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

GSMArena team, 20 April 2011.
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The gallery looks good but downsizes images

The XPERIA Play uses the traditional droid Gallery, with solid functionality, cool 3D looks and nice transition effects. What we don’t quite like is that it only shows a downsized version of your images.

The different albums and folders appear as piles of photos, which fall in neat grids once selected. If you have online web albums uploaded over at Picasa, those show up as separate stacks as well.

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A great-looking gallery

Alternatively, your photos can be sorted by date with the help of a button in the top right corner, which switches between grid and timeline view.

In grid view, there’s a date slider, which can also be used to find photos taken on a certain date.

The gallery supports finger scrolling or panning so you can skip images without having to return to the default view. Just swipe to the left or right when viewing a photo in fullscreen mode and the previous/next image will appear.

Thanks to the XPERIA Play’s multi-touch support pinch zooming is also available here but you can also double tap or use the +/- buttons.

The Android gallery shows only downsized version of you images, though if you send one from the device over email, the full-res shot is received on the other end. We guess it’s done to speed up performance and cut loading times.

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Gallery options

Images can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.

Video player

There is no dedicated video player app on the XPERIA Play as in most of the droids out there. Fair enough, maybe a fancy UI for picking a video is not that important, playing videos is what really counts. Well, don’t get your hopes too high on this one either as the player supports only 3GP and MP4 – no DivX and XviD support on this one.

If you take the time to convert your videos beforehand though, the Play does make for a good video player with its ample 4” screen.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Review
Video player

Or you could just download a capable video player off the Android Market and make your life easier.

Great music player

The music player interface on the XPERIA Play is laid out in four tabs for the available sorting options: all artists, all tracks, playlists and albums.

Getting around is easy – and the UI is good looking too.

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Great music player

The Now Playing screen offers all the standard music controls, shortcuts to the library and the Infinite key, which lets you quickly look up a song or album on YouTube or Sony Ericsson’s own Play Now Arena.

The only available visualization is the album art.

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Now playing • Equalizer presets

The XPERIA Play has a rich selection of equalizer presets.

Excellent audio quality

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play did very well in our audio quality test. The frequency response of the smartphone is perfect with no headphones attached and still easily within the golden +- 1dB deviation limit with headphones on.

The only problem we had with it is the stereo crosstalk, which spikes intensly when you plug in a pair of headphones. The distortion levels increase too in that scenario, but they still remain tolerable.

The rest of the readings are all great - the noise levels and dynamic range scores are among the best we have seen. With an active external amplifier you are also getting some pretty low distortions and stereo-crosstalk readings. Plus the XPERIA Play is reasonably loud so it's a very decent performance overall.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play+0.11, -0.08-89.689.30.0150.037-91.0
Sony Ericsson XPERIA play (headphones attached)+0.38, -0.12-89.789.40.0810.301-48.7
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc+0.12, -0.09-89.489.20.0130.037-91.5
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc (headphones attached)+0.42, -0.12-89.188.80.1790.314-46.6
HTC Incredible S+0.03, -0.18-82.482.20.0180.058-71.3
HTC Incredible S (headphones attached)+0.61, -0.15-71.771.20.1260.540-59.6
HTC Desire HD+0.09, -0.44-90.690.40.0140.517-92.6
HTC Desire HD (headphones attached)+0.09, -0.44-93.292.90.0200.728-17.9
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8+0.12, -0.55-75.676.50.0240.093-70.7
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X8 (headphones attached)+0.31, -0.20-74.975.60.0930.341-60.4
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S+0.03 -0.04-90.790.60.014 0.019-90.6
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S (headphones attached)+0.40 -0.12-90.790.60.018 0.329-43.3
Apple iPhone 4+0.01, -0.07-90.190.00.00680.012-89.6
Apple iPhone 4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.07-90.490.40.00360.092-68.4

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play frequency response
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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