Sony Xperia acro S review: Daring droid

GSMArena team, 03 September 2012.
Pages: 12345678910

Introduction

After the touchscreen revolution swept the mobile world, rugged smartphones became much harder to come by. They are making a slow return now though, with Sony Mobile being one of the key players in that market.

The tradition of producing attractive rugged droids dates back to the the days of Sony Ericsson, and it's great that it continues now, when Sony is in full control of the company. More impressively, the company shows that it's not going to limit element-resistant smartphones to the mid-range anymore, and so we come to the subject of today's review.

Sony Xperia acro S Sony Xperia acro S
Sony Xperia acro S official photos

The Sony Xperia acro S may not make the Samsung Galaxy S III shake with fear, but its specs sheet seems good enough to provide a high-end smartphone experience and that should be all that matters, really.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • Quad-band 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Bright 4.3" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of HD resolution (720 x 1280 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine;
  • IP57 certification - dust protected and water proof up to 1 meter and 30 minutes; Scratch-resistant shatter proof glass
  • Android 4.0 ICS
  • Dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion, 1 GB RAM, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon S3 chipset
  • 12 MP autofocus camera with LED flash
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • NFC connectivity
  • 16GB built-in storage (13GB user accessible)
  • microHDMI port, dedicated TV launcher
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Voice dialing
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

Main disadvantages

  • Chipset is rather modest for the class
  • Thicker than most rivals
  • Display viewing angles are mediocre
  • No preinstalled document editor
  • Non-user-replaceable battery

The difference in length between the two lists above alone points to the fact that the Sony Xperia acro S is worth a second look. Water resistance might be the headline feature, but it's certainly not everything this Sony smartphone has going for it.

It builds on the Xperia P platform, but addresses the issues of limited storage and uninspiring battery backup and employs a far superior 720p screen, which seems like a pretty good recipe for success.

Sony Xperia acro S Sony Xperia acro S Sony Xperia acro S
The Sony Xperia acro S studio shots

And yes, the waistline grew, which is hardly a desirable side-effect these days, but if the performance is all there, we doubt many will mind. Also, we are hoping the S3 chipset, which is now looking more like mid-range material, doesn't have too damaging an effect on the great package.

But let's waste no more time guessing and get down to the actual testing - the hardware inspection starts right after the break.

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