Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S Review

I was given the opportunity to try out Sony Ericsson Xperia rc S. As you may already know, Xperia arc S is the successor for Xperia arc. So, what are the significant differences in arc and arc S?

Overview

Here is a comparison chart that I have taken from Sony Ericsson site. I consolidated the information to show just the differences between arc and arc S. You can check out the specs here.

As you can see, there are not much differences. There are more colors to choose. If I am not wrong, most of the new features can be done with firmware upgrade. However, there is one hardware that the chart did not show. Xperia arc S has a new 1.4 GHz processor as compared to the 1.0 GHz on Xperia arc. BTW, the processor on arc S is not a duo core.

Physical Look

Here are some pictures of the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S. As usual, SE is able to deliver a sexy looking handset. With its pure black screen, it really makes this phone an eye turner.

Front

This design is the same as Xperia arc.

Back

Close up of the 8.1 MPX camera with flash.

Sides

At just 8.7mm thick (on the slimmest side), it is really nice to hold. From the picture below, you can see shutter button, volume rocker switch and the MicroUSB port for charging and data transfer

On this side, you can see a 3.5mm jack.

Top

It has the mini HDMI port and the power on/off button.

This is with mini HDMI port cover opened.

Bottom

It has the microphone on the bottom.

With cover opened up to show the battery and slots for SIM card and MicroSD card.

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If you notice, you can see a 2nd mic that I believe is used for noise cancellation purpose.

Here is the 1500mAh battery.

 

Usage

Ok, this is not about Android OS. It is more on Sony Ericsson’s OS enhancements in terms of software and hardware. Currently, there are so many Android handsets that are look so similar. Brands like HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson often customize their handsets with enhancements and features. I would like to talk about Xperia arc S enhancements here.

Things I like about Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S

Folder

Like iOS, you can stack 2 icons on the main screen together and it will become a folder. Unlike iOS, you can put as many icons into it as you like.

Camera

Super bright camera (F2.4) that takes very good pictures at low light. See below pic taken in a room with fluorescent lamp. The panorama display is also a nice features.

Speaker

Very loud and good speaker from the phone.

Design

Super light weight at 117grams. I like the curves. Makes it more unique and different from other phones.

Bravia Engine

Love watching videos from the phone. They are so vibrant.

Things I DON’T like about Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S

Timescape

I think SE should think about Timescape. What is the point of having it, if it only shows good graphics but points each Twitter or Facebook updates to a mobile site? I think I must have mentioned so many times that Timescape is not going to be of interest to most social media addict.

Camera Shutter Button

It is super difficult to depress. If you have one hand to hold the phone, I am pretty sure that you will not like this shutter button. Alternatively, you can use the soft button to capture. But then, it means that any touch on the screen in camera mode will cause the camera to fire off.

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No Front Facing Camera

Ok. Many people are telling me that front facing camera is not necessary as you seldom use it for video chats. However, I would like to give my opinion. It is true that video chat has not catch up yet. However, the front facing camera can be a great help. For example, if you need a mirror and you cannot find one. A front facing camera can do the trick. This, in my opinion, is already an important reason why we need one 🙂

Maybe No, Maybe Yes

Some people might like certain customization on phones. Therefore, in this section, I will provide a neutral stand on these features.

Sony Ericsson has some customization that some may or may not like. For example, there is contact area where you can “favorite” your friends for easy messaging or dialing. There is also Timescape to scroll through your social media updates.

Some features are not easily seen. For example, if you pinch on the main menu, you can see an overview of the various screens with floating icons. Touch on any of them to go to the screen. This is actually customized. Love it or hate it.

There are also apps that are catered for SE devices like, PlayNow, Update Center, Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited. For Video Unlimited, Singapore is not part of the countries that will have it.

Summary

The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S is a slight upgrade from Xperia arc. If you are holding on to Xperia arc, there is no hurry to change to arc S. However, if you are thinking of upgrading to ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich), you may have to have this arc S as this is one of the few handsets that SE has identified for ICS upgrade.

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In this mass Android market, Sony Ericsson will have a tough fight. Not to be left behind, SE has to take note of users’ feedback, upgrading timeline and most importantly, the features that majority wanted.

Overall, Xperia arc S is good to have if you need a good camera, a nice design with great screen. I have not used it long enough to give a fair judgement for Xperia arc S. I have heard stories of Bluetooth failing or not able to sync properly. I tried connecting with my Bluetooth earpiece. It works without issues.

So far, my experience has been positive. For those who had used Xperia arc S, what is your opinion?
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