Dimensions: 5.14 x 2.64 x 0.39 inches
Weight: 155 grams
Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Processor: 1 .7GHz Qualcomm Pro Dual Core
Display: TFT Capacitive Touchscreen
Pixel Density: 1280 x 720 pixels
Camera: 8MP rear and front-fadng camera
Screen: 4.6-inch durable tempered glass
Memory: 8GB internal storage (5.8GB accessible to users) microSD card slot, expandable up to 32GB
- 8MP Exmor RS camera
- Good graphics
- Ergonomic design
- LTE connectivity
- Blurry front camera
- Fingerprint-magnet screen
- Not-so-good speakers
For a mid-ranger, the Sony Xperia SP has many excellent features. It is a great pick for those who aren’t quite ready for a high-end smartphone.
A day without a mobile device can be equated to going out on a rainy day without an umbrella; or embarking on a long drive, without a set of spare tires. 1 cannot imagine a time where we won’t make use of our smartphones. In this review we will be looking at Sony’s lead mid-range smartphone, the Xperia SP.
After Sony and Ericsson parted ways, Sony, by itself, excelled with their flagship brand, Xperia. The Japanese tech manufacturer has made the effort to offer quality specs and a variety of quality, low to high-end Xperia smartphones in the market.
From the packaging, the Xperia SP comes across as a high-end level smartphone with its elegant and snazzy exterior. One wouldn’t think that it was actually a mid-ranger. The aluminum-crafted slate is housed in a square, one-inch box. The container unfastens with a flip of the cover just below the opening on its center. Seated securely were inside the package are the: product manual, earphones, USB cable, and USB adapter.
Our review unit was in black; its aluminum frame complements the LED light strip atthe bottom of the device and the soft curves of the comers give it an ergonomic feel. The SP’s plastic matte textured back plate reduces the risks of slips, and rests comfortably in the palm of the hands. Opening the back plate requires finesse. This reveals a micro-SIM and micro-SO slots with no removable batteries. The audio port sits atop the device, with the volume rocker, round power/lock button, camera button, and USB port resting around the sides of the handset.
Powered by Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2, the user interface of the Xperia SP illustrates its Android lineage with several hints of Sony Xperia’s singular interface present in its previous smartphone models. Signature Sony apps—Walkman, Xperia Socialife, Reader by Sony, Sony Select, Xperia link, Wisepilot for Xperia and Smart Connect—are pre installed in the device along with other essential apps to boost the SP’s functionality and to give users the basics, to start with. The 4.&-inch TFT LCD durable tempered glass with a resolution of 1280 x 720 puts this device close to high-end territory. The viewing angles were good and the colors were lifelike, on the 720p video tested on this device. Without an external speaker or headphones, the audio of the videos is a bit disappointing-the sound is gurgly and the words sound like a person covering his mouth while talking in the club with booming background music.
Garners will surely love the SP for its PlayStation readiness; one of the distinct qualities of Xperia phones. Graphics come out great with games like Minion Rush and Drag Racing; you’ll be running and racing your way to retail stores in no time.
The Xperia SP comes with dual snappers, but the front-facing VGA camera lacks luster. The images that come from it are cloudy and grainy, but good enough for video calls. The rear 8-megapixel Exmor RS camera with LED flash is the bread and butter of this mid-ranger. I personally liked its Superior Auto function that focuses well on subjects and produces detailed photos. One concern I had with the rear snapper is that if the photo is taken in poor lighting conditions, the outcome of the colors don’t come out as expected, but this is just one minor thing.
A 1.7GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor runs this device, It has 8GB of internal memory, of which 5.8GB is accessible to the users. For heavy users who like storing movies and music on their portable devices, the SP’s storage via microSD can be upgraded up to 32GB. I didn’t have any major issue with how the device ran, except for the few times it slowed down while multi-tasking.
I am an easy-to-please person and I adored the transparent LED notification strip at the bottom of the device. The change of colors whenever message, social network, or call alerts come entertained me. The LED strip also pulsates to the beat of the music you are listening to, but this could be a drain on the battery.
The battery will last a day without continuous gaming, video playback, and internet surfing. It has a battery Stamina mode that you can turn on when you have a long day ahead.
This solid mid-ranger definitely earns a cheer from me; I even named it Espie. It has a suite of qualities that will have you seriously considering this midranger.
Words by Mia Carisse Barrientos
First published in Gadgets Magazine, August 2013