Xperia SP.”

Trusted Reviews: “The Xperia SP is a very likeable mid-range phone. It’s reasonably powerful for the price, has a stellar line up of features and looks pretty fly too. However, Sony needs to iron out a few quirks in its software, and the phone’s battery life isn’t quite as impressive as specs would suggest.”

Unleash the Phones: “The Xperia SP is definitely the best mid-range smartphone that Sony has made to date. While one could argue that there is room for improvement with regards to its camera and display (I’d love to see Sony’s WhiteMagic LCD technology being implemented on more Xperia devices), the company has built a smartphone with a distinctive and thoughtful design, excellent build quality, great performance and battery life and a very well-designed user interface that improves upon the vanilla Android experience without detracting from Google’s design principles. In short, the Xperia SP is a mid-range smartphone that could pass off as high-end without breaking a sweat, and I’ve just loved having the biggest notification LED ever on my phone. If you are not too particular about image quality or don’t intend to use your phone camera for anything more than taking photos of your food, your pets and the odd gathering with friends, the Xperia SP is the mid-range Android phone you want.”

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