If you can’t afford the likes of the Sony Xperia U or Sony Xperia P, then Sony is hoping to reel you in with the Sony Xperia Miro. You can buy it SIM-free for the very modest asking price of £150, or alternatively pick it up for free on a tenner a month contract. On paper that seems like a pretty good deal, but as we'll find out, the Miro isn’t quite as tempting a proposition as it first appears.
First impressions of the Sony Xperia Miro are a bit indifferent. It's not that it's an unattractive phone, it's more that its design is a bit dull and doesn’t really grab your attention. Like a 1980's goth, the handset is decked out in all black, with just the silver effect on the logos and the touch buttons at the bottom of the screen to distract you from its overall starkness.
The rear battery cover is nicely curved at the edges, though, and has a grippy rubberised effect, so it sits comfortably in your hand. Sony has also added a neat looking cutaway at the bottom of the screen, which has a brushed metal effect, in contrast to the polished black used on the screen's bezel.
There are just two hardware buttons – the volume rocker switch on the right hand edge and the power button, which also doubles as the lock switch, at the top. They're a little bit on the small and thin side with the result that the power/lock switch is especially fiddly to use. Beneath the screen you do get the standard Android touch buttons for back, home and menu, but unlike the similarly priced Motorola Motorosmart, the Sony Xperia Miro lacks a dedicated search button.
The Sony Xperia Miro has a 3.5-inch screen which is pretty small by today's standards. What's worse, though, is that the screen has a pretty low resolution of 320 x 480. This compares rather unfavourably against the likes of the Huawei Ascend G300, which has a larger 4-inch display with a much higher resolution of 480 x 800, even though it's actually a cheaper handset costing around £100 on a Pay-As-You-Go basis. To be fair, the Sony Xperia Miro screen has got pretty wide viewing angles and doesn't suffer form the annoying shimmer that you get on lesser displays. Colours are pretty vivid too, as long as you turn up the brightness a bit in the control panel, which is set too low by default for our liking.
The limited resolution on the Sony Xperia Miro screen means that you often have to zoom in on a webpage just to read headlines that you can usually make out quite clearly at fully zoomed out levels on other phones. Similarly, you find yourself having to do a lot more scrolling or zooming in apps like Facebook or Google Currents.
The phone doesn't exactly blow your mind with the rest of its specification, either, with the Sony Xperia Miro processor lining up as an 800MHz single-core offering which has a fairly modest 512MB of RAM available to it. Storage space is limited to 4GB, but almost half of this is taken up by the OS and various built-in apps, so you're left with 2.2GB to play with, which isn't a huge amount really. You can beef up the phone's storage using microSD cards though with the Sony Xperia Miro accepting cards of up to 32GB in size with the card slot found under the battery cover which is actually a bit tricky to remove.