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Sony Xperia P - Multimedia, Value and Verdict

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Messaging and Contacts

Another tweak Sony hasn't made is to the Contacts and dialler page. You get predictive dialling, where it matches both number and name as you type, and it’s a cinch to import and synchronise your Google, Facebook and twitter contacts. However, you don't get that next level of integration where pictures and status updates from your friends actually appear in their contact page – Windows Phone People Hub this is not. You'll have to jump into the respective apps to catchup on your friend's goings on.

Sony Xperia P

Despite the relatively small screen and what looks like it isn't the easiest to use onscreen keyboard, the typing experience is very good. The phone responds quickly, keeping up with our fast typing, and more often than not it correctly guesses what word we're after. Being Android you can of course just install your favourite alternative keyboard.

When it comes to the SMS and email apps, we had no concerns – they're simple and easy to use.

Web browsing is likewise something that threw up few concerns. The browser's fast, renders pages properly and all the key features you need are easily accessible thanks to menus appearing from the bottom rather than the top of the screen, putting them within easy thumb reach. What's more, being as this phone uses an older version of Android, it still has Adobe Flash support, unlike Android 4.1. The only points of contention are that there are no dedicated onscreen buttons for Back and Forward, with the browser instead relying on the hardware back button and a trip to the menu for Forward.

Sony Xperia P 5

Otherwise we're looking at fairly standard Android apps. Google Maps and Navigation, Facebook, Twitter, Clock, Gallery, Fm Radio, Alarm, YouTube. All are present and correct and easy to use too. Jump into the Google Play App store and you can add a plethora more.

Media

As is mostly the case with Android phones you don't need to run any extra software to drag and drop a few music, picture and video files (or whatever else for that matter) onto the phone, so it's easy to chop and change your tunes, not matter whose PC you're using.

Music playback is the usual basics of mp3s and wmvs with no fancy flac support or such like, but you can download apps that will support almost any file type. Playback quality is also good, with no background hiss and a generally pleasing tone, with plenty of volume on offer. As we've come to expect from Sony, the included earphones are also a step above your average, though still nothing spectacular.

Sony Xperia P 1

It's a similar story for video with native playback support being fairly mediocre but with the help of a few apps you can play just about any file that's 720p resolution or lower. The 4in screen doesn't quite have the tablet-replacing impact of larger phones but it's enough that you can happily watch an episode of something on the way to work.

The gallery is essentially the standard Google one, which isn't all that clever – the gallery is one app that really benefited from the 4.x updates. But, if shows your pictures and has easy access to share facilities.

Sony Xperia P 3

Camera

When it comes to taking your own pictures, the Sony Xperia P has an 8MP camera with autofocus, an LED flash and dedicated shutter button, and it can shoot 1080p video too. All that sounds like it should make for a phone that's great as a reliable out and about snapper. However, while mostly very good, it isn't perfect.

The mere fact it packs in 8MP means you can capture a decent amount of detail in your shots, and colour reproduction in good lighting is nice too. However, it doesn't cope with difficult lighting conditions as well as the iPhone 4S in particular. Low light shooting is also a step below the best thanks to a relatively weak LED flash. It's comparable to most of those of last year's phones but a step below the best now. The shutter button is also a tad stiff leading to wobbly shots as you press too hard, and there aren't many built in fun effects.

Sony Xperia P 3

Nonetheless, the core abilities are decent and with a very easy to use sweep panorama and 3D sweep panorama mode (you can view the latter on your 3D TV using the microHDMI socket), there's enough here to keep us happy.

Video recording has much the same pros and cons with reasonable quality and ease of use but not much in the way of fun extras.

Sony Xperia P 6

Value

It's clear then that the Xperia P isn't a world beater but with a set of features (metal body, 8MP camera with shutter button, microHDMI socket) that few phones offer at this size and sub-300 price, it holds up very well on the value front.

A few options such as the ZTE Grand X offer a similar combination of dual-core performance and a decent modest sized screen, but few add the extras. That said, if you want a cheaper option and Android 4.0, the ZTE Grand X is an impressive offering.

Verdict

We like the Sony Xperia P a lot. It looks nice, is well built and offers a great set of core features, with dual-core performance, 8MP camera and sharp display, all wrapped up in a modest sized handset. Add in some unexpected extras like microHDMI connectivity and NFC and you're onto a winner. It's not without its issues but we think this is a cracking option for those looking for a small but capable Android phone.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Camera 7
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Usability 8
  • Value 9
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Tim Sutton

August 2, 2012, 8:50 pm

I think I'm just unlikely to ever buy another phone of any sort that doesn't have expandable memory.

When I'm out of decent coverage (which in Devon is usually) or abroad I need to have my media stored locally, and to be honest I almost always WANT to have it stored locally even when I am in coverage.

16GB is not enough space for me to consider it worthwhile buying.

VillaYouth

August 5, 2012, 7:05 pm

Nice review, I dont see a problem for me with 16GB of memory, I personally (not knocking others) dont see the point or need to carry my whole music/video collection with me at one time, I can only watch and/or listen to one thing at a time, so I just carry what is relevant at that time

There may be no simple settings in the drop down notification bar, but I think there is a simple widget on the far left home page that lists, wifi, gps, bluetooth etc etc that can simply be switched on and off from there.

One question for you, how do you rate the GPS on this unit ? I dont own one and my contract ends in October, this is one of the phones I am looking at when the time comes (There may be a lot better, but I dont spend a lot, and I dont need a lot of super duper features) BUT I do like a strong GPS receiver, how does this compare ??

Thank you

Android

September 5, 2012, 11:31 pm

Hi
I want to buy the Xperia P however because it has been out for some time I am worried that its successor will be available shortly after I purchase my phone. Do you have any idea in when the successor to the P will be released?

Guest

January 6, 2013, 1:44 pm

true the memory is not enough.
this is the only reason i don;t buy it
from romania respect

mark

January 14, 2013, 10:38 am

Great phone. Competes with galaxy s3 mini. Same chipset. Sony made 2 mistakes at initial release: too expensive to compete in its initial price range and they installed the stale Gingerbread OS. Now its getting old and they are struggling to keep it up to date with Ice Cream Sandwich. Oh well...

Nasir Talal

February 2, 2013, 5:50 am

i hav xperia P...its camera isnt working after the update which i installled yesterday....plzzz helP me out n teLL me what to do

1stMobileChat

May 3, 2013, 11:31 am

Fantastic handset with superb screen, just the job for those who don't want to carry a huge screen around with them. The camera is fantastic too. Just a few minor but frustrating issues:

1. The battery is built-in so will be difficult to replace

2. The last android upgrade inexplicably changed the swipe function on the lock screen, it used to put the phone in silent mode which was very handy, now it fires up the camera which is completely unnecessary as there is a camera button on the side on the handset. There is no way of changing it back.

3. Most infuriating, when you are in a call, say you're waiting a call to answer and the screen goes off. Pressing the button in the side which normally activates the screen will terminate the call. I have been on hold on a call then accidentally ended the call, thinking I am turning the screen on which is the button's normal function when not in a call.

These little irritations aside though it is without a doubt the best phone I have ever had and is highly recommended.

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