Several weeks ago, I retired my Palm Pixi Plus for a Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray after HP limited the release of the Pre3 (so far only available in the UK with rumors that it may still be released for AT&T in the states). I chose the Ray mainly because it is a powerful phone in a tiny package.
My first choice was the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro, but found it too bulky. The Xperia Mini (no physical keyboard) was second on the list, but users alluded to an overheating issue due to the device’s tiny dimensions and powerful processor, and it has yet to be released for the US market. Enter the Xperia Ray…
SPECS: credit PhoneArena
OS: Android 2.3 with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich by March 2011
Dimensions (inches): 4.37 x 2.09 x 0.37
Weight: 3.53 oz
Colors: Black, Pink, Yellow, White
Display (inches): 3.30
Resolution: 480 x 854 pixels
Touchscreen Capacitive with Multi-touch
Talk: 6.50 hours
Stand-by: 430 hours (depends on what you have running, this can be a LOT less with Twitter, Facebook, email, etc all updating in the background)
Processor: Single core, 1000 MHz Single core, 600 MHz, Qualcomm MSM8227
System memory: 512 MB RAM
Built-in storage: 300 MB
Storage expansion: Slot Type microSD, microSDHC
Max card size: 32 GB
Camera: 8.1 megapixels
Flash: LED (No Auto-Flash though. You must manually turn on the light to use it)
Features: Auto focus, Image stabilizer, Video stabilizer, Face detection, Smile detection, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, Self-timer, Scenes
Camcorder: 1280×720 (720p HD) (30 fps)
Features: Video light, Continuous autofocus in a video, Video calling
Front-facing camera: 0.3 megapixels VGA
Physically, the Ray is slimmer and taller than the aforementioned Mini and the build quality is what you would expect from Sony. I’ve dropped the phone approximately 3 times already, and, other than the back popping off, it hasn’t sustained any damage.
The phone’s 1GHz processor is very responsive, I’ve yet to experience any lag, but I am conscious of managing my applications. The screen is truly gorgeous. Movie playback and games (mainly Angry Birds) render smooth and crisp on the scratch-resistant mineral glass Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine.
Call quality is solid, and the speakerphone is surprisingly strong for a phone of this size/slimness.
The options for the portrait on-screen keyboard make it workable (phone layout or qwerty, you choose) with an automatic full qwerty layout upon landscape rotation. Size-wise it is practically perfect, very pocketable, and although a slim width, the default apps adjust layouts to accommodate it very well.
I’ve very few complaints about the phone, and the ones I do have are tied mainly to Android OS. I won’t enumerate those criticisms here, but will in a future blogpost.
My biggest irritation is the inability to remove certain apps, and Sony certainly isn’t the only manufacturer guilty of this. I can understand manufacturers protecting users by preventing them from removing applications integral to the OS, but Facebook, Twitter? I’d like to install my preferred client software and could use the extra space, not to mention I don’t want to be constantly reminded about updates to apps I never use. I will root the phone to remedy this, so look for a future blogpost on rooting the Ray.
Another minor complaint is that the bluetooth seems a bit buggy and unreliable. It sometimes drops the connection to my car for no reason mid-drive, and I have to essentially restart bluetooth on the phone to reconnect. A huge hassle if I’m driving alone.
As a replacement for my Palm Pixi Plus, the Xperia Ray is a solid, stylish, and powerful Android phone that I’d recommend to anyone looking for such a device.