The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a Smartphone designed for gamers. Sony has long been in the game arena with the Playstation leading the pack for home gaming systems. It only follows that the company would design mobile phones to be Playstation friendly. Contrary to popular belief, gaming – not texting - is the Number 2 way people spend their time using a Smartphone. The Xperia Play is the first certified PlayStation Smartphone with real gaming-style controls and an analog touch joystick. Sony’s design team made the Xperia Play very similar to Playstation game controllers.
The majority of games on Smartphones and Androids are simple games optimized for touchscreen input. You ‘drive’ the actions with taps and dragging fingers across the touchscreen. Most people are sufficiently entertained, but the more sophisticated gamer wants a mobile phone that operates more like their gaming system at home. They demanded something with the look and “feel” off a game driven by a handheld controller similar to what they use on their home Playstations or Xbox. The Xperia Play is the first phone has the proper hardware controls. The Android seems to be an ideal platform for this type of combination Smartphone-game controller device.
It’s hard not to compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY to its sibling, the PSP Go. The Xperia Play is 119 x 62 x 16 mm with a 4-inch screen vs. the 3.8 inches of the PSP Go. That makes the Xperia a bit smaller than the Go, but offers a larger screen. Viewing the screen straight-on provides good color and contrast. However, when viewed at an angle the contrast is poor. As compared to an AMOLED display, the angle viewing is poor.
This phone was definitely designed with two-handed use in mind. It’s also a bit on the heavy side at 175 grams. Users are going to want to work this phone as a gaming console with both hands. The gaming controls are accessed by pulling out the slider. The phone is balanced, but the weight makes it uncomfortable to operate using one hand. Of course, the controls were designed to mimic a Playstation’s game controller, the DualShock. There are four main controls with the directional located on the left, action keys on the right. The two analog touch pads correspond to the sticks of a controller. L and R trigger keys are on the top side of the phone. All in all, the phone works well as a gaming contoller device, response is good and will keep you in the game – as long as your aim is good!
Since Sony was going for the gaming connection its a bit surprising they didn’t beef up the processor on the machine, but the 1GHz CPU provides respectable response while browsing the Web. No complaints there. The on-board memory is also satisfactory at 512MB RAM, 8 MB for storage expandable to 32 GB with a microSD card. Gingerbread is the OS with a few tweaks to the system to support a custom PlayStation Pocket widget that leads to your PlayStation games.
The playing screen offers all the standard music controls and the phone does a good job of delivering music with or without earbuds. It’s easy enough to browse through your list of music in the library and to look up music on Sony Ericsson’s Play Now Arena. Oddly enough, there isn’t a dedicated video player app on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. The on-board player only supports 3GP and MP4, no DivX and XviD support. Download a good video player from the Android Market to compensate for this inadequacy.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play has a 5 mp camera with a single LED flash. Where you would expect to find a shutter key, instead you’ll find the trigger key. Instead, the X button serves as the shutter key. The does a good job of rendering pictures. You won’t get a huge amount of detail, but the camera does the job for capturing a memories as images or videos.
For the socialites in the crowd, Facebook is fully integrated into your multimedia experience on the Xperia Play. Use the Facebook friends’ games and apps widget to find and download games recommended by friends.
- CPU: 1 GHz Scorpion
- OS: Android OS, v2.3.7 (Gingerbread)
- 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
- Memory: 8 GB storage, microSD, up to 32GB; 512 MB RAM
- Dimensions 119 x 62 x 16 mm
- Weight 175 grams
- Connections: Bluetooth, microUSB port; Wi-Fi: Yes, DLNA, Hot-spot
- Display: 4.0-inches, 480 x 854 pixels, LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen
- Camera: 5 MP, autofocus, LED flash
- Video: yes, 720p
- Secondary yes, VGA
- Radio: No
- GPS: Yes
- Browser: WAP 2.0, HTML Plus Adobe Flash
- Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh
- Stand-by Up to 425 h (2G) / Up to 413 h (3G)
- Talk time Up to 8 h 25 min (2G) / Up to 6 h 25 min (3G)
- Loads of Playstation games
- Great for Playstation aficionados, but a fun too for non-PSers
- Designed like a PS game controller makes gaming easy
- Fun phone with plenty of usability
- Display is hard to view from an angle
- No shutter key for the camera
- Design similar to a Playstation controller makes the phone a bit big for one-handed use
- Not the best video recording; WVGA resolution
- No FM radio
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a great phone for Playstationaholics. However, if you are looking for a phone that goes beyond the Angry Birds types of Android games, you’ll love the Xperia Play. Forget about work for a few minutes or an hour and slide out the controls of your Xperia Play. Jump behind the wheel of a race car or get it on in a street rumble. When its time to get back to business, the Xperia Play is an efficient, full-featured Android mobile phone.