The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is quite simply a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc with a slightly faster processor. So there you go…
Oh, you want to know more? Well, the Sony Ericsson Arc S is the company's current flagship Android smartphone, sporting a large 4.2in display, a super slim design and an update to Android version 2.3.4. It arrives a mere six months after the original Arc yet is already available for under £300 - only a few tens of pounds more than its forebear.
This low price does have some consequences though, including mediocre build quality. Although the Samsung Galaxy S 2 manages to remain exceptionally popular despite its plastic chassis, it and the Arc S lack the satisfyingly premium feel that we'd expect for a high-end device, such as you get with the LG Optimus 2X, iPhone 4S, and BlackBerry 9900.
The problem is the Arc S is just a bit plasticky, with even the chromed strip running round the edge being chromed plastic rather than solid metal. The back plate also flexes and the plastic flap that covers the HDMI port on the top edge isn't exactly classy. Of course you do pay the price in weight on these partially metal handsets and by sticking largely to plastic the Arc S is indeed among the lightest phones in its class (117g).
It's also very slender at just 8.7mm and sports a tapered back that curves inwards towards the middle. We're not actually too keen on how this feels as the edges of the phone become so thin in the middle it can be a bit difficult to keep a firm grasp on the thing.
The selection of colours and finishes for the handset also causes us to raise an eyebrow. Our glossy white one just doesn't work, looking a little too messy to rival the cool serenity of the white iPhone 4. What's more, most of the other colour schemes aren't much better. In fact the pink one, at least from pictures, looks about the most appealing. Some nice matt, soft-touch (like on the HTC 7 Trophy) or textured (like that of the Samsung Galaxy S 2) finishes would've significantly raised the overall impression, and made it easier to grip.
Before we get too bogged down in the negative stuff, though, we should mention some of the Arc S' good bits. For a start its screen is superb.
Dubbed the Bravia Engine Reality Display, it's a 4.2in LCD panel with a slightly higher than average resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, and it produces a sharp, richly colourful picture. It's not quite as sharp as the iPhone, or as dazzling as the Galaxy S 2 but it is a great compromise between the two. There's a bit more colour shift when viewed at an angle than we like to see but this really wouldn't concern us day to day.