As we already pointed in our preview, the XPERIA Arc could’ve had a better shutter key and lens location, but imaging is still a key selling point.
The XPERIA Arc boasts an 8 megapixel snapper with a single LED flash. The Arc uses an Exmor R backlit sensor which, in theory, provides better low-light images. In reality the advantage of the backlit technology is marginal at best.
The user interface of the Arc’s camera is quite intuitive. You have a bar with five shortcuts to popular features on the right, a bar with the latest captured images on the left and still camera/camcorder switch at the bottom.
The five most used shortcuts allow you to change the capturing mode, resolution, to pick a scene, turn on flash and enable/disable touch capture (i.e. take a shot by pressing the viewfinder).
Upon pressing the menu key you get some extra customizable options like focus mode, white balance, geo tagging and image stabilization. As is to be expected from a device in this class, the XPERIA Arc also boasts face detection and smile shot.
The image quality is excellent. There’s plenty of fine detail in the XPERIA Arc shots (though surprisingly a bit lower compared to the X10) and the color rendering is good. Color saturation is slightly on the high side, but it's not too bad and if you are into punchier colors you might even like it better this way. There are no purple-fringing or over sharpening – noise levels are in check too.
Photo quality comparison
We’ve also added the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. The Tool’s page has a quick how to guide and also what to look for.
HD video recording is a hot feature recently and the XPERIA Arc is doing pretty well with the frame rate. It’s 30fps and quite steady too. There were a few duplicated frames, but not that much to ruin the video.
The Arc’s camcorder joins the select few with continuous autofocus. Its approach is the same as on the XPERIA X10 and the Neo: it may take a few seconds to refocus after you reframe instead of fast and constant re-focusing. It’s certainly the approach we prefer.
The videos run smooth and feature excellent colors and resolved detail. Oversharpening is the camcorder’s biggest issue. We hope Sony Ericsson fix that with a software update at some point.
Update, 03.08.11: Sony Ericsson released a software update that enables stereo sound when recording videos.
Check out the 720p sample that we captured with the XPERIA Arc.
Here is one that we uploaded on YouTube for your convenience:
Video quality comparison
We added the XPERIA Arc samples to our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with the other 720p mobile camcorders we have tested.