Under Kaz Hirai Sony is following a dictum known as ‘One Sony’ – the idea is to combine the resources in certain key areas like imaging, mobile, gaming and focus the strengths into each Sony product. For its mobile division, the Xperia Z was perhaps the first Sony smartphone to be delivered under the ‘One Sony’ philosophy. The Xperia Z however failed to hit all the right notes as we also mentioned in our review. It was big on design and horsepower, but neither of its features were best of the best. This obviously does not cut it in the top end of the market, but as we move downwards, trade offs become more acceptable with the lowered price and here’s where the Xperia SP comes in for Sony. It borrows a lot of design elements from the Xperia Z, but it is packaged in a smaller chassis, with lowered specs and a much lower price. Here are our first impressions.
As mentioned above, design-wise the Xperia SP takes many cues from the Xperia Z. However, like on the Xperia ZL, gone is glass back and now there resides a curved plastic back that has a matte finish and is very comfortable to hold. On the sides, the same boxy design language is retained and also the distinct power button is on the right hand side. It is identical to the one seen on the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL and also the Xperia tablet. The smartphone feels a little chunky and heavy by modern standards at 10mm and 155 grams, but by no means it is uncomfortable to hold. On the contrary, we found it quite comfortable to operate, more so than the Xperia Z because it is narrower.
There is a 4.6-inch display which delivers a 720p resolution, but like most Sony displays it is ridiculously washed out and when compared to the LG Optimus G, the difference is quite distinct. The blacks look more like greys and the visibility under scorching summer sun is quite poor. That said, on the bright side, we do get a 720p display that reproduces more than 300 pixels per inch so text is crisp when one manages to read content on the smartphone.
Sony packs in a 8-megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p video and a VGA front facing camera. The images we have taken look nice on the smartphone display, but have not yet properly analysed the images on a desktop screen, something which we intend to do while we review the product.
Internally, it has a dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with the Adreno 320 GPU, 8GB internal storage, 1GB of RAM, a microSD card slot and an 2,370 mAh battery. All this means performance should be good. Very good.
In real world usage, Sony uses its standard skin which we believe not to be very intrusive. Sony also uses on-screen Android controls. Overall, scrolling through home screens and the app drawer remained quite fluid, though we have not installed many apps on the device. We posit there will no major performance glitches, but one never knows and we will report accordingly in the review.
Currently, it is available for Rs 25,990 which makes it a very solid contender in the sub Rs 30,000 price bracket. It competes with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X, and we believe due to its superior specs, it might be worth a look. Its main weakness includes its display and lower memory to its competition, however that can be mitigated by the microSD card slot. That said, we have not stress tested the device and have not used for a long period so we’d suggest you to wait for the final review.
Photographs: Sahil Mohan Gupta