Sony Xperia go review: Get out, get wet

GSMArena team, 31 July 2012.
Pages: 123456789

Yet another Xperia stuck in the past

The Sony Xperia go, like the entire NXT line of Xperias, has a highly revamped custom skin, but it's still Gingerbread underneath (2.3.7). Hopefully the Xperia go will be among the devices, scheduled to receive Ice Cream Sandwich later this year.

Check out a short video of the Xperia go interface below.

The Xperia go has the usual five-pane homescreen (you can't add or delete panes), with four docked shortcuts (two on either side of the launcher shortcut). These are visible on all five homescreen panes and are user configurable: they can be either single icons or folders with multiple items in them.

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The Sony Xperia go UI

The homescreen does a neat trick called Overview mode. Pinch to zoom out on any of the 5 homescreen panes and a new screen opens up with a cool transition. All active widgets gather there for easy viewing and selection.

Sony Xperia go
The Overview mode helps you find the widget you are looking for

The Xperia go has some custom-made Sony widgets in addition to the standard set. Those include the Timescape widget (there's a dedicated app too) and a Mediascape-like widget for photos and videos (the actual app isn't there anymore, the standard gallery is back).

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Widgets menu Removing widget Wallpapers menu

The lockscreen shows notifications for Facebook events too, courtesy of Sony Facebook integration. A cool new addition to the lockscreen, unseen in the old Xperia line, is the music player widget, which lets you control music playback without unlocking the phone - we'll get back to this further on.

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The app drawer

The standard notification area and task switcher are of course present and accounted for - no custom touches to them.

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The lockscreen Lockscreen notifications The standard notification area and task switcher

Synthetic benchmarks

The Sony Xperia go is powered by a dual-core NovaThor U8500 chipset with two cores clocked at 1 GHz and 512 MB of RAM. You shouldn't expect miracles out of the two Cortex-A9 cores as even 1080p is sometimes beyond their reach.

We ran our usual round of benchmarks and compared the Xperia go to Sony's current flagship, the Xperia S, as well as a selection of upper-midrange competitors. The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is among them, powered by the same ST-Ericsson NovaThor chipset, with a slight advantage in terms of RAM - 768MB over 512MB.

We begin with BenchmarkPi, which measures the CPU computing power of the NovaThor U8500 chipset.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    530
  • HTC One S
    306
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    452
  • HTC Sensation XE
    536
  • Sony Xperia S
    536
  • Sony Xperia go
    543
  • Sony Xperia sola
    551

In Linpack the Xperia go got almost twice as the HTC One V due to the higher processing power and outdid the Samsung Galaxy S Advance, which is commendable.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    64.74
  • HTC One S
    210
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    77.6
  • HTC One V
    34.4
  • Sony Xperia S
    86.4
  • Sony Xperia go
    69.95
  • Sony Xperia sola
    68.1

SunSpider favors the superior JavaScript performance of Ice Cream Sandwich so the Xperia go is at an obvious disadvantage here. It still did an ounce better than the ICS-ready One V though.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    2663
  • HTC One S
    1708
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    1849
  • HTC One V
    3299
  • HTC Sensation XE
    4404
  • Sony Xperia S
    2587
  • Sony Xperia go
    3228
  • Sony Xperia sola
    2837
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2217

BrowserMark adds HTML5 to the equation and sees the Xperia go drop down the ranks. It still comfortably beats the One V, again.

BrowserMark

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    81557
  • HTC One S
    98435
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    111853
  • HTC One V
    42342
  • Sony Xperia S
    74990
  • Sony Xperia go
    76820
  • Sony Xperia sola
    73840
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    88725

NenaMark 2 is where the GPU gets to show its worth. The Xperia go got a solid 42.8 frames per second, easily beating the likes of the Xperia Sola and even the Xperia S. This is because the Mali-400 GPU pushes fewer pixels due to the HVGA resolution of the Xperia go.

NenaMark 2

Higher is better

  • HTC One S
    60.5
  • Sony Xperia go
    42.8
  • Sony Xperia sola
    27.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    51.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    43.6
  • Sony Xperia S
    37.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    24
  • HTC Sensation XE
    23

GLBenchmark is a GPU-heavy test, while the off-screen 720p benchmark tests the raw performance of the Mali-400 GPU inside the Xperia go. Even with a Mali on board it finished at the bottom of the barrel.

GLBenchmark Egypt (off-screen 720p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    103
  • HTC One S
    56
  • HTC One X
    55.7
  • Sony Xperia P
    19.6
  • Sony Xperia U
    19.3
  • Samsung Galaxy S Advance
    19.2
  • Sony Xperia go
    19.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
    16.3

While you shouldn't expect miracles from the dual-core Xperia go it is fair to say that in day-to-day tasks it will rarely skip a beat. The Sony-made launcher that runs on top of Android isn't the lightest around and Gingerbread isn't the most speed-optimized OS for some time now but overall the normal user will enjoy working with the Xperia go.

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