Stylish Sony phone has welcome features

GERARD CAMPBELL
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2012
Sony Xperia P
FUTURIST: The Sony Xperia P.

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In this age of when it's often hard to tell one smartphone from the next, it's nice to see Sony put thought into doing something different with its Xperia P phone.

The eye-catching feature for the P is the transparent strip running near the bottom of the phone. It's not just there for cosmetic purposes: it houses the home, search and back buttons. It's a major point of difference for the P and I welcome it.

My review unit was running Android 2.3 (Sony says it'll will be updated to Android 4.0 at some stage: as far as I know that hasn't happened in New Zealand yet) and packing a dual-core processor means the Xperia P is pretty snappy when it comes to multi-tasking and means it holds it own in terms of performance with the current Android-market leaders.

The Xperia P has a 4-inch, 540 by 960 resolution LED screen, which according to the box uses Sony's mobile Bravia engine: I'm not entirely sure what that means but because Sony also makes TVs I guess that translates as saying everything looks good on-screen - and things do look pretty good. It's a pretty stylish phone, too, with its brushed aluminium back and discreet Sony logo .

These days many people use phone cameras to take their snapshots, rather than have dedicated cameras, and worth mentioning is the Xperia P's 8MP camera, which uses a lot of the technology that Sony uses for its dedicated camera range. It takes decent shots given that it's a phone camera and has some handy features, such as being able to take panoramic shots easily. It also takes 1080p video. Another welcome feature of the P that many other smartphones don't have is the HDMI out connection which means you can connect to a TV and watch photos or captured video on the larger screen if you want.

Perhaps the major complaint for me about the Xperia P is the battery: you can't change it yourself, and the phone seemed a little heavier than other comparable smart phones. For the price, though, you're getting a decent performing phone for a mid-range price.

All we need now is for the handset to receive an Android 4.0 update and it'll be a far stronger contender.

Sony Xperia P

RRP: $649, Vodafone

Key stats: 8MP camera, dual-core CPU, 1Gb memory, 16Gb on-board storage, 4-inch screen, 1080p video, HDMI out

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