Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - Gaming Hardware

By Edward Chester


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Review Price £414.00

There are two elements to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play's success as a portable gaming console; hardware and software. And on one of these fronts it falls some way short while the other is a rip roaring success. Thankfully, it's the one that can't be changed that is the success.

The game controls are simply superb. It really is quite astonishing how Sony Ericsson has made such an easy to use set of physical game controls fit in such a confined space.

Open the sturdy metal slide mechanism – which is easy to do one handed – and you're greeted by a directional-pad on the left; the classic triangle, circle, cross and square buttons on the right; two touch sensitive analogue pads in-between and small Start and Select buttons tucked away in the bottom right.

Starting with the physical buttons, they have a nice discernible break to their action so you know when you've pressed them, yet they require a relatively light touch. As such they just feel effortless to use and will be instantly familiar to any PlayStation owners. Even the shoulder pads are easy to use, though as the screen slides over the top of them, it can get a little cramped if you have large fingers.

Putting the buttons to task on a number of titles, we were instant converts to the idea of playing mobile games in this way. It's not only easier to control the games but you of course don't have your screen half taken up with onscreen controls.

We were prepared to be underwhelmed by the analogue touchpads but again they proved a joy to use. We're sure those that have honed their analogue stick skills on the likes of Call Of Duty will find them a little inaccurate but on all the games we tried they provided a sufficient amount of responsiveness. For instance, on the run-and-gun game Gun Bros, we found it easy to vary the speed and direction our character was moving (using the left pad) while staying accurate with our gun fire (using the right pad).

Were more games to start taking full advantage of the full set of buttons, we can see it getting difficult to keep a firm grip on the phone while reaching for both shoulder buttons and performing some impressive thumb acrobatics on the main controls in the heat of battle, but overall they're surprisingly effective.

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April 19, 2011, 4:09 pm

I'm a bit disappointed the small bezel is an annoyance(this was something i hoped would become the norm).

I would like to try this phone out(seeing as the hardware market has been a bit flat of late)

perhaps if the release a full psx catalogue optimised for the screen width and is free on a contract,i may even be tempted.

Think this will sell well.


April 19, 2011, 6:14 pm

I was really interested in getting one of these until I saw the size of the internal memory. 400mb?!!! That is pathetic. I'm currently using an HTC Desire which is great except for one thing, the small internal memory. There are still many apps that do not have the option to install to sd card and even with the ones that do you need enough internal memory for the initial installation to sd. Being a gaming phone this will become a very real problem very quickly. If I do still get it then I think I'll have to go down the route of rooting (pun intended).


April 19, 2011, 7:08 pm

You may be right that it will encounter problems at some point but we downloaded several games of hundreds of megabytes and they all seemed fine.


April 19, 2011, 9:05 pm

Re Ed: I'm guessing you hadn't installed much when you reviewed it. I've got about 20mb of internal space left on my desire. This means I cannot install anything larger than 20mb even onto the sd card as it needs that internal space to be able to install. I wouldn't even say I've got that many apps installed. Everything I have is stuff that I need or regularly use. The problem is there are some large apps that don't have the option to install to sd. Flash Player, Maps and facebook are prime examples. It's amazing how soon it all adds up. Plus anything that's cached in the system.

Really Android phones need to have 1gb native storage as a minimum.


April 19, 2011, 10:10 pm

I think Ed's referring to the Xperia Play. You would think that the Play's games are being installed to the SD card, or at least the game data is being stored there, or it wouldn't be a very practical device.

I think my Xperia Arc has the same internals as the Play, and as I look at it I have 48 apps installed (including CoPilot, Flash & Facebook) though I still have 112MB of internal storage free. Also, there's still a bunch of apps I could move to SD if I needed to.


May 3, 2011, 1:20 pm

What's happened to this site?

The engadget Xperia Play review has 1214 comments. TrustedReviews has 3. Well, 4 if you let this one through.

This redesign hasn't really worked, has it?

Tic Sy

November 18, 2011, 12:06 am

Kindly do a review of Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro MK16a/MK16i codename Iyokan. We would appreciate it a lot if you specifically compared the screen legibility with other phones in its price range. Thank you.

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