Sony Ericsson Xperia ray review: Ray of light

GSMArena team, 28 September 2011.
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Introduction

Honey, I shrunk the Xperia arc. No, that's a different story. And yes, we like the Sony Ericsson minis. But that's not how the real story of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray goes.

They did things to the Xperia arc. They took out its beating heart and carved a new phone out of it. But this isn't a scary story, it has a happy ending. It feels the Ray was always living inside the Xperia arc, waiting to be released. Like a seed that will grow a new plant.

That's how we imagine the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray was born. They cracked the rock open to get to the gem.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia ray official photos

The Xperia ray had to shed off layers of armor but lost none of the courage. It's got all the exciting ingredients of the Xperia arc. The sharp BRAVIA engine display is there and so is the 8MP camera, complete with 720p video recording. And the ray is impressively thin too. It is one of the most compact members of the Xperia family, and one of the handsomest phones we've seen.

Sure, the arc is slimmer but it's a massive handset. The mini is tiny but too chubby at 16mm. If you want a really slim and compact droid, the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray is one of the few that fit the bill.

The screen takes much credit for the phone's good looks. The BRAVIA engine unit has the impressive pixel density of 300ppi. We had a close look at the advantages of the BRAVIA engine and the improvements are tangible.

The screen isn't the only thing to borrow from the wealth of Sony experience. The 8MP camera packs an Exmor R sensor, which boasts improved low-light performance. It also captures 720p video with continuous autofocus - on paper, you get the same camera as in the Xperia arc.

Before we go on with the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray's story, you should get to know the protagonist better. Here's the list of all the virtues and the vices as we saw them:

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 3.3" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of FWVGA resolution (480 x 854 pixels) on Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine
  • Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread
  • 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 8 MP autofocus camera, LED light, geotagging
  • 720p video @ 30fps, continuous autofocus
  • Front facing VGA camera
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot (32GB supported, 4GB card included)
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Voice dialing
  • Adobe Flash 10.2 support
  • Slim design at 9.4mm thickness
  • Large 1500mAh Li-ion battery

Main disadvantages

  • Screen viewing angles could have been better
  • No smart dialing
  • Loudspeaker has below average performance
  • No DivX/XviD support
  • Non hot-swappable memory card
  • No HDMI port (the arc and the Neo have one)

The ray is powered by the 1GHz processor with 512MB RAM and Adreno 205 graphics, courtesy of the Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset that is prevalent in the Xperia line. It's no match for dual-core, but if it's good enough for the gaming-centered Xperia Play, the ray shouldn’t have any issues with speed.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia ray live shots

So, the hardware on the inside is pretty familiar and so is the software. But the slender, eye-catching body is the big deal so we'll focus on that first. We'll also rummage through the retail box, so follow us on the next page.

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