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

GSMArena team, 20 April 2011.
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Connectivity

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play comes with a standard set of connectivity options: quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA at 5.76 Mbps for upload speeds.

It offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n) with DLNA support USB v2.0 and Bluetooth 2.1.

The inbuilt storage is 400MB only, but you can expand it up to 32GB via the microSD card slot. The phone ships with an 8GB memory card.

There’s no HDMI port on the XPERIA Play. This certainly is one of the phones where this feature would’ve made sense – and we won’t even get into HDMI mirroring.

Great web-browser with Flash

Complete with the added Flash 10.2 support, the Gingerbread browser on the XPERIA Play can easily put the entire World Wide Web in your pocket.

The user interface is pretty much non-existent at first sight. Once the page loads, all you see is the URL bar and the bookmark button on a line at the top of the screen. Once you zoom in and pan around though even that line disappears (scroll to the top or press menu to bring it back). That way you have the entire screen for web browsing.

The minimalist UI is quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, and open bookmarks. A last button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).

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Web-browser on the XPERIA Play

The bookmark list shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a “most visited” list in addition to the history.

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Bookmarks • Most visited • History

One of the big updates of the XPERIA Play’s (or any other Gingerbread phone) web browser is the full Flash support with the Adobe Flash 10.2 player. YouTube videos played quite smoothly (360p-480p), and so did the games from Kongregate, for example.

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Playing Flash videos and games in the browser

High-res videos on YouTube and other Flash video services had some dropped frames, but the overall Flash performance turned out pretty decent. The YouTube app is still there though, just in case.

The organizer is fine

Much like its bigger brother – the Arc – the XPERIA Play comes with a slid set of organizing options preinstalled, including a document viewer.

The app in question is OfficeSuite and it has support for viewing document files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF, including the Office 2007 versions). For editing, you will need to get the paid app.

The app handled all manner of office extensions hassle-free and viewing a word or PDF file on the Play is comfortable.

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Office Suite

The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching all kinds of files is possible though.

The calendar has four different types of view: daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.

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Calendar app

Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.

There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big and thumbable.

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Calculator app

The alarm clock app allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start and repeat time. Unfortunately, you don’t have the Stopwatch, Timer or World Clock options. You don’t get a Voice Recorder either.

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Clock app • Setting an alarm

Keep in mind that the Android Market can make up for whatever organizing skills the XPERIA Play lacks. And they’re all free so don’t despair – it only takes a few minutes to fill the gaps in the organizing department.

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