Product Type: Sony Ericsson Smartphone
Newest Review: ... 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 it... more
Stylish Sony Xperia Ray wins my affection
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray
Member Name: Huomenna
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray
Date: 24/07/13, updated on 24/07/13 (77 review reads)
Advantages: well thought out and attractive design, sits comfortably in the hand, easy to use, front facing cam
Disadvantages: camera can be slow to open, screen not normal shape for screen protector
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.
Summary: Well worth the price, this phone has swayed me away from HTC
More reviews in the field of Smartphone
- unimpressive phone behind the times
- Great phone, but....
- Great at the time, bad now
- Everything I Need In A Phone
- Just what you would expect and nothing more!
- Smartphone? Maybe not so smart after all
- Buy a phone that will stand the test of time...for years to come.
- The right Huawei for simplicity lovers ;)