Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S
Developed by: Sony
Ranked: 12
Overall rating:
Best price: Buy



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Review summary

Good points Sony Xperia S review good points

• Large screen display

• 12MP camera

• Fast speed processor

Bad points Sony Xperia S review bad points

• Poor battery life

• Only Android 2.3

• No MicroSD slot

• Similar to the Arc

Our verdict

Leaving the old Ericsson days behind, the Xperia range is now trying to show the world that Sony has what it takes to be a contender in the smartphone battle.

Screenshot of Sony Xperia S 1 Screenshot of Sony Xperia S 2 Screenshot of Sony Xperia S 3

Full review


The larger the phone the better these days, and it seems Sony is well aware of this. The phone sports a 4.3-inch screen with Sony’s Bravia colour display, to bring out the more generous colours.

While the AMOLED screen devours battery life, it does bring 233 pixels-per-inch, quite an impressive amount for an Android phone.

The Xperia’s only problem is that it seems to have taken the looks from its father, the ex-Arc, which was only released half a year ago. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the lacklustre plastic backing makes the phone feel a tad bit cheap.


Sony phones have never really had any reception problems, so we didn’t think that this one would be any different. The Xperia has perfect reception with most anyone you call, and the background noise seems almost cut off when calling someone. Nobody reported any problems with noise interference and even in a busy shopping mall the user said he could hear quite well.

The problem with using the phone in public places is the battery life, again, it runs down quite fast and we wouldn’t advise long calls without being near a charger.


The processor is quite on par with all the others out right now. Even though some are being fitted with the fancy quad-core, the Xperia has gone with the dual-core, and packed it with a punch.

A 1.5GHz powerhouse of a processor has been placed in the Xperia and 1GB of RAM to keep the pace. Speeds on the phone are as we would expect, fast. The only problem is multi-tasking, the processor has a knack for conkingout after about 4 tabs are opened or multiple apps are running. Background apps should work fine, as long as you haven’t got 6 alarms running at once.

Operating system

It was disappointing not to see the Ice Cream Sandwich interface not installed on the Xperia, given that most phones have upgraded to that now. That being said, Sony have stated that an upgrade to ICS (Android 4.0) is scheduled sometime in late spring or early summer, which will vastly improve the operating system. For now, we have the Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Sony’s Timescape skin, both of which are mediocre at best.

The phone comes with five home-screens, giving you enough space for 100 different apps. As far as we are aware, you cannot add more screens.

Sony’s App Store (and Android’s) is abundant with everything from the very needed to the completely tedious. Unlike the Apple App Store, the regulations on apps are a little less squeezy, which makes it all the more fun. Just remember to check your anti-virus every once in a while, because these mobiles get viruses.


Not to overly promote the camera, but it is by far better than the iPhone’s, Galaxy Nexus’s or HTC One’s, with 12-megapixels and a gorgeous display; it is definitely beating the competition.

Even though the more megapixels, the more you have to put in the phone to keep up, the Xperia seems to be working pretty well. The bright LED light keeps pictures warm and balances colours. Even without a flash, the LED works pretty well and can procure reasonably good images in the dark.

The bad part about the camera is it has some noise issues and blur tends to happen if an object is moving, even in broad daylight. While this isn’t completely disappointing, it doesn’t look good when the picture is destroyed by blurringor noise.


There is a slight problem on this front, even though the battery is impressive, a 1750mAh battery isn’t top nor bottom of the range, but with a Bravia screen and all these little gizmos, it soon becomes one of the smallest phone-battery’s we’ve ever used.

Not only does Bravia munch the battery life down, the screen, LED camera and all the background apps play a part in the murderous assault on the battery.

In a normal day, with the battery fully charged at the start, you’ll get around 12 hours (that’s just doing the normal stuff, checking Facebook & Twitter). For call-time, you’ll get around 7 hours before it finally goes to sleep.


32GB’s of storage is good for the average user, although for anyone that needs more; you will be at a lost end. There’s no choice to have any more and no SD card for external storage.

The only way to get any more is using one of the many free cloud storage apps that connect with Android phones. I would go with Google Drive or Dropbox, although Box is another good choice. All of these give you a good amount of storage.


The Sony Xperia S is a talented phone – it is packed with good features, but they seem to have forgotten about the necessary features like better battery life and a decent operating system, while they fitted the phone with all these new additions.

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Ratings breakdown

 received a rating of 3 for Overall
 received a rating of 4 for Design
 received a rating of 4 for Reception
 received a rating of 3 for Processor
Operating system
 received a rating of 3 for Operating system
 received a rating of 4 for Camera
Voice recognition
 received a rating of 3 for Voice recognition
 received a rating of 4 for Battery
 received a rating of 3 for Storage