The Sony Xperia T comes in a compact retail box, which holds nothing but the essential accessories. There's a microUSB cable to be used for charging and data connections, as well as a standard mains charger if that's how you prefer to fill up your smartphone's battery. A pair of headphones is supplied too.
There's no microSD card provided, but the Xperia T offers adequate storage out of the box. As usual, you'll also have to purchase USB-OTG and MHL adapters separately.
The Sony Xperia T measures 129.4 x 67.3 x 9.4 mm, which is more than reasonable for a device with a screen this big. Provided the on-screen keys don't require extra space on the front panel, the size of the Xperia T is no great feat. Still, the new Sony flagship is still nearly half a centimeter shorter and a couple millimeters narrower than the Motorola Atrix HD, which has an identically sized screen and, again, on-screen controls.
The Sony Xperia T has a rather distinct design, for which it is clearly indebted to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. The difference between the slimmest and the thickest part of the device is not as prominent here and we happen to like it better this way.
The choice of materials is quite good too, the rubberized back feeling nice to the touch and looking quite durable. The sides of the Sony Xperia T are nicely sculpted for a good grip even at their thinnest and the tapered top and bottom are perfectly complementing the phone's arched shape.
The space at the top of the front panel is quite well used, the actual screen surface reaching nearly all the way to the edge, only leaving enough room for the earpiece and the front camera. Things aren't as impressive at the bottom, where the Xperia logo is surrounded by lots of unused space. Had Sony taken a similar approach here the Xperia T design would have become an even more impressive feat of engineering.
The top of the Sony Xperia T features the 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone.
At the bottom we find nothing but the main microphone.
The unprotected microUSB port is located on the left side of the Sony Xperia T. There's no port cover to get in the way of quick connections, but that leaves you with another hole on the handset's body, which is hardly ideal.
The opposite side is quite crowded, featuring three controls (from top to bottom: power/lock button, volume rocker and shutter key) and a thin plastic flap behind which reside the microSD slot and the microSIM card compartment.
The shutter key and power button are a bit too tiny and need getting used to, but they started working out for us eventually. What we didn't quite like is the flap over the two card slots, which once opened is really hard to properly close. Gaps usually remain, which not only invite dust and dirt, but also make the Xperia T look as if it wasn't assembled properly.
We conclude our tour around the Sony Xperia T controls at the back, where the 13 megapixel camera lens is the star of the show. There's an LED flash by its side to assist low-light performance and act as a flashlight. The loudspeaker grille is centrally placed at the bottom of the smartphone.
There's a subtle bulge around the camera and the smartphone rests on it, but the actual lens is reasonably protected against scratches.
The back panel of the Sony Xperia T is non-removable and you have no access to the 1850 mAh battery underneath. The capacity sounds rather modest, so the option to carry a spare would have been handy, but you can still bring one of those external battery packs and a cable.
The battery itself is rated at up to 7 h of talk time and 410 h of 3G stand-by (450 h in 2G). Those are hardly the most impressive numbers around, but the Sony Xperia T still did reasonably well in our dedicated battery test. It got a rating of 36 h, which means that you'll only need to charge it once every 36 hours if you use it for an hour of talking, web-browsing and video watching per day.