Sony Xperia P review: Ironclad

GSMArena team, 1 June 2012.
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Introduction

Sealed in an aluminum unibody but still oozing the new NXT series style, the Sony Xperia P joins an elite club of metal-clad phones. And then there's the WhiteMagic screen to make it unique in the mobile world. In short, the Xperia P is one of the most advanced midrange phones out there.


Sony Xperia P official photos

The Reality display on the Sony Xperia P spans 4 inches and has qHD resolution, featuring the traditional for the Xperia series Mobile BRAVIA Engine. What's unique to the Xperia P is the WhiteMagic technology - an extra white subpixel to the usual RGB setup pushes brightness up to extra high levels while reducing power consumption. Specialized software aims to keep both power usage and color rendering optimal at all times.

The other standout feature is the aluminum unibody - if you like the solid feel of metal, there aren't too many phones that can deliver. The build of the Xperia P isn't just about the metal though - the phone is part of Sony's GreenHeart program and uses nature-friendly recycled plastics and waterborne paint.

Here's the cheat sheet on the Sony Xperia P:

Key features

  • Aluminum unibody
  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Bright 4" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine and WhiteMagic (fourth white subpixel); Scratch-resistant glass
  • Android OS v2.3.7 Gingerbread, planned Android 4.0 ICS update
  • Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, 1 GB RAM, Mali-400 GPU, NovaThor U8500 chipset
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging, Multi Angle shot
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • VGA front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS
  • NFC connectivity
  • 16GB built-in storage (13GB user accessible)
  • microHDMI port, dedicated TV launcher
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Voice dialing
  • Adobe Flash 11 support
  • Deep Facebook integration
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor

Main disadvantages

  • No Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box
  • Display has poor blacks, high brightness levels result in poor color rendering and loss of contrast
  • No memory card slot
  • microSIM only
  • Modest battery capacity of only 1305mAh results in mediocre battery life

While it was the outside of the Sony Xperia P that grabbed our attention, a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and Mali-400 GPU should easily be able to keep it. We just wish Sony would get over the ICS hurdle once and for all (the update is expected in Q3).

Some users will certainly appreciate the standard microHDMI port and hardware shutter key - two things that are just about going extinct in the mobile world, even though virtual shutter keys aren't as comfortable and MHL ports require you to carry (and pay for) additional adapters.

Sony Xperia P Sony Xperia P Sony Xperia P Sony Xperia P
Sony Xperia P live pictures

With all this buildup, the Xperia P is starting to sound like the Sony phone that people "in the know" will buy. You know, not the top of the product line, but the one that offers the best set of features for a fair price.

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