Sony Xperia acro S review: Daring droid
The brand new gallery
The Xperia acro S comes with the new Sony Ice Cream Sandwich gallery, called Album.
It has a whole new interface where images are arranged into stacks of thumbnails and sorted by date. You can also opt to show all of your albums in one place. There are three tabs above the stacks - Pictures, Map and Online.
Pictures is the main tab - you can use pinch gestures to make the thumbnails bigger or smaller. Map reminds us of the iOS gallery, where all pictures with a Geo-tag are shown on a map of the world.
The Online tab uses pictures from the connected online services - Google Picasa, Facebook, etc. You have options to tag, like and comment on Facebook photos much like you did with the previous Xperia Gallery.
Images in both galleries can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.
The BRAVIA engine enhances contrast and colors by sharpening the image and reducing noise. These steps normally lead to visual artifacts, but you'll have to look at them very close up to notice. You can switch BRAVIA off, but we recommend keeping it on - it really improves the viewing experience.
Video player is new too
In keeping with the new music player and gallery, Sony has added a new video player as well. It's dubbed Movies and it too has a new interface. It's connected to Gracenote, which helps you find additional information about the movies you have preloaded.
DivX and XviD videos are also working on the Sony Xperia acro S. The support isn't the best we've seen, but if you we had pretty good success with the 720p samples we threw at it and even some 1080p videos ran well. Sure, we have seen better, but if you keep the resolution to a reasonable level, it should suffice.
Plus, you can always download a video player off the Google Play Store with support for more video codecs.
Walkman music player on board
To complete the trio of redesigned Sony apps is the new Walkman music player. It retains all the functionality of the older music players but adds a little bit extra here and there.
It is divided into Playing and My music panels.
In the My music section, you can update your album art and music information like album, year, and more. SensMe is included, meaning you can filter your songs by type - upbeat, energetic, mellow, dance, etc. Creating playlists is enabled and you can also view your Facebook buddies' activity if they too use the Walkman player.
The Now Playing screen offers the standard music controls, shortcuts to the library, "Infinity" key and the song cover art. The Infinity key lets you quickly look up a song on YouTube or browse for the lyrics, among others.
Currently, the only available visualization is the album art.
Finally, the Walkman player offers support for customizable equalizer settings, giving die-hard audiophiles the chance to fiddle around with the individual EQ bands.
While the rest of the music player is the same as what we saw on the neo V, this one adds music controls to the lockscreen. Swiping them either side brings back the clock. The notification area also offers the now playing screen with music controls and the option to jump into the Walkman player.
The Sony Xperia acro S also features an FM Radio aboard complete with RDS support - an improvement over the Neo L, which had no FM Radio at all.