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Sony Ericsson at Mobile World Congress - a summary

23 February 2011 by
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Technical details:
• Ericsson R380
• Ericsson R520
• Ericsson R600
• Ericsson T29s
• Ericsson T39
• Ericsson T60d
• Sony Xperia A
• Sony Xperia Acro S
• Sony Xperia Advance
• Sony Xperia C
• Sony Xperia E
• Sony Xperia E Dual
• Sony Xperia E1
• Sony Xperia E1 Dual
• Sony Xperia Ion LT28at
• Sony Xperia J
• Sony Xperia L
• Sony Xperia M2
• Sony Xperia Miro
• Sony Xperia Neo L
• Sony Xperia P
• Sony Xperia S
• Sony Xperia SL
• Sony Xperia Sola
• Sony Xperia SP
• Sony Xperia SX
• Sony Xperia T
• Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
• Sony Xperia Tipo
• Sony Xperia Tipo Dual
• Sony Xperia TL
• Sony Xperia TX
• Sony Xperia U
• Sony Xperia V
• Sony Xperia VL
• Sony Xperia Z
• Sony Xperia Z Ultra
• Sony Xperia Z1
• Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
• Sony Xperia Z2
• Sony Xperia ZL
• Sony Xperia ZQ
• Sony Xperia ZR
Sony Ericsson announced four smartphones at MWC this year. The Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro. Read our first impression of the new phone models

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc was announced at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, so this was actually not a new phone model. And the Xperia Play was no longer a secret when million of North Americans saw a Super Bowl TV commercial a week before the Mobile World Congress started. That leaves us with the Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro as the two new smartphones during MWC. We were expecting something more, such as a Xperia Mini Pro successor but these models might come a little later this year.

Please make sure you read the Xperia Arc paragraph for information about the new display- and camera technology also used in the Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Arc Neo Pro

The four new devices. From left: Xperia Play, Xperia Arc, Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro
Sony Ericsson was located far away from the rest of the manufactures. They shared booth space with Ericsson and ST-Ericsson this year
Press and bloggers seing the new devices for the first time
CEO of Sony Ericsson, Bert Nordberg on the stage
Ready to demonstrate the Xperia Play

Xperia Play
We are having a look at the Xperia Play first. All four models are running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but the Xperia Play is a little different than the rest of the three. For a start, it's a Android smartphone AND a gaming device. But the development of this device has probably started a long time ago. Before the three other phones. Compared to Arc, Neo and Pro, the Xperia Play lacks the cool Sony stuff such as Mobile Bravia Engine, Exmor R camera sensor and HDMI out. The idea of implementing these features into the phones has probably been discussed by the planning team, but it has probably been too late for practical implementation. The idea of using the Xperia Play as a game console and game controller on a remote Full HD TV is something we would like to see. We spoke to a handful of Sony Ericsson representatives, including the German Project Planner, and some said that the missing HTDI out was a "mistake". Maybe this will come in the next generation of Xperia Play. Another thing giving away the suspicion that the Xperia Play project was started a little earlier than the other three phones was the battery. The Xperia Play is using the older BST-41 which has been available since the days of the Xperia X1 while the three new phones has a BST700 battery.

Comparing the Xperia Play with a Sony PSP or PSPgo is a natural thing to do. All three portable game consoles has the well known game controller buttons we also find on the larger Sony PlayStation games consoles. The build quality of the Xperia Play game keys are similar to the other controllers, but the touch-pad like analog keys are something not seen before. We did not find it easy to use this keys on any of the pre-installed games, but the project planner told us none of the pre-installed games except the Dungeon Defenders are fully optimized for use with the thumbpad optical keys. These keys are of best use when steering game elements requiring circular movements.

Screen visibility is much better on the Xperia Play than the older PSP with its TFT LCD display. We brought the first generation of PSP-1000 with us to the Sony Ericsson booth for a comparison and it was a huge difference. We took some pictures of the two devices under a spotlight and while it was difficult to tell of the display on the PSP was turned on, the Xperia Play was viewable from all angels.

Comparing the dispaly visibility of the PlayStation PSP and Xperia Play. Clearly, display technology has improved since 2005
Xperia Play vs Sony PSP-1000

While both the Xperia Play and PSP has a 16.7 million colour display, the Xperia Play resolution of 854 x 480 pixel is much higher than the 480 x 272 resolution on the PSP. But it is the screen visibility and not the resolution that is prominent when the two devices was compared side-by-side.

The games we tried were all running smoothly. Only one time during a car crash did we see some lag in the motion. As the Android 2.3 Gingerbread is a multitasking operating system, some apps might have been running in the background while we where playing Asphalt. All in all, the game experience was excellent and we are looking forward to test the Xperia Play when more games are released. We were told the demo devices had the final os installed, but we are not sure if this is the case because all had a prototype sticker attached.

The optional docking station called DK300 will let you charge the phone and connect it to your speakers at the same time. We know some of you do not like having the 3.5 audio jack connector on the side of the phone, but we can see two reasons why Sony Ericsson has chosen to do it on the Xperia Play. One is that it fits well with the docking station. The other is that when you play games, the top and bottom of the phone is where you place your hands to use the game controls.

Multimedia dock DK300
Multimedia dock DK300

It was emphasized over and over that the Xperia Play not is the PSP successor. The Xperia Play is not the best gaming device, nor the best smartphone out there. It is a mix of both.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play image gallery

Asphalt on Xperia Play
Xperia Play
Worlds first PlayStation certified mobile phone. No games available yet. 50 games will be available at lanch and 100 in total by the end of the year
Xperia Play
Xperia Play lens, memory card slot and SIM card slot
Xperia Play
Xperia Play
Xperia Play
Playing Bruce Lee on the Xperia Play
Under the cover of Xperia Play
Fifa 2010 on Xperia Play

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play highlights

  • 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7 CPU
  • 175 gram
  • 119 x 62 x 16 mm
  • 4 inch display, 480 x 854 pixels, 16.7 million colour TFT, touchscreen
  • 5.1 megapixel camera, LED light, 480p video recording
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, e-compass
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Networks (three different network combination):
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 800/850/1900/2100
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
    • CDMA2000, cdmaOne, EVDO
  • Wifi, DLNA
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • PlayStation certified
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • ANT+

Xperia Arc
The Xperia Arc is a very slim smartphone with claimed depth of 8.7 mm at the thinnest part. We spoke to the Japanese product manager Mr. Hiroshi which told us the thickest part was 10.5 mm. He also told us that the middle of the phone only had room for a battery and the screen.

Xperia Arc

The thinnest part is at the center of the phone and the Xperia Arc form factor follows up on the statement from last year where Sony Ericsson said all future models will have the Human Curvature design philosophy.

Xperia Arc is so far the phone with the largest display from Sony Ericsson. It is 4.2 inch large, has 16.7 million colours, is called Reality, has 480 x 854 pixel resolution with a Mobile Bravia Engine. In our opinion, it is the best display Sony Ericsson has made to this date. The Mobile Bravia Engine improves noise reduction, sharpness, color management and contrast enhancement. The Bravia Engine was developed jointly by Sony and Sony Ericsson for improved image quality on mobile displays and it sure works. We have not been able to directly compare the Xperia Arc display with Samsungs Super AMOLED Plus or LGs NOVA display so we can't claim it is the best we have seen, but it sure is one of the best.

It is easy to vanish in the crowd of new Android smartphones with 4 inch devices in an event like Mobile World Congress. You will have to do something special to stick out of the crowd. The Xperia Arc does not have the fastest CPU or the largest display, but we think the distinguish form factor and generally high end features should be attractive to many consumers. The 8.1 megapixel camera has the resolution you would expect from a high-end device in 2011 and a f/2.4 aperture and a Exmor R CMOS sensor, you'll get low light capabilities we haven't seen before in a mobile phone. We haven't tested any other phone models with the same image quality in low light conditions as the Xperia Arc has. Another nice camera feature we have been looking for in a long time is that the camera is instantly ready for the next shot after an image is captured. There are no 2-second delay here. It is instantly ready for the next shot.

The Exmor R sensor are also active during 720p HD video recording. 

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is one of the 6 Xperia phones which has ANT+ support. ANT+ facilitates the collection, automatic transfer and tracking of sensor data for monitoring of personal wellness such as heart rate, power meter, step count data, position data, bicycle speed data and much more. Read more about ANT+ in this article.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc image gallery

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc main screen
Face focus using the Xperia Arc. Touch anywhere on the screen to capture the photo
Battery partly removed from the Xperia Arc. It is only room for the display between the fingers
Xperi Arc display settings. It is possible to switch of the Mobile Bravia Engine
Xperia Arc is 8.7 mm at the thinnest part and 10.5 mm at the thickes part
Silver Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
The four new Xperia models has a new feature called pinch-to-widget. If zooming out when looking at one of the five desktops, all active widgets becomes visible
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc sliver
Xperia Arc camera settings
The various focus modes in the Xperia Arc. Single autofocus, multi autofocus, macro, infinity, face detection, touch focus
Xperia Arc media player
Xperia Arc main menu
Focusing in low light with the Xperia Arc
Inside the Xperia Arc. Memory card and SIM card slots, lens and led flash light

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc highlights

  • 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 CPU
  • 117gram
  • 125 x 63 x 10.5 mm
  • 4.2 inch Reality display, 480 x 854 pixels, 16.7 million colour TFT, touchscreen, Mobile Bravia Engine
  • 8.1 megapixel camera, LED light, 720p video recording, Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, e-compass
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Networks:
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 800/850/1900/2100
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
  • Wifi, DLNA
  • HDMI out
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • ANT+

Xperia Neo
The Xperia Neo follows the Xperia Arc in almost all aspects. It also has the Mobile Bravia Engine and a Exmor R CMOS sensor. It is a little bit smaller than the Arc and has a VGA front facing camera for video calls. The display type and camera sensors are the same. The display size is 3.7 inch large, has 16.7 million colours and has a 480 x 854 pixel resolution which is the same resolution as Xperia Arc has. Xperia Neo is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and is running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. What Sony Ericsson did with Xperia X10 is not going to happen again. The signature applications added by Sony Ericsson on top of Android was implemented in such a way that it was difficult for Sony Ericsson to keep up with new releases of the Android OS. This time, Sony Ericsson has only two signature applications installed and these are Timescape and the Home screen application (pinch-to-widget and icon arrangement). Timescape is the one you can see on the image below where recent event are seen as virtual cards stacked on top of each other. By separating the signature application from the OS core, future updates could be done much faster than it did with the Xperia X10.

Comparing the Xperia Arc (left) and Xperia Neo

Comparing the Xperia Arc (left) and Xperia Neo
Inside the Xperia Neo
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo bottom and Vivaz Pro top
Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro left and Xperia Neo right
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo highlights

  • 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 CPU
  • 126 gram
  • 116 x 57 x 13 mm
  • 3.7 inch Reality display, 480 x 854 pixels, 16.7 million colour TFT, touchscreen, Mobile Bravia Engine
  • 8.1 megapixel camera, LED light, 720p video recording, Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Front facing VGA camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, e-compass
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Networks
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 800/850/1900/2100
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
  • Wifi, DLNA
  • HDMI out
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • ANT+

Xperia Pro
The Xperia Pro can be seen as the Vivaz Pro successor but the Symbian operating system has been replaced by Android 2.3 Gingerbred. The Xperia Pro has the same specifications as the Xperia Neo, but with a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard.

Silver Xperia Pro
Red Xperia Pro
Black Xperia Pro
Black Xperia Pro
Silver Xperia Pro
Xperia Pro

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro highlights

  • 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 CPU
  • 140 gram
  • 120 x 57 x 13.5 mm
  • 3.7 inch Reality display, 480 x 854 pixels, 16.7 million colour TFT, touchscreen, Mobile Bravia Engine
  • 8.1 megapixel camera, LED light, 720p video recording, Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • QWERTY - slide out keyboard
  • Front facing VGA camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, e-compass
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS
  • Networks
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 800/850/1900/2100
    • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
  • Wifi, DLNA
  • HDMI out
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • ANT+

The Xperia Play, Xperia Neo and Xperia Arc will be available in March this year, while Xperia Pro are in stores a little later. We do not know the price for these devices, but we expect the Play to go for EUR 600+, the Xperia Arc for 500+ and the Xperia Neo for around 440 Euro.

For full specification list, see our phone database pages. Direct links to Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo and the Xperia Pro




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goldenface3 years, 2 months ago
Brilliant round up, thanks. It's easy to compare the devices this way.

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