Sony Xperia S

Verge Review

The Sony Xperia S is the first product to emerge from the newly consolidated Sony Mobile group. Although it'll inevitably be treated as the bellwether for Sony's attempt at going it alone on the mobile front, this phone's design and development can rightfully be attributed to the former Sony Ericsson partnership. Whatever the logo at the top, the Xperia S comes with a clear mission to woo users with its dashing good looks and to keep them interested with a highly competitive spec sheet. Its...

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.42 inches
Weight 0.32 pounds
Form factor Slab
Screen size (diagonal) 4.3 inches
Operating system Android
Launch OS version 2.3.7

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Tech Specs

Hardware

Height 5.04 inches
Width 2.52 inches
Thickness 0.42 inches
Weight 0.32 pounds
Form factor Slab
Color Black, White

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 4.3 inches
Resolution (Y) 720 px
Resolution (X) 1280 px
PPI 342
Touchscreen type Capacitive

Connectivity

GSM Yes
GSM frequencies supported 1900, 1800, 900, 850
UMTS / HSPA Yes
UMTS frequencies supported 900, 2100, 1900, 850
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b
802.11n frequencies 2.4GHz
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
NFC support Yes
Tethering / mobile hotspot Yes
Media streaming DLNA

Processor

Manufacturer Qualcomm
Brand / family Snapdragon
Model MSM8260
Clock speed 1.5 GHz
Number of cores 2

GPU

Model Adreno 220

Memory

RAM size 1 GB

Storage

Internal size 32 GB

Front Camera

Resolution 1.3 megapixels

Rear Camera

Resolution 12.1 megapixels
Flash LED
Focus type Autofocus
Video resolution 1080p

Software

Operating system Android
Skin Sony Ericsson
Launch OS version 2.3.7

Interface

Video out Yes
Headphone jack 3.5mm
Other ports Micro USB

Sensors

Sensors Compass (Magnetometer), Proximity, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer

Battery

Capacity 1750 mAh

Recent News

No recent news about Sony Xperia S.

Recent Discussions

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8.0

Average User Review

of 7 total reviews
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  • Design 9
  • Display 8
  • Camera(s) 9
  • Reception / call quality 9
  • Performance 8
  • Software 8
  • Battery life 7
  • Ecosystem 8

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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by matthewryans (Currently owns)

    Picked up the Xperia S back in June. Great design, love the transparent strip but the back was so prone to scratches. ICS is great on the SXS, but sometimes laggy. The home screen is also often laggy, especially after returning from an app. Widgets are also exclusive to Xperia Home, and can't be added to third party launchers, which is quite annoying. The battery barely lasts a day and runs out at about 5pm when used on and off from 7am. Also, the camera takes great pictures, when you see it on the phone (Bravia mobile.) When you transfer them to a computer, the pictures look very washed out. All in all, the SXS is a great phone, if with some cons.

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 7
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 7
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 7
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by mcridley (Currently owns)

    I have just spent this weekend with the ICS update to the Xperia S and wish to share my thoughts.

    Before I start I would like to say that there are some elements of Vlad’s view of the hardware that I disagree with. I believe that this is as well built and fairly premium feeling phone. I agree it is not to the same extreme high level of quality as the iPhone 4/4S but I believe that it is one of the better feeling android devices on the market (bar the One X which is one of the best designed phones ever realesed). Also whilst it may have been released with an older generation processor than may have been expected for a flagship phone I can’t say I have ever really found wanting.

    Anyway so onto the software: Timescape w/ ICS. First and foremost it does not feel like a vastly different OS on the surface. After the update the only visible change on the lock screen is the Sound On/Off toggle having been replaced with a quick launch camera action. Also the newly styled ICS status bar is present – but looks wise not much has changed.

    Sony had one of the least irritating Android 2.3 skins I had come across (having waged war with pervious devices using Sense 3 and TouchWiz). Sony place a little bit of their style identity on top of a fairly stock Android experience. This is continued with their ICS release. The skin just gets out of the way and doesn’t try too hard to get your attention.

    There has been a noticeable increase in performance with the update. I never fund the phone to be overly laggy before however with ICS the phone flies. I haven’t yet found anything it really struggles to deliver. The ICS multitasking menu is summoned by a long press on the home button – whilst this is a fairly common solution across three-buttoned devices I do feel that most users will never come across this functionality.

    The update brings the ability to run Android 4.0 only apps on the device. The biggest bonus of this is Chrome, which has instantly replaced the stock browser as my weapon of choice for browsing the web. The device handles it well producing a very smooth web experience. The 720 screen allows a lot of the web to be viewed clearly on the screen at all time.

    Overall it definitely feels like Sony have taken their time to produce a solid and pleasurable update to this phone. I believe this is still one of the best looking Android devices currently on the market with a good screen and camera. The addition of ICS simply brings to life the previously dormant hardware and creates a fast, slick and most of all easy to live with device. Now I just have the long wait for Android 4.1!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by Abody (Currently owns)

    It is really cool i don't know y its is 7.1
    it should be more than that I hope every one rate truly
    and btw I have android 4.04 on it
    the performance is very good
    and it has very beautiful design
    the camera is powerful
    the display is really excellent
    and the screen is very bright

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 10
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by Dr Etherium (Currently owns)

    Compared to a lot of the phones out on the market it actually looks different, and has a definite flare. The software (Boo hoo no ICS... so what) has been well optimized which if anything bodes well for the eventual ICS upgrade. My previous smartphone was the X10 and that always felt a little sluggish while this beast does not. Compared to my wife's iphone, this phone is snappy, and we recently took some awesome cosplay pictures of her. The screen is stunning and great for reading books, and watching TV/pictures.

    If anything is lacking right now it is Sony and their SEN which is pretty useless if you an expat, and of course the play station certificate.

    Music wise the phone has great play back and of course the Facebook integration through the phone is excellent. Timescape has also had a great revamp, and is no longer a cluttered mess. But still it is more of a novelty than actually useful.

    Also I have noted that even on the same network in the same location, the phone seems a lot snappier in grabbing things of the mobile internet network. Or at least the perception is that as it seems to display things rather qucikly.

    -

    Now ICS has arrived it is like a new phone. ICS has been given a subtle skinning by Sony, and the new Walkman app is great to use. It, along with Spotify even allow themselves to be operated from the lock screen. Very useful.

    The battery life is great, with the device surviving a good days worth of usage (1 hour of music, constant wifi, back ground updates properly managed, 3 email accounts pushing, 5 social networks pushing updates, 30 mins of kindle usage, auto brightness, 30 mins web browsing) so that it pushes around the 14 hour mark, give or take a few hours for higher or lower usage.

    ICS also is pretty slick on the device (and only two cores.... does Sony have optimization magic?) and really it feels like a brand new device. Seriously, ignore the official review as of now. ICS adds some great new functions. Not needed, but certainly welcome.

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by cgorton (Currently owns)

    It's interesting to read reviews of the Xperia S across the internet. I bought it day 1 with plenty of hope and must admit to trepidation on reading the reviews written before I received mine in the post.

    As is often the case with technology the suitability of a product depends on your needs. Others have complained that the screen has a shallow viewing angle. That is correct. I travel for business constantly, and have put a polarised filter on my laptop screen. This phone remains private to me. Perfect. I've not yet found an occasion when I wasn't looking at it front on!

    The same with battery life. I don't use a lot of widgets but do make and receive a lot of calls including using bluetooth. I get well in excess of a days usage comfortably able to go through an evening of entertaining. Added that the battery seems to recharge very quickly including over USB I've not yet had a problem.

    I don't mind the lack of ICS, though to be fair I'm more interested in the applications I use daily, and the OS itself isn't a high priority for me. I might be missing something here and could be eating words whenever Sony gets around to releasing it. I doubt ICS will improve my ability to maintain contact with my customers and team, so from a garden variety users point of view rather than a technology view it isn't a big deal. I can understand though that a flagship phone released post ICS should be carrying the latest software.

    The same applies to the processor choice - I believe but do not know that the choice of an older tech processor would allow for better battery management. The tradeoff doesn't seem to have been any great penalty as I don't notice any lag or issues. But then I came from Windows Mobile, so really my opinion may be undeservedly flattering!

    While the capacitive buttons haven't been a problem, I don't understand the decision. It doesn't really add anything to the experience so ends up feeling like one of three bad design decisions. Sure it looks good and I haven't had a miss press since the second day, but why? The others are the extra length and not using the white LEDs for notifications except when the phone is ringing. Which is good when on silent.

    I love the camera, the screen, and the clean black slab design. As a daily driver this has been a great choice. For me.

    The Breakdown

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    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 8
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by Andresin (Currently owns)

    I really like it. The build quality is not top notch but it's OK. There is no color banding on my display and there is automatic brightness adjustment (contrary to what the Verge's review says). The Xperia S automatically adjusts screen brightness unless you set it to the max brightness setting. You can't turn it off though and that's why the toggle is missing from the screen options menu.

    The screen really is the highlight of this phone. It's wonderful in every way except viewing angles which are not so good. I'm really impressed with the blacks. They're as good as the blacks on my AMOLED HTC Desire if the screen brightness is not ramped up excessively.

    Another error in the Verge's review is that they say the camera app is missing a tap to focus feature. The feature is there you just have to turn it on.

    The Breakdown

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    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Reception / call quality 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
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  • 5.0
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    Reviewed by mjenabi2 (Currently owns)

    Just in case you won't read the full review, AVOID AVOID AVOID this phone.

    I cannot understand how someone at sony though yeah, this phone is great, put it in production. The phone looks nice but honestly it has so many flaws that is impossible to live with and as a result mine is on ebay as i type this review.

    I'll do the positives first.

    Cell Reception/ Call Quality is up there with the best. never heard someone's voice clearer through the ear piece. but note that the sharp corners (well not sharp but very narrow) will hurt your ear whilst talking on the phone.

    Performance is pretty good, everything runs smoothly thus far.

    Screen, if you are looking at it straight is amazing in everyway, but tilt it slightly and everything washes out.

    Now to the important part. Negatives.

    my single biggest problem with this phone is the battery life. it's way too short. unlike anyone's guess, it's down to the screen rather than the 1.5ghz dual core S3 cpu. the screen is responsible for %65 of the battery usage on the phone which is crazy as you need the screen to do (almost) anything on the phone.
    And sony havent done themselves any favours with stopping its customers by not allowing you to replace the battery, to either change it for a higher capacity one or have 2 batteries to keep one as spare.

    Second problem is the screen. This phones biggest selling point is also its downfall. The screen is great to look at if its angled directly at your eyes. but a little left, right, top or bottom and you get the horrible washed out colours. this might not effect everyone, but i have been using a HTC mozart which has a SLCD screen and the viewing angles are virtually perfect and my work phone, Galaxy S has a super amoled which again has great viewing angles. so to use the sony it feels like a step down, despite the 340 odd pixel density.

    Design / ergonomics: This phone is extremely hard to use. it's very long and has very sharp corners which makes it quite hard to hold or even attempt to use one handed. also the lock key is placed very awkwardly and the volume buttons are mounted very low on the side. Also the overs for the usb and hdmi port are very flimsy, hard to open and close.

    Camera: yes 12mp. yes blah blah sensor but unless it's very sunny and conditions are perfect, you cannot get a good shot. the video recording is smooth but the pictures, specially any picture taken indoors will look horrible.

    overall, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to phones like the HTC One X or the upcoming Galaxy SIII, steer well away from this phone and buy a glaxy nexus instead.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 5
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Reception / call quality 10
    • Performance 8
    • Software 5
    • Battery life 1
    • Ecosystem 5
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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