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New Gadgets from Sony Ericsson: Xperia Ray and a Protected Android

Sony Ericsson has presented new gadgets including two new accessories, one phone and two Android smartphones. We will do our best to review all of them without "first looks", after all, these gadgets are very interesting and deserve full reviews especially the protected Active and an image phone called Ray. In this article I will be rather telling you my personal impressions than review the technical specifications of the devices.

Accessories

Two new gadgets: number one is a new headset with a flat cord, regular volume controls, a mic and a programmable button. If you are going to use it with an Android you can install the Sony Ericsson LiveWare application to manage the headset. I liked this headset Ц it offers good sound quality (I have tested it with Arc) and good looks. But, naturally, you can use it with any Android.

The second accessory is a cradle that you can put upright on the table or lay it down horizontally and it also features the Sony Ericsson app. On the back side of the cradle there is an HDMI slot and when you connect it to your TV a respective app is launched. You can connect a wireless keyboard and a mouse (I used SE Play) to get a kind of a mini PC with a large screen. It is very convenient for web browsing, email and other apps and it also supports wireless gamepads for playing (during the demo they used a wireless PS3 gamepad). These accessories will be available in Q3 the prices have not yet been announced. I want to remind you that new SE stuff is more easily spotted in Sony stores.

I can't tell you about the white MW-600 Ц I have nothing on the release date.

The accessories are called LiveDock and LiveSound respectively Ц yes, once again SE is changing the naming pattern.

Sony Ericsson txt

This is a phone on the company's proprietary platform and its main feature is a QWERTY keypad and an unusually sized screen. The 2.6" screen is regular (not a touchscreen) and it has the resolution of 320x240. It has also got a 3.2MPix camera, the handset measures in 106 x 60 x 14.5 mm / 4.17 x 2.36 x 0.57 in, weight: 95 g/ 3.35 oz. there are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and an app called Friends for managing your social accounts. The handset feels great in hand and its positioning is very clear Ц it is a phone for the youth proffering QWERTY keypads and who is tired of Finnish phones and Samsungs. It will be available for about $160 in Q3. By that time Samsung will have updated its phone family a zillion times but it is another issue. I did not find the key pad extremely handy: the keys are too salient Ц obviously, the developers were not testing it for typing long texts. You can type but the keypad does not predispose you to.

The screen is not bad, the phone is fast and it must have a pretty good battery time. It supports microSD memory cards, there is a standard audio jack and a microUSB slot for syncing and charging. There is even radio. The phone will be available in four colors Ц white, black, pink and blue.

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

I really liked this phone. At the presentation the reps were openly stating that it is basically a scaled down version of Arc and it has similar specs.


I liked what the reps were saying about this phone Ц it is a kind of a flashback to the times of W880 and other image yet functional phones. Sony Ericsson fans will understand me Ц the phone has preserved the spirit of those phones. This rather small phone feels nice in hand, the black variant is made of softtouch plastic while the others feature glossy plastic. The screen is protected by glass and there are metal inserts on the sides. It has a nice 8MPix camera, the 3.3' screen has a resolution of 854x480. The phone's dimensions are 111х53х9.4 mm / 4.37x2x0.37 in, weight 100 g/3.53 oz. This phone seems tiny as compared to the major bricks like Arc or Samsung Galaxy S II. At the presentation the reps could not really say for whom this phone is meant.

There is a lot of good about this phone from the looks to the price (around $600 at the sales start in Q3). SE has presented a phone for their fans, for those who used to have SE P910 or P1 and then moved to iPhone and other products, for those who has been longing for "Sony Style". There is a lot of Sony design details in the phone like the central button we saw in Sony Walkman X.

I will not go into speculations Ц this phone is not a sensation and not a *phonename* killer it is just a good device with an adequate price tag. If you think that this is just a smaller arc scaled down to look better you are wrong.

Though it lacks a bit to be really good Ц may be a bit more metal in the body? What do you think? Here is a part of the press release: With a screen of 3.3" and the latest version of Android for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3), this phone has a powerful 1GHz processor, the function 'Reality Display with Mobile Ѓ BRAVIA Engine and a 8.1MP camera with Exmor R Щ for mobile devices and video features in HD. Extremely thin, only 9.4mm thick, the Xperia Щ ray has the design for which Sony Ericsson and 'going to market.

As well as its big brother it uses two mics and the voice clarity is outstanding. It is bundled with a 1500mAh battery and hopefully it can last one and a half or two days.

Sony Ericsson Xperia active

We all remember very well Motorola Defy Ц it has got some fans but I think it lacked some aggression (the looks were rather calm and unisex).

Sony Ericsson has already had a protected phone and it was called C702. It was positioned as a camera phone for extreme conditions though it wasn't really water or dust resistant.

Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Sony Ericsson C702

In case of Active the situation is different Ц it can be submerged underwater up to one meter for as long as half an hour and you can keep making photos and even calls. it is water, impact and dust resistant. On the photos you can see that under the outer battery lid there is another one and the screen is amazingly responsive even when your hands are wet. Anyway, here is what the reps say: Sony Ericsson Xperia Щ active today, a compact smartphone for those who love an active lifestyle, at the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition in Singapore. With a screen of 3 "and the latest version of Android (Gingerbread 2.3), integrates the functionality of your smartphone with Mobile Reality Display BRAVIA Ѓ Engine, a 5MP camera room with ability to record HD video, and a powerful processor 1Ghz . Xperia Щ active is dustproof, waterproof and * is the only device able to function properly even if the screen or fingers were wet.


I want to note the decent package you get Ц there is an extra back panel, earphones with detachable hook, wrist strap, a case with a wrist strap, a 2GB memory card, a microUSB cable for data transfer and syncing. The phone's dimensions are 55х92х16.5 mm/2.17x3.6x0.65 in, weight 110.8 g/3.9 oz. it has a 5MPix camera with autofocus and an LED flash, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the screen size is 3" and the resolution is 320x480. It will be available in Q3 for about $500. I liked this phone but I think it can only become popular with a heavy ad support and if it will be released in late November. But there is always a possibility that another manufacturer will also present a protected Android.

All in all, I liked Ray the most. It makes me think of rays of light and rainbows. I would say that Ray was the highlight of the presentation regardless of how spectacular was the diving of Active. And, as always, I want to listen to what you think about these phones.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

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Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published Ч 24 June 2011

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