Sony Xperia E review: E-lementary
The Sony Xperia E comes with the OfficeSuite 6 viewer. OfficeSuite 6 lets you view almost any type of document, although you'll have to pay to get the Pro version if you want editing capabilities as well.
There's also a Notes app that comes with the Xperia E. It's pretty simple to use - you can select the color of the note and just start typing or doodling. There's also an option for Evernote integration.
The calendar has three different types of view - daily, weekly and monthly. The lower section of the screen is reserved for a list of upcoming events. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The Calendar also pulls info on upcoming events from your Facebook account. Facebook events appear just like regular calendar entries, except that you can't edit them from the app.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are really big and easy to hit. You can expand to reveal advanced functions (trigonometry, logarithms).
The alarm clock app supports multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. The Alarms app can also work as a desk clock - you have a big toggle for the brightness, as well as weather info and shortcuts to gallery slideshow and the music player. There's no world clock, stopwatch or timer though.
For everything else not included, the Google Play store is full of free apps that will cater to all your organizational needs.
Google Maps handles the navigation
The Sony Xperia E comes with a GPS receiver and A-GPS functionality for near instantaneous locks using network data. Alternatively, network positioning will do if you only need a rough idea of your location.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere.
3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.
Google Maps uses vector maps, which are very data efficient. The latest version has an easy to use interface for caching maps - you just choose "Make available offline from the menu" and pan/zoom around until the desired area is in view (there's an indicator showing how much storage caching that area will take). You can later view cached areas and delete ones you no longer need.
Note that there's a limit to the size of the area you can cache - you can't just make the entire United States available offline, not even a single state. We managed to fit New York and some of the surrounding area before Maps told us the size is too big. There's no address search either in the cached maps and you can only cache map data in supported regions of the world.
You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.
The Play Store
Running on Android JB, the Xperia E has access to a huge number of apps from the Android Play store but the limited amount of onboard storage means you'll need to be careful with large apps or just look for ones that support microSD card install.
The Store is organized in a few scrollable tabs - categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. The in-app section is untouched though and it's very informative - a description, latest changes, number of downloads and comments with rating. There is usually a demo video and several screenshots for most apps.