It's been over five months since we first saw Sony's Xperia ion for AT&T, an Android device with LTE and a lot to prove. The Xperia line hasn't had much success here in the US, thanks in no small part to delayed launches and underwhelming hardware. The Xperia ion continues that late-launch trend, but the hardware has specs that indicate that Sony is aiming a little higher than your standard mid-range Android phone, including a 720p display, 12-megapixel camera, and the aforementioned LTE. In a more perfect world. Sony's Xperia ion would complete a trifecta of flagship AT&T Android phones, taking on the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III.

The problem with that storyline is twofold: first, in the long months since Sony announced the Xperia ion, both HTC and Samsung have announced and shipped their top-tier Android smartphones, each with significant advantages. Second, the software here is one-generation behind, running Android 2.3.7 instead of Ice Cream Sandwich. The Xperia ion has some very stiff competition — can it measure up?