Stylish Sony phone has welcome features

FUTURIST: The Sony Xperia P.
FUTURIST: The Sony Xperia P.

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

The Press