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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
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  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
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  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Good camera with shutter button
  • Good connectivity

Cons

  • Slim design is difficult to hold
  • Only single-core processor
  • Feels plasticky

Key Features

  • 4.2in, 480x 854 pixel screen
  • Android operating system
  • 8 megapixel camera with shutter button
  • 1.4GHz processor
  • Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson
  • Review Price: £299.00

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.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Orinj

October 25, 2011, 5:24 pm

I haven't even read the review but am bewildered as to why the first page does not give a price for this phone and the date of the review is 1st September!

In addition, how do we feed back issues with the reviews and website now? I sent an email to the web master but didn't get a reply and it seems there are common annoyances that are preventing us from making these comments sections really useful e.g.

1) Why do I have to log in every day?
2) Can I get an update when someone has replied to or added to the thread?
3) Can we see comments on the mobile site?

Ed

October 25, 2011, 5:52 pm

I'm not actually sure why the price isn't appearing. I guess that's a new bug...

As to the whole comments section, I'm afraid we're stuck with this system for a while yet, though alternatives are being looked at. All the things you want have long since been requested by the writing team as well, I can assure you.

Sapporodan

October 25, 2011, 7:57 pm

I don't know why but I find the recent Sony phones just plain ugly! they just look a bit cheap and uninspiring.
Saying that, I think most smartphones are just boring bricks nowadays.
No company's take any risks in design anymore...

Ed, thanks for taking the time to reply to Orinj, its nice to know people are listening.

Ala Miah

October 25, 2011, 11:45 pm

If you want to save 2-30 quid just go for the Arc, it's great. Also worth noting it will get ice cream sandwich update in 2012 so you will have the latest google toy to play with.

This phone is great for watching tv shows and films on the widescreen as the quality is excellent. I bought it for this reason alone.

p.s how difficult is it to put in some code to store a cookie on the local machine so it remembers you're login? literally takes 2 mins for a web developer yet hasn't been done since site launched! Pathetic!

yadan

December 8, 2011, 3:32 am

All other things aside concerning the Xperia Arc, if you're looking for an Android phone and scheduling is important to you, you definitely want to avoid buying this device. There is simply no way to edit a single entry in a repeating series without altering the entire series. Following 2 weeks of correspondence with Sony Ericsson and 3 update downloads which didn't help at all, the company finally admitted they had nothing to correct this serious, basic deficiency and had no plans to do so. Every other half-decent PDA device - even cheaper, less sophisticated ones - provides this option. Other Android manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung claim that their smartphones include this scheduling option, so if you're into the business end of an Android smartphone, keep away from the Arc.

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