Review: Sony Xperia P smartphone

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First glance, the Xperia P looks like a compact version of the Xperia S. However, we realised very quickly that it’s much better in terms of build quality and overall aesthetics.

Unlike the larger Xperia S, it has unibody construction with a matte finish rear. The trademark transparent strip at the bottom has capacitive buttons for back, home and menu. This is unlike other Xperia phones where the buttons were actually placed above the transparent strip, leading to confusion in operating the device. 

The good: With a stunning, metal design, the Sony Xperia P has sophisticated style. It’s also compact, boasts a bright screen, and connects to Sony’s large music and video stores.

The bad: The Xperia P is held back by a weak CPU, outdated Android OS, and short battery life.

The bottom line: If beauty is your only priority, the Sony Xperia P will certainly satisfy but power isn’t this unlocked phone’s forte.
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DisplayThe Xperia P’s 4-inch qHD display uses what Sony calls WhiteMagic technology, designed to help the screen be easier to read outdoors in sunlight. I can vouch that the handset’s display is definitely brighter than those on other phones. In fact I had no trouble viewing its screen in strong sunshine, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was a lot dimmer when examined side-by-side under the same conditions.

That said, in more conventional situations such as indoors and in dark environments, the Xperia P’s LCD screen isn’t stunning. Stacked up against the HTC One X (AT&T) and Samsung Galaxy Nexus (unlocked), the Xperia P produced images with low contrast and narrow viewing angles. By contrast, the Galaxy Nexus (4.65-inch, 1,280×720-pixel Super AMOLED) showcased saturated colors, deep blacks, and excellent off-angle views. The HTC One X (4.7-inch, 1,280×720 Super LCD2) was a step behind with bright whites, wide viewing angles, and natural colors.
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Interface

While Sony’s flagship Xperia S device has now been updated with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Xperia P is still stuck in yesteryear running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. That said, like the Xperia Ion, Sony makes an effort to add ICS-like enhancements to the Xperia P’s interface.

For example, you can create and add folders to any of the Xperia’s five home screens just by dragging app shortcuts onto each other. Near-field communication (NFC) is also included, though the feature sadly isn’t compatible with Google’s Android Beam feature. Beam, integrated in phones running Android 4.0 ICS and 4.1 Jelly Bean, lets you transfer pictures and other files to compatible phones wirelessly just by bumping them together.

Software and appsAs an Android 2.3 Gingerbread device, the Xperia P is capable of performing all the basic Android tasks such as support for Google services like Gmail, Maps, Navigation (using the handset’s GPS hardware), and Google + social networking.

Sony also includes a helping of its own apps and services, such as the Timescape social-networking app that combines updates from Twitter and Facebook. A Connected Devices application lets you share and stream video and music (as long as it isn’t copyrighted material) with Sony TVs and other electronics. Other noteworthy software includes a Power Saver app designed to conserve battery life, plus NeoReader to scan bar codes. Of course, a vast library of 700,000 app titles is also ready for download via the Google Play Android marketplace.

General
Product TypeSmartphone
Phone DesignPDA
Width2.3 in
Depth0.4 in
Height4.8 in
Weight4.2 oz
Body ColorRed

CellularTechnologyGSM / UMTS
BandGSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) / UMTS 800/850/1900/2100 (Quadband)
Service ProviderUnlocked
Operating SystemAndroid 2.3 OS
Messaging & Internet
Messaging & Data FeaturesText messages,
Multimedia messages (MMS),
E-Mail,
Instant messages
Communications
Wireless InterfaceBluetooth

Phone Features
Additional FeaturesSpeakerphone,
USB,
AGPS,
Touch screen,
QWERTY keyboard layout
Display
Diagonal Size4 inch

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