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With Android having a vast number of apps available in its Marketplace you can add an almost infinite amount of functionality to this phone and even tweak the interface by adding different keyboards and such like. However, what you get out of the box should be plenty to get you going.
The general messaging experience is excellent with a superb onscreen keyboard, a well presented simple SMS app, and comprehensive email support, as well as included Facebook and Twitter apps. Android's continued inability to zoom in and out of html emails is still rather baffling and the keyboard isn't quite as good as the iPhone but otherwise, this is a great phone for keeping up with all your world's goings on – we particularly like the landscape email layout.
The web browser has Flash support ready from the off, so watching online videos and interacting with flash websites can be done straight away. What's more, the speedy processor means said video plays back surprisingly smoothly. Otherwise, the browser is generally speedy and easy to use. Incidentally, there's no new fangled connectivity on offer here, just standard 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Finding out where to go and how to get there is made easy by included GPS and Google's excellent mapping and navigation services, and of course you can download fully fledged sat nav apps as well. Meanwhile, entertaining yourself en route isn't so easy as the default video app doesn't support much in the way of video files. Instead you'll either have to convert your video files or download another video player. For storing all that music, videos and photos there's a microSD slot, which should come filled with an 8GB card. Sadly there's only 400MB of in-built storage but you can swap out the 8GB card for up to a 32GB one instead
Thankfully, making calls on the Arc throws up no major causes for concern though the speaker is a bit pathetic, with it distorting at full volume, which is slightly odd as it does a decent job when playing video and music. Contacts are also very easy to navitage and are auto populated when you sign into your Google, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Battery life is typical of a modern Android with it practically requiring an overnight charge every other day.
The final consideration for this phone is price, and again we can safely say it hasn't tripped up. At around £400 SIM free, it's pretty much on the money with contracts or £25pm getting you the phone for free.
If you like your smartphones sleek and slim yet still packed with features, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc should be high on your list. It's among the thinnest phones in its class yet packs in a large high quality screen, has a better camera than most – with a shutter button, and has all the connectivity you'd expect of a modern smartphone. Yes, it lacks a dual-core processor but it's still plenty fast enough and is competitively priced. Simply put, it's a great buy.
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