Review: Sony Xperia T, also known as ‘The Bond Phone’ (video)

10 Dec 2012

Like James Bond himself, the Xperia T is cool, unique, and easy on the eye. But, while I appreciated the simplicity of this high-spec handset, there were some slightly frustrating aspects that left me somewhat on the fence.

Look and feel

The first thing that struck me about the Xperia T is its unique shape. The slight curve in its design is imperceptible when viewing the phone face on but distinctive when you catch a side-on glance. Combined with the matte black finish (something that always wins me over), this is a phone that feels good in your hand.

Of course, being the Bond Phone, it looks good, too. However, it seemed to me that both the screen and the casing were dust magnets. Every time I took it from my bag I needed to clean it off in order to appreciate the vibrant display.

Sony Xperia T

Sony claims this Reality HD display powered by the Mobile Bravia Engine is its best yet for a mobile device. Measuring 4.6 inches, it features a resolution of 1,280 x 720 and crystal clear and bright detail.

User interface and apps

Sony Xperia T – Tech Specs

  • Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box (Jelly Bean update to come)
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1,280 x 720 pixels, 4.6-inch Reality HD display
  • 13MP rear camera, 1080p HD video
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera, 720p HD video
  • xLOUD audio technology
  • 1,850mAh battery
  • DLNA-enabled
  • NFC chip
  • Screen Mirroring via Wi-Fi Miracast

If you get the Xperia T from O2, it comes with exclusive Bond content, such as film stills and videologs from the cast and crew, including director Sam Mendes. It also comes with Bond content to customise your phone, including wallpapers and – my personal favourite – Bond ringtones and alert sounds.

The Walkman app was a winner, with an attractive interface, Facebook integration and equaliser settings, plus Sony’s xLOUD technology keeps headphones sound pure and adds depth to the built-in speaker.

Overall, the UI and native apps left me satisfied with their simplicity. Even the fonts used in the Email and Calendar apps were a good decision. But then I would stumble across a really annoying flaw, such as the fact you have to switch to the numbers and symbols keypad just to get a full stop when typing.

A slight oversight, maybe, but one that you constantly encounter when using the device. This is frustrating considering the thought that went into native apps, such as the Album app, which gives users the option to view images in a gallery (where super-fast zoom makes it easy to browse), on a map, or even on a globe. There’s also an Online tab that gathers photos from users’ various online accounts, making this a hub for access to all photos connected to a user, even those they have been tagged in on Facebook.

Impressive camera

What I unequivocally loved about the Sony Xperia T was the camera. This device packs one of the highest-spec cameras on the smartphone market at 13MP, plus Sony’s Exmor R CMOS sensor for mobile. The f2.4 lens and auto-focus technology captures images in great detail, with less of the blurring you often see with smartphone cameras.

There are few adjustment settings for taking photographs, but the well-capable scene recognition function takes care of this for you. Video, on the other hand, which can be captured in 1080p HD, comes with plenty of adjustment settings.

Image shot using the Sony Xperia T

Image shot using the Sony Xperia T

The camera provides excellent clarity even in dim light and, with fast-capture capabilities, users can go from standby to snap in about a second – which, for me, was a winner. In shooting images, users have the choice of using the standard touchscreen shutter button, enable touch capture, or use the dedicated button on the side of the handset, as you would with a digital camera.

This enhanced functionality addresses the fact that smartphones are invariably becoming users’ default compact camera – and with a phone packing a camera this good, that loads fast and needs very little fuss to get going, I can really see the appeal.


I love the simplicity of this phone. The specs are high-end but the phone is unfussy and Sony seems to have taken a no-nonsense approach – rather like Bond himself. For a high-end phone, I think it’s one that a novice user could easily manage.

However, there are aspects that would irk a power user, such as slow processing power at times. These complaints have me undecided about the Xperia T; what it gets right, it gets right marvellously, such as the excellent camera, but what it gets wrong could be a deal breaker for some.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.