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Phone Reviews

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

sony-ericsson-xperia-play

Review

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is an Android handset with an interesting twist. With a sturdy slide-out controller, the first PlayStation certified android device was aimed at mobile gamers and met Sony’s sales expectations before dropping by over 50% in price.

So what has the Xperia Play got for show?

Hardware

The biggest attraction of the Xperia Play is of course the slide-out controller. The controller has a very similar layout to PlayStation gamepads, or a PSP. The controller doesn’t have physical joysticks, but instead two touchpads, which seemed a little temperamental under use.

The buttons feel very sturdy and work smoothly whilst playing, but with the extended thickness of the controller, around double the size of most other handsets, it takes a while to find a position to hold it comfortably. The extra thickness isn’t too limiting when using the device as a normal smartphone, but if you’re looking for a phone to make calls and browse the internet, the Xperia Play isn’t a great first choice.

The Play is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM, which before the price drop seemed a little poor. The screen is of LED and the quality is below the standards for its release price, but after seeing the handset now available for around £200, the Xperia Play sets a hard competition for any other devices with a similar price tag.

With a 5Megapixel camera, the Xperia Play produces surprisingly decent results, and with a built in flash, the camera can produce much higher quality images at various lighting conditions.

 

Software

The Xperia Play runs on Android 2.3, with a planned upgrade to 4.0, although like many devices, it may be some time till we see that actually happen. The Play comes with a dedicated PlayStation store, called PlayStation Pocket, and this is a market filled with PlayStation certified port-overs of older games seen on other PlayStation devices. There is quite a variety of games, but don’t expect to find any graphically demanding games on there, as the Xperia Play would not be able to cope with the strain, and you’ll mostly find PS One ports on PlayStation Pocket.

There is also an Xperia Play app which can be opened by sliding out the controller; this is a modified Google Play store to feature games that can be played with the Xperia’s physical controls.

Besides gaming, the Xperia Play is pretty average, the home screens are customizable and there are a row of buttons at the bottom of the device to allow easier navigation. You may find using your phone, especially when on an internet browser, a little bit laggy, and it’s rather unsatisfying to think the Play was launched at a price of £500.

After its’ drop in price, Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play is an interesting attempt at bringing both a smartphone and a handheld console together. There are places where we’d prefer things to be more smooth, and the gaming side of things has a lot further to go before we could confidently compare it to other handheld devices, but if you’re looking for a way to kill two birds with one stone at a great price, the Xperia Play sacrifices more premium features of both smartphones and handhelds to bring a more affordable compromise of the two.

Rating

9.75/10

2 votes

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Specifications


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