One of the tiniest Android smartphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with has been in my pocket for the past few days, and that is the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray. This device is extremely small, sleek, and lightweight but that isn’t all it offers. We also have an amazing screen, albeit a bit small, and the camera on the rear takes some pretty solid photos for such a small package. We have plenty of thoughts regarding this new Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered smartphone as well as plenty of photos so enjoy it all after the break.
|This phone is amazing|
- NETWORK: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900,
- HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100,
- SCREEN: .3 inches LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 854 pixels, 16M hcolors,
- MEMORY INTERNAL: 300 MB,
- MEMORY EXTERNAL: microSD, up to 32GB, 4GB included,
- CAMERA: 8 MP, with autofocus and LED flash, VIDEO: 720p with video light,
- CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, microUSB, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,CPU: 1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Snapdragon chipset,
- OS: Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread), JAVA: MIDP emulator,
- BROWSER: HTML, FEATURES: Digital compass, Voice memo, Predictive text input, Document viewer, SNS integration, TrackID music recognition, SensMe, MP4/H.263/H.264 player, MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player, Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, BATTERY: Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Interface and OS
Like its siblings the Xperia Play, Xperia Arc and Xperia Neo, the Xperia Ray runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This is the latest flavour of Google’s smart-phone operating system, and it offers a fantastic degree of functionality.
You can run several applications in tandem, download games and apps from the Android Market, sync your email, contacts and calendar with the cloud, and use real-time widgets to keep yourself fully up to speed on everything from the weather to your Facebook feed.
Like HTC and Samsung, Sony Ericsson has chosen to embellish the core Android experience with its own custom-made Timescape ‘skin’. This sits on top of Android and brings with it unique menus, applications and widgets.
Timescape is now up to version 4.0, offering a raft of enhancements, including tighter integration with Facebook, allowing you to share content from your phone more easily.
The widget overview has also undergone a slight visual change. By using a pinch-to-zoom command, you can display all of your widgets on a single screen. Timescape 4.0 also now allows you to shake your phone and cause the widgets to float around. That’s a neat party trick to show to your iPhone-owning mates, but it actually makes it harder to select the widget you want.
Other changes in Timescape 4.0 are similarly disappointing. Sony Ericsson has removed the popular ‘power control’ widget, presumably because it’s quite close in functionality to its own ‘status switch’ variant. The problem is that Sony Ericsson’s version omits the ability to disable auto-syncing of apps — something we think hard-core Android users will miss.
The Xperia Ray’s screen is likely to divide opinion. On the plus side, the LED-backlit LCD screen is sharper than a tailor-made Armani suit, packing a resolution of 480×854 pixels. But this has much to do with the fact that the screen only measures 3.3 inches. The image appears crisp largely because all those pixels are crammed into a display that’s much smaller than that of the Samsung Galaxy S2 or Google Nexus S
As a mid-range Android device, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is fantastic. Android 2.3 delivers a pleasurable experience and the phone’s 8-megapixel camera is brilliant, offering HD video recording and impressive performance in low-light conditions.
The only issue we have is the 3.3-inch screen, which makes precise typing more awkward than it should be. When you consider that the Orange Monte Carlo offers a 4.3-inch screen for half the price of the Xperia Ray, it does make you think twice.
If you’re concerned that your fingers may be too chubby for such a slim handset, theXperia Neo is worth considering. Still, a small screen means a small phone, and the Xperia Ray will find favour with mobile users who aren’t enamoured with the recent trend for big-screen blowers.