Sony Xperia P review: Ironclad

GSMArena team, 1 June 2012.
Pages: 123456789

Gingerbread for now

The Sony Xperia P, like the rest of the NXT series, runs Android Gingerbread 2.3.7 with an ICS update coming up in a couple of months. Having seen the same UI combo on both the Xperia S and the sola, let's cut straight to the demo video.

The Xperia P 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 P 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 P
The Overview mode

The Xperia P 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).

Sony Xperia P Sony Xperia P
Widgets menu Removing widget

The lockscreen shows notifications for Facebook events too. 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.

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 P, just like the Xperia sola, is powered by a dual-core NovaThor U8500 processor clocked at 1 GHz and 1 GB of RAM. Those aren't the kind of specs to set the world alight but they are more than decent, as the benchmark results suggest.

We ran our usual round of benchmarks and compared the Xperia P to the Xperia sola and Sony's current flagship, the Xperia S, as well as a selection of popular upper-midrange competitors..

Starting with BenchmarkPi, which measures the CPU computing power of the NovaThor U8500 chipset, the Xperia P does slightly better than the sola, but nothing overly dramatic.

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 P
    539
  • Sony Xperia sola
    551

In Linpack the Xperia P is just behind the Xperia sola, and ahead of the HTC One V and the Samsung Galaxy S Advance, but did worse than the rest.

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 sola
    68.1
  • Sony Xperia P
    66.9

SunSpider favors the superior JavaScript performance of Ice Cream Sandwich so the Xperia P, just like the sola, is at a slight disadvantage here.

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 P
    2784
  • Sony Xperia sola
    2837
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2217

The Xperia P scores quite low at the BrowserMark HTML5 test, beating only the HTC One V.

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 sola
    73840
  • Sony Xperia P
    72237
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    88725

NenaMark 2 is where the GPU gets to show its worth. Sony's Xperia P scored 29.9 fps, which is better than the Xperia sola, but notably worse than the Samsung Galaxy S II, which uses the same Mali 400-MP GPU.

NenaMark 2

Higher is better

  • HTC One S
    60.5
  • Sony Xperia sola
    27.7
  • Sony Xperia P
    29.9
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    51.6
  • Sony Xperia S
    37.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    24
  • HTC Sensation XE
    23

The Xperia P is well-equipped to tackle routine tasks. It fails to match the speed and capacity of some of the competition, most notably the HTC One S, but that's something only for the most demanding of power users to worry about.

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