Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play review: Bring your 'A' game

GSMArena team, 20 April 2011.
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Design and construction

The XPERIA Play has recognizable Sony Ericson styling, sharing a lot with phones like the Neo and the Pro. The rounded top and bottom and the curved back are especially recognizable.

We’ve already covered the display, so let’s go over what’s around it. Below is the standard set of Android keys: Back, Home, Menu and Search. The keys have a solid press but they might be difficult to tell apart just by feel.

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The typical controls below the display • the video-call camera and its companions above the display

Above the display is business as usual too. There’s the earpiece at the center and the video call camera to the left of it. To the right are the proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor grouped together.

The right side of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play features the L and R trigger keys and the volume rocker. The rocker is pretty thin and its central positioning makes it hard to use.

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The L and R trigger keys on the right with the volume rocker in the middle

On the left side of the Play, there’s the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port, both of which are exposed.

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On the left there’s the microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack

The Power/Lock key is on top – it’s small and impossible to hit accidentally. The key has a small dot of a charging LED. The bottom features just the lanyard eyelet.

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The Power/Lock key (and charging indicator too) is on top • Lanyard eyelet at the bottom

On the curved back of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play there’s the 5MP camera lens and the LED flash. The camera is unprotected but it’s been a while since we’ve seen a phone with an actual lens cover.

The other things of interest at the back are the stereo loudspeakers – set right on the tapered edge to make sure the sound doesn’t get muffled. The secondary microphone is also there too.

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The camera lens, LED flash and loudspeaker grill at the back

Opening the back cover automatically unmounts the memory card so you can remove it safely. The case opening trip wire is a tiny detector, which is quite sensitive. If you haven’t fit the back cover firmly on, the XPERIA Play will keep unmounting and mounting the memory card, which can be terribly annoying.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play comes with an 8GB microSD card in the box but you can put in cards as big as 32GB in the slot.

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The microSD card slot • A close up of the stereo speakers

The SIM card compartment is under the 1500mAh battery. The battery is quoted at over 400 hours of standby time and 8h and 6h of talk time in 2G and 3G respectively.

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The 1500mAh battery • The SIM bed is under the battery

Hardware-wise the XPERIA Play is a balanced device. Its design serves one purpose- landscape gaming – and it’s great at it. We wouldn’t go as far as calling it overweight but one thing’s for sure, the Play is quite thick and it’s a harsh contrast to pretty much all high-end Android phones (except for the XPERIA Neo, if it counts in that league).

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