The Xperia Play is the world's first PlayStation Certified handset, offering slide-out gaming controls and advanced Android smarts
Editor's Review of the Xperia Play
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, otherwise known as the PlayStation Phone, is the most talked about smartphone of recent times. Mobile gaming is a huge industry, and with its PlayStation certification and nifty slide-out keys, the Xperia Play takes the phenomenon to a whole new level. Still, with the likes of the 2003's Nokia N-Gage proving an ultimate flop, can Sony Ericsson prove it's not too late?
Design & Build
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is in keeping with the rest of the Xperia range when it comes to looks, sporting a sleek glossy black plastic finish and some nice curved lines - all of which feature elsewhere in the revamped range, most notably on the Xperia arc.
Within its casing sits a 4-inch TFT LCD display, boasting a decent 854 x 480 resolution. The hefty touchscreen is powered by the handset's 1GHz second-gen Snapdragon processor, offering boosted graphics and according to Sony Ericsson, "twice the speed of the iPhone 4". While the CPU certainly offered whizzy speeds, Sony's Apple-rivaling claims are a little far off the mark.
Of course, the headline feature of the Xperia Play is those much-hyped slide out PlayStation controls. The springy keys feature D-Pad style directional buttons, alongside dual analog touchpads and four iconic PlayStation keys. There's even Sony's "R + L" shoulder triggers, which sit perfectly for effortless gaming.
We'll be honest, we didn't have high hopes for these "flimsy" slide out keys, but thankfully, we were immediately proven wrong. Much to our surprise, the buttons don't feel plasticky, and proved well designed and durable throughout the most eager, and often violent, of gaming. The only downside to the slide-out setup is its additional chunkiness, which totals up to 16mm of pocket-splitting bulk.
OS & Interface
The Xperia Play is bang up to date with Gingerbread on board, which given Sony Ericsson's abysmal track record for Android updates, is a definite plus point.
As the world's first PlayStation Certified smartphone, the Xperia Play brings with it our first taste of "PlayStation Suite", an online games store for Android OS. As it stands today, there are 50 games available from launch, some of which are optimized for the handsets gaming set-up. Although it's almost hard to remember that this is also a regular Android smartphone, games can also be grabbed straight from the Android Market.
Gaming asides, the Xperia Play also arrives dressed in Sony Ericsson's TimeScape UI. Thankfully, it seems SE have been working hard to make it less obtrusive than on previous models, and its revamped social network app is a massive improvement. Almost the whole UI benefits from an all-new sohisticated feel, which is sensibly laid out and easy to customize.
Multimedia & Storage
Asides from its advanced gaming smarts, the Xperia Play also arrives with the usual media attractions found on your average Google-branded smartphone. On its rear, there's a 5 megapixel camera, capable of recording 720p HD video footage. While it's by no means on par with the 8.1 megapixel snapper of the Xperia arc, it managed to produce high-quality shots and sharp looking footage. However, its integrated LED flash is often too blinding, making photos looking wash out and noisy.
With Android 2.3 onboard, the Play also sports a front-facing videocall camera. With just 0.3 worth of megapixels, it's perfect for FaceTime, but no good for stills.
On the downside, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play arrives with just 400MB of internal storage - a lackluster amount for a "media focused" smartphone. Still, this can be expanded up to 32GB, and Sony Ericsson even chuck in an 8GB memory card. Bonus!
With HSDPA and WiFi connectiviy onboard, the handset's browser performance is certainly speedy. Saying that, we've definitely seen faster, particularly from the likes of the LG Optimus 2X and HTC Incredible S. Still, multi-touch gestures are well executed, and text renders well on the crystal-clear display.
Battery life is one of the most important factors when it comes to handheld gaming devices, and unfortunately, the Xperia Play doesn't disappoint. There's a robust 1500mAh effort under the hood, which promises to deliver 4 hours of heavy gaming, and a days worth of sporadic use. Still, compared to the likes of the HTC Desire HD - it's day-long-lasting juice is nothing that special.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is one hell of an exciting smartphone. Unlike previous efforts, the slide out gaming control is an amazing innovation, and makes gameplay far superior than competing, fully touchscreeen devices. While its regular smartphone features aren't the most advanced available, the Xperia Play is a must-have for hardcore gamers. Once there's a bunch more games available, mind you.
great phone,even better after 2.3.4 update applied turning poor video camera from vga to hd 720p plus swipe for texting,only gripe i have is with the build,theres loosness on the right side of the handsets ie an up and down movement when gently gripping right edge of phone with thumb and fore finger.also the other one i have [both xmas gifts] has a lot of movement up and down when keypad extended.i gave a four hoping the loosness issues can be resolved.
ive just got mine and it's a great phone but the memory is soo poor. 400mb?! that is pathetic for a gaming phone as there are still lots of apps that do not have the option to install to sd card. the quality of gaming is good though, and the slide out controls are much better than i was expecting. i thought they would feel flimsy but it feels like it could withstand even agressive gaming and lots of it. i would recommend this phone apart from its rubbish memory. make sure you get a microsd card!! expands up to 32gb!
this is a good phone.
sony ericsson have created a masterpiece, and it's the most complete mobile phone around. it's got gingerbread, and shows mobile phone gaming at its best. other good features include its responsive touchscreen and great battery life. This has replaced my Galaxy S and it's 10 times better!
I've got the white xperia play and it's the best looking phone ever! People ask me about it everyday, it looks so much better than the black one. Most importantly though the phone is very fast and the choice of games is amazing!
The Xperia PLAY is a true gaming phone, unlike the iPhone! As soon as it was released I got my hands on it, and its provides a gaming experience is like no other phone I have ver used. I love the fact that is has old school Crash Bandicoot on it too! It also comes with Asphalut, Fifa 10 and The Sims preinstalled on the handset.
I previously had a Nexus S which also had Android 2.3 but this beats it by miles. It is faster, slicker and appears to use considerably less even though I'm using it all of the time.
The screen is also great. It has a very good resolution and is not very reflective (compared to others). A screen protector came in the box to protect it from getting scratched too. The only negative bit about the display is that the colours are not quite as vivid as on for example the Nexus S but they are still very good.
The downside to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the fact that its a bit bulky to be used as a normal smartphone, but with a PSP controller on it it was never going to be thin! I would definitely recommend this phone!
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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play News
In a move that seems to be something of a death knell for the Xperia Play, Sony have announced that the phone-games-console hybrid won’t be getting the highly desired Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade. Sony’s announcement contradicts their previous statements that the Play would be jumping on the ICS bandwagon around the end of [...]
The Xperia Play is a funny creature. Not fully committing itself fully to being either a handheld games device or a smartphone, it sits a little uncomfortably between the two. Despite the mobile community’s mixed feelings on the world’s only Playstation-certified Android phone, Sony are currently working on a follow-up. If a patent submitted in [...]
Sony’s Xperia Play has had a tough time since it was first launched at last year’s Mobile World Congress. Not only has it failed to capture the imagination of both gamers and casual phone users, but it’s also been deprived of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich update until now. The reason for this was that some [...]
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play was one of last year’s well-publicised flops, but there’s rumours that Sony could be working on a a sequel to the handset: the Sony Xperia Play 2. Concept Phones published an image (right) of the so-called Xperia Play 2, and the site claims to have it on “good authority” that [...]
HTC will become the first third party manufacturer to take up Sony‘s Playstation Suite and certification program â so your mate with the Xperia Play can take that smug look off their face! Certified phones have access to a library of Playstation content including games and HD movies.Â Eventually most of the PSONE back catalogue [...]
Sony‘s PlayStation Vita OS could soon be heading to smartphones and tablets, the firm’s newly-appointed CEO has hinted. Speaking to Japanese website AV Watch, soon-to-be Sony President and boss, Kazuo Hirai, hinted that Sony is considering brining PlayStation Vita OS to devices other than games consoles. Sony’s Senior Vice President Yoshio Matsumoto also suggested that [...]
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Specifications
119mm x 62mm x 16mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 4.0 inches
Resolution: 480 X 854
Interface: TimeScape UI
External: microSD up to 32GB
A-GPS with maps
Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed
Up to 2 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
5.0 megapixel camera
Auto Focus and LED Flash
720p Video Recording
Front facing camera with video calling
Battery Capacity: 1500 mAh
Talk Time: 521 minutes
Standby Time: 425 hours
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, eAAC+
Video supported formats