Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review

£420
Price when reviewed

The last time Sony Ericsson attempted a big-screen Android phone, we weren’t very impressed. The [a href a=”http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/smartphones/357235/sony-ericsson-xperia-x10″]Sony Ericsson Xperia X10[/a] boasted a large, bright, and high-resolution 4in display, but it had major flaws. The Arc is the successor to that handset, and it makes a stunning first impression.

As with the X10, that’s mainly down to the screen, which completely steals the show. It’s larger than the X10’s at 4.2in, and matches its resolution at 480 x 854, but it’s much brighter and punchier than before.

Sony Xperia Arc

In fact, at maximum brightness, and with the help of Sony’s Bravia Engine picture enhancement technology, the Arc’s LED backlit screen looks as stunning as any phone screen we’ve seen, including the iPhone 4’s Retina display.

It’s a fabulous screen on which to watch movies and also to browse photos; if you fancy watching on a bigger screen, the HDMI output lets you go large too.

The looks are also worth dwelling on: at its thinnest, the Arc measures just 8.9mm from front to back and it weighs only 116g. The rear panel curves in slightly, too, so it sits comfortably in your hand. That curvature means it doesn’t scratch and scuff as much as others when you lay it on a flat surface.

The touchscreen is more responsive than it was on the X10, with scarcely a hint of delay or shudder as you sweep from one Android desktop to another, pan around web pages and zoom in and out. That’s despite a healthy selection of Sony Ericsson’s own widgets, apps and OS customisations.

Of these, we have the same mixed opinion as we did before. We like the tweaks Sony Ericsson has made to folders – they pop up in an attractive transparent overlay window – and when you create folders you’re given the option to name them there and then, instead of having to edit later. The toolbar that runs along the bottom of the screen is useful, too, and you can customise it with either shortcuts or folders.

We like the idea of TimeScape, which amalgamates not just Facebook and Twitter feeds, but also recent phone and text activity, displaying items as cards in a 3D rolodex-style view. We don’t, however, like the fact you can fit only six cards onscreen at any one time; give us a less fancy 2D list view any day of the week.

Performance

Under the hood, the Arc is powered by the same single-core 1GHz Scorpion processor and Adreno GPU (backed up with 512MB of RAM) found in the Xperia Play, HTC Incredible S and the HTC Desire HD. Games are dispatched with aplomb, and it’s a darned sight slicker in general use than its predecessor too.

Detail

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical

Dimensions 62.5 x 11 x 125mm (WDH)
Weight 116g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 4.2in
Resolution screen horizontal 480
Resolution screen vertical 854
Display type TFT

Battery

Battery capacity 1,500mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,000MHz
Integrated memory 8GB via bundled microSD card
RAM capacity 512MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? yes
Built-in flash type LED
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied HDMI cable, stereo headset
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 2.3

Contract details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk

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