Sony Xperia S review: NXT of kin

GSMArena team, 30 March 2012.
Pages: 123456789

Introduction

The Sony Xperia S is the current champion of the NXT series and comes aptly armed with a tack-sharp 720p screen and 12MP worth of stills. It sets a new design trend for the Xperia line and brings massive improvements to it.

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Sony Xperia S official photos

The Xperia S comes at a time of change in the Android world with quad-core processors and Ice Cream Sandwich looming on the horizon. The Xperia S is priced below those new-fangled flagships however, and in its range it's quite the fighter.

But while the OS update is just a matter of time, what most other competing phones don't have (and can't get via an update) is the 342ppi pixel density of the 4.3" 720p screen or the 12MP camera. Those things give it a leg up against outgoing flagships and even upcoming upper-midrangers.

The Xperia S is more than just the screen and the camera though. Here's the short version:

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.3" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of 720p resolution (720 x 1280 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine; Scratch-resistant glass
  • Android OS v2.3.7 Gingerbread, planned Android 4.0 ICS update
  • Dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion CPU, 1 GB RAM, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 chipset
  • 12 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geo-tagging, Multi Angle shot
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 720p video recording
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 32GB built-in storage
  • 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
  • PlayStation Certified, access to the PS Store
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor

Main disadvantages

  • The competition will soon have phones with quad-core CPUs...
  • ...and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box
  • Display has sub-par viewing angles
  • No microSD card slot
  • microSIM only
  • Shutter key isn't particularly comfortable

The Sony Xperia S is keen to add extra value in both hardware and software terms. NFC is picking up in popularity and the S comes with two smart tags in the box and extensive app support for them. The microHDMI port is next, which sorts out the need for an extra adaptor, and GLONASS support (on top of GPS) is good news for everyone who needs accurate positioning.

The 32GB of built-in storage is pretty sweet too - the memory is non-expandable, but it's as much as you're likely to get out of a microSD card anyway.

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Sony Xperia S live pictures

We've already reviewed the Sony Xperia S hardware, but we'll give it the once-over before heading for the software.

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