UPDATE: This first-look review was written based on a brief time with this gaming-oriented Android smartphone. A more complete version based on in-depth testing is available here:
The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is the first “PlayStation certified” mobile phone. Based on Android OS 2.3, the device has a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera plus a front-facing camera, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking. It was launched today by Verizon Wireless for $200 with a new two-year service contract.
I just received the device today, so this will be a brief description of my first few hours with the device.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is a hefty device, roughly the same size as other modern smartphones, but considerably thicker and heavier. That’s to be expected, since the Xperia PLAY is a slider, with full gaming controls located underneath the screen. If you’re a Sony fan, everything here should look very familiar, with a d-pad on the left and the traditional square/triangle/circle/X and start/select buttons. There are also left and right triggers on the right side of the device, which is the top when you’re holding it in landscape mode with the gaming controls exposed.
The screen is a 4.0-inch capacitive multi-touchscreen running at a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. Colors are clear and sharp, and everything I’ve seen so far looks really nice. There is no physical keyboard, so you’ll be using a virtual on-screen keyboard for all of your text input.
The Xperia PLAY is based on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) platform and has a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It comes with an 8 GB microSD memory expansion card pre-installed, though 2 GB of that space is used by the pre-installed games that come with the device: Asphalt 6, Bruce Lee, Crash Bandicoot, Madden NFL 11, Star Battalion, and The Sims 3.
In my limited time with the Xperia PLAY I can say that it has performed admirably, with very good speed and responsiveness. Games play just as I remember them, and the sound quality of the external speaker is truly excellent, with very good volume as well.
The main camera is 5 megapixels, with auto-focus and LED flash. There is also a secondary camera on the front of the device. The battery is 1500mAh, rated for up to 460 minutes of talk time and up to 405 hours of standby.
So far the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is living up to the idea of being both a mobile phone and a fully-featured portable gaming system. Whether or not it can do both things well is what I’ll be considering during the review period, since all-in-one devices are a great idea, but they often suffer from a few shortcomings that make them less than ideal.
Stay tuned for the full review, and you’ll soon know whether the Xperia PLAY is worth your consideration as a great mobile phone for gamers.