As Fedex pulled up to the office door, I pretty much knew what to expect. The package from Sony Ericsson arrived as promised (Thanks guys). I was almost hesitant to open the larger box as it felt completely empty, but inside was a very…VERY.. small box containing a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. I’m pretty sure that this is the smallest box I’ve ever received an Android phone in. They do say that big things come in small packages.
I was very surprised that Sony Ericsson have thrown so much inside a small device that really fits nicely in your pocket. I expected the device to feel clunky and bulky in my pocket. I’m pleasantly surprised.
I’ve played around with the phone a little today, but not really enough to give an honest opinion to how this device is going to perform, but I am going to give you my initial reactions to device. I’ve also taken a few photos and a video with Xperia Play and a coupe of other devices for you to use as a comparison.
Powering on the device gave me my first surprise. Not only was the screen very dark, but I also came to realize that there is no auto brightness on this device. Into the settings I went, turned the brightness to full blast and there it’s stayed for the remainder of the day. The screen was still dim compared to the T-Mobile myTouch 4G and the T-Mobile G2x as shown below:
* All three of the phones shown have their displays turned up to full brightness.
** The G2x is by far the nicest screen of the three phones.
The phone is built pretty well and the sliding mechanism for the slide down controls is very smooth and precise. I’m not sure I like the location of the volume rocker. It’s located half way down the right hand side of the phone and slightly recessed into a curve sculpted from the side of the phone. Time will tell, but so far I found it hard to located and press.
Controls during game play work extremely well, apart from the two shoulder buttons located behind the screen when its open. I found these buttons hard to located and not natural for my fingers when holding the phone. the rest of the controls worked as expected.
It’s nice to see physical buttons on the front bezel for the Back, Home, Menu and Search. I’m not a big fan of the touch sensitive buttons as I’m frequently pressing them when I didn’t mean to.
I’m going to start off with the phone itself, as that’s what this device is at it’s heart. I made a few phone calls to some friends and colleagues and everyone I called said the quality is very loud and clear and I have to say that the same can be said of them too. It looks like Sony Ericsson did not forget that this is a phone and everything is working just as expected.
My only disappointment was the signal around Charlotte and my estate. I realize this has nothing to do with the Xperia Play, but I was about to consider swapping to Verizon because the signal quality on T-Mobile is extremely poor around this area. Unfortunately, the Xperia play has just shown that Verizon is no better. I realize that the Xperia Play is only a 3G device and maybe if i had a new LTE device it may be better, but I can’t test that theory as I don’t have an LTE device.
The Xperia Play is ruining vanilla Android 2.3.2 and there isn’t much more to say. There are a couple of Verizon specific apps installed, but apart from that, it’s the standard Android experience. I’m guessing this was the desicion so they could get the phone out to the consumer as quickly as possible, but I thought they may have thrown in some funky Sony Ericsson applications and widgets to play around with.
I did already received a software update on the device, but It wasn’t to Android, in fact, I don’t really know what it was for. The prompt appeared that there was a software update and I told it to go ahead and do it and that was it. The message vanished, the phone turned of WiFi and then turned it back on. Nothing more was displayed.
The following video was taken using the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, T-Mobile G2x by LG and the T-Mobile myTouch 4G by HTC. All 3 phones where used at EXACTLY the same time taking EXACTLY the same video and then merged into 3 individual columns so you see the difference side by side. It’s a trip to watch so if you suffer from epilepsy, I suggest you don’t watch it
I’ve included the following photos for your comparison. If you’d like to view the full size version, you can use the Gallery at the bottom of the article.
The Xperia Play comes with 6 games pre-installed and they give a great selection covering most of the gaming genres that people play today. the games include: Asphalt 6, BruCe Lee, Crash Bandicoot, Gun Bros, Madden NFL 11, Star Battalion and the Sims 3. the game scan all be selected from the Xperia Play menu that automatically appears when you slide open the controllers.
The games are visually impressive, but I guess that would be expected for a Playstation game being displayed on a small display like this. Here’s a quick screen shot from Bruce Lee:
While the games are pretty cool, I wouldn’t consider them any better than a well written Android game, the only advantage being that we should start to see the extensive library of Playstaton titles working there way onto the Xperia Play before we know it.
I hope this gave you a quick insight into the Sony Ericsson Play and overall I am very pleased with the phone. The display could have been better but everything works as expected and would make a nice addition to any persons pocket.
If you think you’d like to get your hands on the Xperia Play, then head over to the AndroidSPIN Cell Phone store and get yourself a better than average price with a bonus Android Market purchasing voucher !!
You can vie the complete photo gallery in their full size glory below: