It’s only been six months since Sony released its original Xperia Arc (in April), so there is some surprise they felt compelled to deliver a new model so soon. It probably has a lot to do with Apple’s latest release, the iPhone 4S. Now everyone wants to have an ‘S’ model. The Sony Eric Xperia Arc S is an Android based Smartphone housed in a cool, sexy convex curved case available in several colours including pink. The engine is an amped-up 1.4 GHz Scorpion processor with updated Android OS (Gingerbread), plenty of memory at 512 MB and generous storage at 8GB. The biggest feature change is Sony’s 3D Sweep Panorama feature which captures 3D pictures you can view at home on your latest 3D Sony HDTV. This Smartphone has GPS capabilities and is pre-loaded with Maps 5.1 with cool 3D buildings in the map rendering.
The Sony Eric Xperia Arc S has a fast 1.4GHz single-core processor, plus the latest Android 2.3.4 update of Google’s Gingerbread operating system. Out of the box, the phone is loaded with 8 GB of storage. Very ample, but the downside is when you want to upgrade to 32GB of storage you have to remove the battery to insert the microSD card.
The Gingerbread OS provides a new feature for capturing 3D still images with the help of the 8 megapixel camera. This is appealing to people with 3D capable high-def televisions, otherwise you may not really care. You can take 3D panorama shots and then view them on your Sony (or other brand) 3D HDTV. Enhanced Facebook integration will make Facebook addicts squeal with delight. Facebook albums are supported and the Music player on the Xperia Arc S lets you “like” tracks you’re listening to and in turn, the like posts it on your wall. Then you can post comments about the music and your Friends can tune into your vibe.
Text messaging got enhanced a bit with threaded messages and several file attachment options. When attaching a video to an SMS message, the application prompts to crop the size of the video to a much smaller package so it can travel along its electronic path without breaking any SMS size limitations. Another option is to select Record Video from the attachment menu. This automatically changes the recording to the lowest possible resolution and limits the recording.
Even though Apple just came out with voice recognition on the iPhone 4S, the Android has offered this feature for several generations. Android voice commands are pretty rudimentary like “Send text to” and then you say a name. Usually the correct Contact is inserted, but occasionally the tool fails. This probably has to do with nuances in human speech patterns and a small database for voice recognition. If you prefer to type commands and entries, the QWERTY keyboard is very usable whether you hold the phone in horizontal or portrait position. Another option offered by the Xperia Arc S is an alternative keyboard for Swype-style text input. To use Swype input you drawing a line from letter to letter. Not every consumer enjoys Swype mode texting, but it’s nice to have the option.
When you view the 4.2-inch display you’ll be impressed by the sharpness and clarity of images and text presented on the screen. The downside is that when you tilt the screen a bit you can still read the text, but the rest of the images are greatly distorted.
Reception and connections are solid at both ends of the call with the Sony Xperia Arc S. The mobile phone held on to signal well and didn’t drop calls. There is a built-in secondary microphone that really helps cancel out loud noises or wind noises when you are speaking outdoors on a breezy day. The speaker on the Xperia Arc S’s is loud enough to hear without having to take the volume up to the maximum level. SMS/MMS text communications are grouped into threads with the latest thread at the bottom of the display.
The Sony Eric Xperia Arc S provides an 8 megapixel camera, complete with a single LED light and uses a backlit Exmor R sensor for better performance in low-light situations. The Eric Xperia Arc S captures 720p video at 30 fps and does a very good job of it. The camcorder has 16x digital zoom and auto-focus which is an improvement not found on many Smartphones. Sadly, there isn’t a front facing camera for video conferencing. The fact that Google Talk with video chat is included makes one wonder if the memo for a secondary camera never got to Sony’s engineering department.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S comes with a GPS receiver and Maps 5.1. This version of Maps allows offline map rerouting to get you back on course. If you want to input a new location and map it you will need a connection to the Internet. The maps have 3D buildings and two finger rotation to make orientation easier.
- 1.4 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255T Snapdragon
- OS: Android OS, v2.3.4 (Gingerbread)
- 2G Band: Quad-band GSM support, 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Band: HSDPA 900 / 2100 – LT18i / 850 / 1900 / 2100 / 800 – LT18a
- Memory: 512 MB RAM; 320 MB Storage; 8GB storage expandable microSD card up to 32 GB
- Connections: Bluetooth 2.1, micro-HDMI port, microUSB port; Wi-Fi: Yes, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
- Display: 4.2-inch 480 x 854p, 16M colours LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen
- Camera: 8.0 megapixel; 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
- Video: Video calling; 720p@30fps, continuous autofocus, video light, video stabilizer; No secondary
- Dimensions: 125 x 63 x 8.7 mm
- Weight: 117 grams
- Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS
- Battery: Li-ion battery
- Battery Life in Stand-by Mode: Up to 460 hours (3G)
- Battery Life in Talk Time: Up to 6. 5 hours (3G)
- Android OS 2.3.4 Gingerbread
- 1.4 GHz processor
- Several colour options: Pure White, Midnight Blue, Misty Silver, Gloss Black, Sakura Pink
- Video calling
- 8 mp camera with 16x digital zoom
- Social media integrations
- Adobe Flash support
- No secondary camera for video conferencing
- Display provide poor viewing when tilted
- MicroSD card is not hot swappable
The Sony Eric Xperia Arc S is not an upgrade on the previous model, but a gentle face lift and tummy tuck. It’s the little things like the 8mp camera with 16x zoom, Facebook integration and useful GPS with Maps that make the difference in user experience over the older Eric Xperia Arc.