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Last August I won this phone, directly from Sony themselves, exactly 2 weeks after getting a new HTC phone on my contract - oh well! Initially I decided to stick with my HTC as I was used to how everything was laid out with that brand, but the looks of the Sony really appealed to me, so I kept it in a draw rather than selling it on. A couple of times when I knew I was going on a long and important photography shoot (wedding) with no access to a charger all day, I even charged it up and took it with me just in case the battery on my HTC died.
Anyway fast forward to now and I recently decided that I was bored of my HTC, plus it was looking a little tatty round the edges where I dropped it so many times. So to that end I decided to have a change for free by digging out that Sony.
As I did the initial set up almost a year ago, I can't remember the exact process, but as someone who is fairly easily confused and frustrated by computers and phones, I do remember the process to be fairly easy and not at all daunting.
I have to say I think that appearance wise the Xperia ray is on to a real winner - it's slim, sleek and stylish. Personally I find most modern 'smart' phones are a bit on the ugly side and always wistfully remember my Motorola K1 (still tucked away in a cupboard as I can't bring myself to get rid of it) - that was a lovely looking flip phone, and while obviously this phone is not of the flipping variety, it's stylish sleek lines put me very much in mind of my past favourites. It's slimmer than most phone on the market and personally I find it sits much better in my hands than the more common and cumbersome models out there.
Obviously smaller phone also equals smaller screen, this may present and problem for some and at first I did wonder how much impact it would have on use for something that's touchscreen, but it really hasn't presented an issue. The screen is still plenty big enough to see what you're doing and read any text. The widescreen format also allows you to watch videos with ease when held on its side. When used vertically the onscreen keyboard reverts to the style we were used to of old - a numeric keypad where each number controls 3 or 4 letters. It took me no time at all to get back into the swing of things with this and indeed I find it just as quick, if not quicker to type on. If you prefer individual keys for your letters, then turning the phone on its side will bring up a fully fledged keyboard for your use.
The whole front of the phone has the same gloss finish - there is no textural distinction where the LCD panel ends and the rest of the phone carries on. I've found the widescreen shape made it difficult to find appropriate screen protector - they're all to short and wide. In the end I trimmed down the side of a conventional 3" one which left the top and bottom exposed. This solution didn't last long either and it soon peeled off, I haven't bothered replacing it and will just put up with the inevitable little scratches it will accumulate from being in my pocket or handbag (there are a couple of tiny marks on there already). I have just seen some exact fit screen protectors available for it on amazon which may be worth it for some, but too late for me now.
I find the phone to be very touch responsive while remaining not over sensitive, with just a couple of exceptions - I sometimes find the facebook app has a slight delay when you press the menu and sometimes I end up pressing twice and accidentally entering the search facility (not sure if this might be an app problem rather than a phone one as it also crashes fairly frequently which nothing else installed on the phone does). Also the camera is a little slow to start up when activating the feature at times ie. I just pressed on it, certainly for the first time today, and nothing happened for about 5 seconds before it popped up, however if I now go to access it, then it comes up right away. Sometimes this is a bit of a pain if there's an unexpected moment you're trying to capture, it might be gone before you get the camera up and running. Also the 'crop' feature on the gallery can be very frustrating by frequently springing to different shapes and sizes you didn't ask it to.
Going off on a slight tangent - I did some modelling a few years back, but I find most people can't get a good photo of me (except the pro photographers of course) - I have one of those faces where the slightest change in angle can make the difference between a lovely portrait and one fit for nothing but the bin. Now call me vain but I was happy to find that this camera came equipped with a front facing camera - yay! Now I don't have to plague people with taking endless shots of me before I can find one I'm reasonably happy with, now I can see exactly what it will look like before the photo is taken myself. Makes it much easier to take 'couple' snaps of me and my boyfriend on days out - he doesn't like photos at the best of times, so the quicker I can make the process the better. Of course the camera quality for the front facing one is fairly poor - it's 2mp (enough to print probably 8x6, maybe A4 at a push) and is a bit soft, but as it's only for silly, self serving snaps this isn't an issue for me. The 'main' camera on the rear is 8mp at maximum resolution and produces visibly better quality results - they're much superior to any images I've taken on past phones (clearer, brighter and sharper in general), but not quite as good as my boyfriends Samsung Galaxy S2. At the end of the day I don't expect much in terms of picture quality from a camera phone and I'm more than happy with what it's capable of doing.
Charging the phone is done as expected through a mini USB port - this is the same USB as used by my HTC, boyfriends Samsung and my Kindle, so it's quite universal which is a big plus (comes with cable and wall plug in the box). Unlike any other phone I've had the USB port is located at the top left of the camera and at first I didn't think of the implications of USB positioning, but in practice I've found that its location means the phone is still easy to hold and use while being on charge - got to give Sony some points for sensible design there.
On that note, the battery life is as reasonable as can be expected for this type of phone - I usually charge once a day (at night) with reasonably heavy use ie. internet and a few silly little games.
Apps wise I've downloaded a couple of games (anyone want to play with Pou?!) which work well, for some reason most games I tried to download on my HTC wouldn't play properly, they would judder and hang, despite (in theory) there being plenty of available 'space' to accomodate them.
You can also expand the memory with varying sizes of micro SD card which fit in a slot inside the rear cover - I currently have an 8gb in mine which is sufficient for my needs. It's also quicker to pop this out to transfer files to something else, than it is trying to blue tooth them, but you do have to take out the battery to remove the card which is a slight pain.
In the box you're also provided with a small set of headphones - I can't comment on these as I have no music on my phone (while I love music, I have absolutely no desire to listen to it while walking about). My headphones have a much shorter wire for the left ear piece than the right and I have no idea if this is a fault or intentional design!
Overall I think that this phone has done a good job of swaying me away from HTC (the only brand of smart phone I've previously owned) and when the time comes for another I'll certainly consider Sony's latest offerings.
At the time I won this, the phone was selling for around the £200 mark and a quick look on amazon shows me you can pick one up new to the tune of £155+ or £70+ secondhand.
I chose this handset as my upgrade in October so it was free with my contract. I wasn't sure I wanted another Sony after being rather disappointed with the Xperia X10 mini, but when I saw this one I thought it looked great and had to have it.
When I got it this was one of the last handsets and I was told it was disconitnued and replaced with the Xperia U. The xperia U has a 5mp camera, whereas this has 8mp so I decided that as it was still available online I would rather have the better camera than the newer design. It may be hard to purchase this in stores but it is available to buy online from £90 used and £200 new.
When I took the phone out of the box I was quite impressed, it's a much slimmer phone than any I have previously had. The screen is large and there are only 3 buttons outside of the touchscreen, the phone is lightweight and although a big larger than what I'm used to it isn't as big and bulky as some of the new phone models.
It is black on the front and back, being matt on the back which I prefer as the shiny surfaces tend to get a bit grubby with scratches and fingerprints. The front is mainly taken up by the screen with only 3 buttons on the bottom and a small button built into the top to turn the phone on and off.
I do like the look and feel of this phone compared with others on the market.
Setting it up
Well setting it up was a bit of a nightmare, due to the fact that my previous phone refuses to connect up with my laptop and the Bluetooth wasn't working, I had a lot of music, pictures and videos on my old memory card so I inserted this into the new handset rather than transferring the data. The phone did come with a 4GB memory card which was the same as my old one so this part was easy.
I then inserted my old sim and finally figured out how to import the numbers from my sim card.
The phone shows a few messages asking you to set up your facebook account, twitter and other things I've never heard of. I set up the facebook and ignored the rest and the next thing I know my contacts in my phone book are full with all of my facebook contacts, again this took me a while how to figure out how to get rid of them but I got there in the end.
The time and date were already set up on the phone, the ringtone and message alert tones were easy to change to my preferred choice and from here the phone was pretty much ready to go.
What's on the phone
Well my background screen tells me the weather in my area, you can change this to be updated every half hour, hour, 4 hours, 12 hours or when you like.
The phone has the usual useful applications such as a calendar, alarm clock, calculator etc. along with some more complicated but still useful applications such as maps and gps.
There is a camera, 3D camera and video camera on the phone. Then you can select 2mp or 6mp when on full screen, or 8mp when on a slightly smaller screen which is still big enough to see clearly. The camera also has a flash and is a two way camera with a lens on both sides making it easier for video calls or taking pictures or videos of yourself. I have to admit the few picture I have taken on the phone so far have come out better than any camera or phone I've had and have come out clear and bright even in a darker room or environment, I'm very impressed with the camera.
You can browse the internet on your phone, watch videos and listen to music.
You can also download apps and games on the phone, some are free and others for a small cost. You can connect to the internet using Wi fi aswell.
As I don't have lots of free internet in my contract I turn off the data on this phone and only turn it on when needed. There are quite a lot of settings in the menu so at first it takes a while to find the settings you wish to change.
Text messages are easy to compose once you've got the hang of the touchscreen, you have a choice of inputting using the old keypad method or with a qwerty keypad. If using the old keypad you have a choice of predictive text or not.
What stands out with this phone?
This is a question I ask myself with most products, especially phones as there are so many to choose from. Since the introduction of the android system they are pretty much all the same when it comes to navigation and ease of use so it's hard to pick one out.
The size of the phone stood out for me, some of the phones these days are fantastic but are nearly the size of a notebook laptop which is just not convenient for me as they're uncomfortable and too large for a pocket or a tiny handbag, my last upgrade was an xperia mini but I gave up with it as it was too small to be practical when it came to trying to send messages using a touch screen. This phone however is a happy medium, it's slim and light whilst still having a large enough screen and not being a brick.
The camera, I can't understand how a phone with such a fantastic camera has been replaced with a phone with an inferior camera.
The sound - so many of my friends' phones and my old phones would have to be attached to you ear to hear them ringing - put them in a handbag and you've got no chance. This has a loud and clear ringtone though which can be adjusted if it's a bit loud in quiet areas. It's also good for playing music through the loudspeaker as it's loud enough and good quality. It also comes with earphones, the sound is good through these too.
I'm very impressed with this phone, it took a bit of getting used to but I'm really happy with it. The only thing that I do find a bit annoying with this phone (and most others) is that if you put it down for only a few seconds it locks and you have to unlock it again. This is a good feature as it was easy to forget to lock your keypad or accidentally make a call when the phone is in a pocket or bag but I think it's too short a time, if I'm in the middle of writing a text message and pause for a couple of second I have to unlock it before continuing. You can change the time it takes to lock but I don't want it to take long when I'm putting it in my pocket or bag so I left it on this short time.
On the plus side, unlocking the phone is simpler than some where you have to type a pin code in each time you want to unlock it. You just move a slider along the screen which only takes a second.
The battery life if better than my previous phone, but as with most android phones not nearly as good as the older models, I have to charge it every couple of days.
I'm very happy with this phone overall and would definitely recommend it. I've dropped it a few times already and it's thankfully still in one piece!
I have had the xperia ray for almost a year and I must say I am so glad that I chose to get the phone. The phone was released at the end of 2011 and has a wide range of features making it an excellent smart phone. The battery life foe the phone especially for a smart phone is very good and most days I manage to go a whole day without charging it and have been able to just charge it up once in the morning when I wake up. The battery is fully charged in just over an hour so for me just putting my phone on charge when I wake up whilst getting ready is enough time for me so I never have to worry about not having time for it to charge.
------------Design & Feel & Set Up-------------
The phone is quite a small phone and is quite narrow. The phone is touch screen and at first because it is touch screen I did think that it was a bit to narrow because I have quite wide hands. Although the width seemed like a problem at first you can turn the phone to the side and use it that way. As time went on it really didn't bother me anymore as it was something I got over quickly. The touch sensitivity of this phone is very good and never find myself pressing extra hard to access things on my phone. The phone is very lightweight and delicate because it is quite thin which is why I have thought it was essential to get a case for it to keep it protected. The screen is 3.3 inches long and that is pretty much the length of the phone.
Setting up the phone is quite simple all I had to do was put the sim card and battery in and it guided me through steps to set up the date and time etc. In the guided set up it also guided me through linking my email and Facebook to my phone so I get instant notifications.
-----------Calling & Texting------------
On the home page of the phone there are 5 tabs located at the bottom of the screen which are like a short cut menu. two of which are for calling and texting. It is very good because this is really helpful for those that are not really good with technology. You can still have a nice phone with all the most important features located on the home screen so you can still effectively use a smartphone without going through the struggle of searching through the whole phone.
Messaging is very simple once you click on the envelope you will be taken to you inbox and can send messages. The phone makes it very simple to send a message because you can choose the option of sending to a contact already saved or sending to a new contact without adding the number. One thing I really like about messaging on this phone is if I am in the middle of a message and want to do something else on my phone I can exit the message do what I have to do then come back to the message later. I like this because there are plenty of times were I am in the middle of a long message and drift of to do something else so it's good to not have to write the whole message again.
Making phone calls is just as simple as messaging because the tab is there on the home page so you can easily find someone's number to make a call. There is a favourite section inside the calling area so if you are Mr popular and have loads of contacts you can put the people who you mostly call in there so you don't have to search through contacts every time you make a call. There is also a search feature so you can type in the persons name you wish to call.
The line is very clear from this phone and the sound has a good range of high and low when speaking to someone on the phone. I don't really make any phone calls but when I do I almost always find myself turning the sound down because depending on your surroundings it can be loud enough for everyone to hear your whole conversation.
One thing that was good for me about this phone is that the menu's are so straight forward and make life easy for me quite alot. Along with the 5 tabs that I talked about already on the home page there is also another 5 tabs at the top of the phone where I can swipe the screen either way to see certain features.
The first page is for settings such a wireless, Bluetooth, ringtone, brightness, roaming and data.
The second page is for favourite phone contacts and to access the play store(which is were you get apps). I tend to not really use any of these pages because they have not much use to me.
The third page is for Google search and special offers that are currently available. On the fourth page lies short cuts for music photo gallery and games from the play store. This is a page that I use quite alot. The final page has the weather and this is the page that I leave as my home page permanently so I can know what the weather will be like all the time. I think it's handy having the weather on my phone rather than having to watch the telly or look it up on the internet.
These 5 menus are kind of like a book and before you even have time to explore the phone it's all laid out to you in these menus before even having to access the full menu which I find good because once you get to the main menu there are alot of features there which I sometimes get lost in and find it hard to find things.
Once you finally get to the main menu by pressing the middle button on the bottom 5 tabs you can access everything in you phone. My phone currently stands at 5 pages with 16 items on each so in other words my phone is loaded with apps and stuff. Some of the apps I have and are possible to get are whatsapp (free texting), iconzoomer, youtube, tvcatchup(watchlive tv), facebook and inkpad.
The camera on the phone is of very good quality. The camera is 8.1 megapixel and the camera video is hd quality. On top of that the phone enables you to take 3d pictures. The camera is one of the main reasons why I got this phone because of the quality and because I really enjoy photography.
The normal camera is very easy to use and what I like about it is that it is very fast so as soon as you touch the screen to take the picture it is done and already saved straight away which is good when you want to quickly catch a moment. I have had alot of these moments like when I was on a tour bus in Rome and has to be quick taking pictures as it was a moving but so ended up with decent pictures and not blurred ones because the camera is fast.
The 3d camera can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes. To use it you have to pan (move) the phone from left to right to take the picture. You have to do it a a certain pace so it can be annoying because if you go to fast or to slow the picture wont take.For me I always panning the phone to fast in a hurry to take a picture I am used to it now though and have got the hang of it. The only thing with 3d pictures is that you can only view them on 3d devices so even though the phone can take 3d pictures you can't actually view them in 3d on the phone. I think this is one downfall to the phone and if you can take 3d you should be able to view them. I have taken loads of 3d pictures and to view them I use my tv because it's a smart 3d TV.
The phone features all sorts of other things like all the basics like, alarm, calender, calculator etc. On top of these features it has it's own built in navigation system and feature that lets you know all you local surroundings.
The navigation system is just like a car sat nav which give you directions and you can even hear the voice to sound out the directions for you. I think this navigation system is such a handy feature and has helped me in so many situations were I didn't know my way. It also tells you the time it will take you to get to a certain destination.
The local feature is connected to the navigation system and if you are in a new area were you don't really know much it can tell you exactly what restaurants, shops, pubs, attractions or you can type in a postcode and it will tell you everywhere near you and exactly how to get there. I absolutely love these two features collectively and from experience it can be a life saver. I remember when I went to watch the Olympics in London it was so easy to get there because obviously there was so many signs and it was almost impossible to get lost. After when I had left the park I had alot of time before I had to get my coach home so I did a bit of exploring and it was this local navigation system that helped me get around and find things and stuff to see. I think without it I would have been bored and probably got lost and not have done half the things that I did.
You are able to put music on this phone and mine came with a 4gb memory card which is a decent amount of songs.
The phone is loaded with stuff that are useful for me and if you feel your missing something the play store has everything for you to download so really it's a win win situation. I like this phone because most things on the phone were already built in so you can tell the makers thought about their users and didn't just expect people to just get apps for features they want. I think this phone is really for people who love technology that makes life easy but at the same time people who don't will also find this phone easy to use because of the easy quick menus on the phone. The phone is currently in phones for you for 189.99 which is not bad for all you are getting on the phone. Definitely reccomended