Sony Xperia P review
A capable mid-range handset with few flaws, but the competition is strong at this price
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/m[sup]2[/sup] 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.
|Price ex VAT||£223|
|Price inc VAT||SIM-free, £267; Free, £20/mth on a 24mth contract|
|Cheapest price on contract||Free|
|Contract monthly charge||£20.00|
|Contract period||24 months|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Dimensions||60 x 122 x 11mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||8.0mp|
|Resolution||540 x 960|
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