Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
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Good all-round phone despite poor game line-up
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
Member Name: schmoogrz
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
Advantages: Good all-round Android phone, oh-so-cool slide out controls
Disadvantages: Poor game line-up, few minor design issues
The main novelty with the Xperia Play is the slide out control pad, which is very cool indeed. Though as a long-term user of the Xperia Play I don't find myself using it much, or at all really. It could be that I'm busy a lot of the time, but I think part of it is that the Xperia Play lacks a little on the gaming front.
Sliding open the phone and waiting two or three seconds lands you at a screen with all the games you have installed whilst the second tab provides you with games you can purchase. Whilst there are a hefty offering, not many of them appeal personally and the amount of PSX ports is pitiful - there's no Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo or Chrono Cross, or old lame favourites like Harry Potter. Which is disappointing.
One option is FPSE, an application which is available on any phone for a small fee (see Android market place) which allows you to play these games - but not before a headachey task of ripping your old Playstation games only to find that they may or may not play smoothly. The good news is that FPSE will work with the Xperia Play's controls.
As a phone the Xperia Play is decent. Most of the time it is responsive, though like any Android phone it does run in to the occasional hang or multitasking 'skip' whilst you're listening to music and trying to surf the web.
The screen nice, if a little on the dim side, but plenty sharp and vibrant. Coming from a HTC I found the screen a little less touch responsive mind you - occasionally it'll miss a keystroke whilst I'm typing.
Sound from the speakers is excellent - the best I've heard from a phone. The handset has two speakers on the left side of the unit (for landscape reasons) which are incredibly clear and actually have a bit of 'punch' to them. Call quality is also very good albeit it exhibits an occasional 'click'.
The volume controls can be a little frustrating given that they are mounted in a recessed way; the placement of the lock button also annoys me a little - it can be a little awkward to push sometimes given its on the back half of the handset's slider near the top (many manufacturers have started placing the lock button on the side with how screens have got bigger). The button labels on the front aren't backlit, but you get used to their placement.
Camera is nothing to write home about. It's acceptable, but by no means anywhere near as good as the iPhone 4S camera. There's a front-facing which is nice, but it's VGA.
Battery life is usual for a smartphone - you'll find yourself needing to charge it almost every day - unless you don't use it - but I've seen it manage two/three days before.
Other than what I've said there's only one or two other minor niggles - firstly you only get 400MB of space on this handset for apps. You can move most apps to the SD card however it gets a little frustrating - and not all apps will budge. Secondly the phone will happily play XviD and other formats with third party players but through software emulation only - the phone seems to lack hardware codecs and means HD is a no-go on this phone - not that you would want HD on a 3.2" screen (it can be convenient if you don't want to convert something), but just saying.
There's not much else to say really - if you have any queries just comment and I'll get back to you.
Summary: A few minor niggles but I'd thoroughly recommend this as a good all-round smartphone.
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