Digital Christmas: Review – Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

30 Nov 2011

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S smartphone

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S smartphone is perhaps one of the most distinctive-looking devices on the market at the moment. The winning factors have to be its 1.4GHz processor and high-definition display.

From the side, the Arc S is curved and the model I reviewed was white (it also comes in blue, silver, black and pink).

The curve feels nice in the hand and its 4.2-inch display is perfect for watching videos and editing photographs.

One of the interesting features of the Arc S is its ability to take 3D photographs – but there’s a catch, you can only view the 3D images by connecting them by HDMI to a 3D screen. Also taking 3D photos is quite tricky, requiring a panoramic sweep from left to right that isn’t quite as easy to accomplish as it sounds.

The winning feature for me, ultimately, is its display, which is powered by the Sony BRAVIA engine. Its capability of displaying 480 x 854 pixels and 16m colours video playback is excellent (the stereo speakers are great quality, too).

The Arc S is powered by a 1.4Ghz Scorpion processor and while it is only single core, the speed difference between it and the Xperia neon is palpable. Everything is fast and smooth.

The operating system is Google’s Android Gingerbread, which Sony Ericsson uses to good effect with its TimeScape tiled feature for all your Facebook and Twitter updates.

In fact, Twitter and Facebook integration runs deep in the Arc S. It goes back to what I love about some Android phones: once you log in with your Google, Facebook and Twitter identities, everything transfers across nicely into Contacts, Calendar and all your social updates. I really appreciated the fact many of my phone call presets to family and friends on my other Android device popped up in the right place on the Arc S.

The Twitter and Facebook integration are abundantly evident on the Arc S’ photo album and calendar, with things like friends’ birthdays appearing, as well as your entire Facebook album appearing as a folder on the device.

The device comes with an excellent GPS sensor for your Google Search and Maps applications, as well as a digital compass.

The camera features touch focus, geotagging, face detection and image stabilisation capabilities.

I have to say I think it is one of the finest smartphones to emerge from the Sony Ericsson stable in terms of all the features gelling together and working well on what is a very attractive design.

The Arc S is available free on contract in silver from Vodafone, midnight blue from O2 and black from Meteor. The device is also available from e-Mobile, 3 and Carphone Warehouse stores across Ireland.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years