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Xperia TL for AT&T, Sony's top-end 4.6-inch Android 4.0 smartphone for the US

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Gallery Photo: Sony Xperia TL for AT&T (hands-on pictures)
Gallery Photo: Sony Xperia TL for AT&T (hands-on pictures)

Samsung, HTC, and LG aren't the only ones to have their flagship Android phones on AT&T — Sony is joining the fray with the Xperia TL, a 4.6-inch Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone that runs on AT&T's LTE. The device is almost identical to the Xperia T and TX, which we first laid eyes on last month at IFA 2012 in Berlin. That means it has a 720p display, dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Krait processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of expandable storage. The focus is on the 13-megapixel rear camera, however, which shot quickly from frame to frame and the time from opening the app to taking the first shot was at least a second faster than on a Galaxy Nexus we tested against. In the dimly-lit environment of AT&T's event tonight in New York City, shots both with and without the flash impressed with low noise, but we'll need to take a closer look when we get a unit in for review.

As for the Xperia TL's design, the concave back is more comfortable to hold than you would expect at first sight, and the device feels quite solid compared to some of the more plastic-covered handsets out there. As we noted when we first used the Xperia T back in August, the screen does pick up fingerprints extremely easily, though our primary concern with the design relates to the power button layout. Sony has placed a tiny power button about half-way up the device, with a volume rocker and two-stage camera button beneath it — an unusual setup that leaves many buttons near the bottom of your thumb. The device also has a pronounced chin, and with AT&T's logo emblazoned there we suspect some may reach down there for the home button instead of for the on-screen buttons.

We've yet to hear when you'll be able to get the Xperia TL, but we're told that an Android 4.1 update is in the works.