Sony Xperia S review

£379
Price when reviewed

These results still translated into fine real-world performance. We traversed the phone’s menus and widgets without any stuttering, and demanding games such as Shadowgun and Reckless Racing 2 ran smoothly and without the rear of the Xperia becoming too hot to handle.

We can’t say the same for battery life, though: in our 24 hour test the Xperia S was left with only 10% of its power pack left. It’s abysmal battery life that likely won’t see you through a working day, and it’s far lower than most rivals, with the HTC One X scoring 60% after the same test. We hope Sony will release a firmware update to improve the situation but, at the moment, it’s dire.

Sony Xperia S

There’s no sign of Ice Cream Sandwich on the Xperia S yet, with Sony’s roll-out of Android 4 to its handsets only just underway. There’s little wrong with Android 2.3 in the meantime, and Sony’s own software has some neat touches, with slick social networking, weather and settings widgets.

There are a few duds, though. The keyboard has a tiny spacebar that’s right next to the settings key, and many of the desktop widgets seem mainly designed to make money, with video and music stores taking up a homescreen. The basic lockscreen can’t compete with the HTC’s brilliant ring-pull system, either.

Crapware is kept to a minimum, even if regular notifications to install McAfee Security quickly become irritating, but the all-important PlayStation software is noticeably jerky. That’s a criticism we’d also level at Sony’s PlayNow, an app and media store that combines poor performance with a woeful catalogue.

Sony Xperia S

But the Xperia S isn’t a top-end premium phone – you can get it for free on a £21-per-month contract. That’s not bad, but for a few quid a month more you can get a Samsung Galaxy S II, which remains a better all-round handset, and £26 per month buys the HTC One X, our new A-List champion.

Sony’s latest just doesn’t have the all-round appeal of those two giants. It’s just about quick enough, the camera is fine and the screen is fantastic – not to mention the unique, attractive design – but there are some excellent phones to compete against right now, and the Xperia S, particularly in the battery life department, falls short.

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £21.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider Phones4u

Physical

Dimensions 64 x 10 x 128mm (WDH)
Weight 144g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 12.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 720 x 1280
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android

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