It is rare that I fall head over heels in love with a gadget. I fall in love with a gadget, yes. But not head over heels in love with one. The Sony Xperia P turned out to be one of those rare moments. It took a while for me to write the review as I put it through its paces, but it’s worth the wait!
As I have said earlier, I have the rarer (at least here in the Philippines) red Sony Xperia P, so pardon the shiny red photos. The Xperia P will only be available here in black and silver.
Yes, it is a unibody. You can’t remove the battery, which was a letdown since it means I can’t use a backup battery. But I still have my CD-R King power bank so I’m okay. It has no external memory slot too. I’m okay with that as well since the phone memory was quite sizable.
Official specifications state that the phone has 1 GB RAM and internal storage of 16 GB with up to 13 GB user-accessible memory. The 1 GHz NovaThor dual core processor just runs along swimmingly. I have yet to crash the phone with everything that I’ve been doing to it. (Note that long ago I was able to crash the Samsung Galaxy S II after just a few minutes.) The phone held and it held well against everything I threw at it.
Now, back to the look. The see-through bar is awesome! You can just, well, see right through it! The bar has three touch-sensitive “buttons” for back, home, and menu. Yes, they still have the menu “button” when it shouldn’t have it anymore in Android 4.0 (a.k.a., Ice Cream Sandwich). But there we have it. Ah well. The one thing about the see-through bar though is that you don’t really see the buttons unless you position the phone against a dark background. The lights over the buttons don’t help much either.
The screen is bright and made with scratch-resistant glass. The local package comes with a screen protector. I didn’t get it in mine. But despite the use and abuse that I’ve been giving the Xperia P the past few weeks, it has been holding up pretty well, so I don’t think I’ll be missing the screen protector at all.
Oh, the operating system is still Gingerbread. Yeah, that’s the bad part. But Sony says they’ll be releasing ICS for the Sony Xperia P soon. I’m hoping that soon means early July.
One thing Sony did right with the Xperia P is that the windows/mac driver and the synchronization software are different installations. That’s actually good for me since I really don’t care for the synchronization software. I just need the USB driver to connect the phone to my computer.
The phone has everything going for it. The left side has a micro USB and an HDMI port. Don’t worry, the local package comes with the cables for both ports. The micro SIM slot is also found here. Yes, it uses a micro SIM so either have your SIM cut or go to your nearest telco center to get a micro SIM. Me? I just had mine cut for 50 pesos (at Centris Station, Quezon Avenue).
On the right, you have the power button, volume rockers and a dedicated camera button. The speaker can also be found there. Hmm. Why on the side? I found it weird at first. Then realized that when you want to show off a video to your friends, it’s easier to hear the sound with the speaker on the side than at the back of the phone.
The backside offers an 8 MP camera and its flash (the front camera is just VGA… not quite happy about that). Just below the back camera is where the near field communication (NFC) sensor is located. The package comes with two NFC SmartTags which you could use to auto-magically change the settings of your phone with just a single tap.
When I hear Sony, I immediately think of how good their devices look and sound, and the Xperia P delivers. The screen is bright. They use what they call WhiteMagic technology to make sure you see the screen even when you’re out on a bright sunny day. Does it work? Oh yes it does! I have never needed to shade the phone with my hand just to read what’s on the screen.
The sound from the speakers come out loud and crisp. Don’t expect good bass, but the speakers aren’t tinny sounding either. If you’re in a busy coffeeshop, it’s possible for you to disturb the people in the other table when you play some annoying song or video. Trust me.
I’ve been taking more photographs with this phone than with my pocket camera. I love how I can instantly shoot photos without even waking up the phone. Just aim, press the camera button for one second (even from screen protect mode), and the phone takes the picture. You won’t miss catching that once in a lifetime moment.
How does this instant shot mode fare? I’d say, not bad. Can get out of focus at times, but hey, it’s a quick shot after all. Yes, instant photos use a quicker and dirtier shooting mode.
The normal shots are much better. But there are times when the pictures can show signs of noise. Hopefully this gets corrected in the ICS upgrade.
The Sony Xperia P can also shoot panoramic pictures. Even more interesting is its ability to shoot 3D photos. If you have a 3D capable television, you’ll be able to view those pictures in all its 3D glory. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to view them on your phone. It takes a while to get used to how to shoot in 3D. I don’t use it much, but it is fun.
The video capture is nothing short of amazing! I recorded an event a while back and was impressed at how the phone tries to compensate for the difficult lighting.
I plan to continue figuring out what else I can do with this phone. Specially with the NFC and when connecting the phone to my LCD TV via the HDMI cable. In the meantime, I could say this has so far been the most awesome phone I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t even trade it for a Samsung Galaxy S III.
Local price: P22,990. Available in most major cellphone dealers.
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