Sony Xperia P review
A capable mid-range handset with few flaws, but the competition is strong at this price
Review Date: 23 Jul 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: Free, on a £20.00 per month, 24 months contract.
Features & Design
Value for Money
After dropping the Ericsson brand for the Xperia S, Sony’s next release is the mid-range Xperia P. They’re similar in design, with the same see-through bar at the bottom for the back, home and menu symbols, only this time they’re actual buttons. Build quality is fine throughout, and our only design criticism is the inability to replace the battery or upgrade storage.
The 4in screen will suit those who find today’s flagships too large. The resolution of 540 x 960 is the same as the HTC One S, and results in extremely sharp text and images – the 275ppi means pixels are only visible if you look very closely. The maximum brightness of 911cd/m2 is very high, virtually searing our retinas before we lowered it. The contrast ratio of 746:1 is good, although black levels could be lower.
Sony has made some compromises to keep the Xperia P affordable. It has a slower 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor than the Xperia S, and instead of Nvidia’s Tegra 3 it boats the Mali 400MP, the same graphics hardware as the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Benchmark performance was therefore a mix. A Quadrant score of 1,716 is nowhere near the fastest we’ve tested, but it’s better than other mid-range phones. A SunSpider time of 3,008ms is also around half the speed of the best handsets. On the gaming side, while Grand Theft Auto III and Reckless Racing II played flawlessly, demanding FPS ShadowGun juddered during intensive scenes. Battery life was average, with 50% of the power pack left after our 24hr test.
It comes with Android 2.3, rather than Ice Cream Sandwich, although Sony has promised to upgrade all of its Xperia phones by the end of July. Sony’s own software is capable, and much of the crapware has been removed, but it’s not as clean as HTC Sense or as innovative as Samsung’s TouchWiz. Many of the Sony widgets just point to its online stores.
The Xperia P has an 8mp camera. Wide shots from it were sharp and colours accurate throughout, if a little lacking in warmth. Issues were minor: close-ups exhibited a little noise, especially in low light, and the lens struggled to retain clarity in bright settings. Still, these won’t stop most users taking perfectly good pictures.
All told, the Xperia P is a fine mid-range handset, but its problem is the competition. HTC’s One S costs around the same but is much faster, and we prefer its software, camera and screen. If the current flagship phones are too expensive, the One S would still be our mid-range choice.
Author: Mike Jennings
Another phone that is to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from the Android masses.
Surely Sony could have been more creative. For example filling the void vacated by older keyboard phones, and now only filled by US imports.
By tirons1 on 23 Jul 2012
How long have those building works been outside your office!
By r0bert0 on 24 Jul 2012
It's a model that they're slowly building inbetween articles
By amanu2 on 25 Jul 2012
The One S is currently a lot more expensive than the Xperia P.
By morca on 26 Jul 2012
I agree with you tirons1. As an Xperia Pro owner I can't believe how unappreciated this fabulous little QWERTY device is, and just how superior it is to these zzzzzzzz boring run-of-the-mill touch-only devices.
Sony need an Xperia Pro refresh.
By broccauley on 26 Jul 2012
Where is the querty keyboard then on this Sony Xperia P phone?
As far as the pictures show this is just another "zzzzzzzz boring run-of-the-mill touch-only devices."
By curiousclive on 29 Jul 2012
Sorry mistook your post didn't realise you were talking about the Experia pro.
By curiousclive on 29 Jul 2012
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Met Police unveils FALCON to fight cybercrime
- Free Windows attracts 50 new tablet and phone makers
- Send a text and these SSDs will self-destruct
- How to download Windows 10 Technical Preview
- Mozilla takes aim at Chromecast with $25 dongle
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office