Sony Xperia SP
Sony’s taking its successful Z and ZL designs down a notch to mid-range phones and the Xperia SP is the first in line to get that treatment. This mid-range droid is designed to offer consumers high-performance on a budget and from the specification list, it seems to have that in spades. Retailing for a little under Rs 25,000, the Xperia SP locks horns with past favourites like the HTC One S, the HTC One X and, taking the price up a notch, even the Samsung Galaxy S3. Before our full review of the handset, here’s a quick first impression of the SP after playing with it for a few hours.
Aluminium chassis is a great design choice
The SP is available in both black and white and between the two, we’d take the white any day of the week. Unlike the plastic-laden Z and ZL, the SP uses an aluminium frame that adds some weight but feels really sturdy and well-built when you hold it. The single piece of aluminium bezel gives it a very elegant and premium look and feel. The antenna is placed at the bottom and there’s a small transparent strip that lights up in different colours depending on the notification or music being played. The buttons are crafted out of aluminium too and completes the look of the handset nicely.
A handsome looker
The display is a bit of a letdown, once again. It has the right pixel density (around 319 ppi), but lacks any punch or vibrancy – compared to the displays of the above mentioned phones, it seems a bit dull.
Connecting the Playstation Controller
One of the attractions of the SP is its ability to pair with a Playstation 3 controller, turning the phone into a full-blown gaming machine. The trouble with this is that you need a microUSB to miniUSB cable for a wired connection before you can connect them via Bluetooth, and the cable isn’t provided in the box. This is a similar procedure we follow to sync the controller to the PS3 the very first time. However, this only seems to work with games that are Playstation Certified, so the popular ones won’t work out-of-the-box.
Plenty of new features
Light show on the move
The other neat (or annoying ) feature is the “illuminating belt”, as Sony likes to call it. This transparent strip flashes in different colours depending on the type of notifications. You can either turn this off entirely or choose which notifications light up. This also works in the music player and changes according to the rhythm. The colour of the light changes depending on the album art displayed. It’s rather gimmicky for the most part but does come in handy to identify various alerts instantly.
All lit up!
A powerful and well-crafted handset
The Sony Xperia SP is easily the best-designed handset in Sony’s new line-up. It has a rock solid build and is packed to the gills with features. It is also incredibly powerful for a dual-core phone, so much so that it comes very close to the Galaxy S3. Add to that expandable memory, NFC, GLONASS, a good 8MP camera and a big battery, and the SP emerges as a really good value for money smartphone. We’ve yet to put it through the grind, but from what we’ve seen, the SP has a bright future.