Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hands on: Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review

Sony refreshed its arc line-up at IFA 2011, with the company announcing the Sony Xperia Arc S, a smartphone that has been given something of a speed injecting – Sony is quoting speeds 25 per cent faster than its predecessor, the Sony Ericsson Arc.
TechRadar managed to get a hands-on with the Xperia Arc S and were pleased with our first impressions of the device.
In the hand, the Arc is a beautiful piece of kit. Given that the original Arc is still one of the best-designed Android devices around it's good to see that not much has been changed from a chassis point of view.
Display-wise, the Arc S has been given a 4.2-inch Reality display which made the stock images found on the phone ping with colour.

The screen was big enough to enjoy browsing the web and when we loaded up TechRadar, the load times did seem fast. Given that Wi-Fi on the show floor is not the best test conditions for this sort of thing, web pages did load with some speed, validating the '20% increase in web browsing speeds' Sony Ericsson is touting - thanks to the 1.4GHz processor at the heart of the Xperia Arc S.
 The Arc S we tried out had Android 2.3.4 on it, with Sony Ericsson's own Timescape UI on top of this. We liked some of the touches this skin offered to Android, especially when you pinched the homescreen and was presented with the floating widgets bouncing around the screen, ready to take you to whichever screen you desire.
The Sony Ericsson Arc S has been given some hefty imaging power, thanks to Sony's Exmor R mobile imaging sensor, which offers 8.1MP quality shots and 720P HD footage.
We took a couple of images when Sony's press conference lighting was at its moodiest and the sensor worked well under the low-light conditions.
To give the handset a 3D slant, Sony has added 3D Sweep Panorama, which the Arc S supports. If you are not one for 3D, then the camera also does 2D Sweep Panorama as well.
If you like the shots you take, then the Arc S has a mini-HDMI slot so you can playback your content on a hi-def television.
The Arc S also gives you the ability to share media content with the Bravia TV and home cinema range, with the phone acting as a remote control.
We can't wait to get the Sony Ericsson Arc S into our test labs to test out the true speed of the handset but first impressions are extremely promising. There was no apparent lag when swiping through the myriad homescreens and everything from camera shutter speeds and web page load times did seem to be improved.
It is perhaps Sony's new ecosystem that the Arc S will benefit most from, however. The handset is linked straight to Sony Music Unlimited and Sony Video Unlimited, offering up millions of music tracks and video content to download straight to your handset.
This is Sony's big charge at Apple and iTunes; unfortunately our handset wasn't connected to the services but the demos we saw impressed. And if it is anything like the device, then it could be one to look out for.


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