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Sony Xperia P - Performance and Interface

By Edward Chester


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Turning the phone on, the Android interface feels quick to respond and its animations are nice and smooth – there's no stutter vision here. Powering the Xperia P along is a dual-core 1GHz chip (the NovaThor U8500 with Mali-400MP graphics, to be precise), which may sound a little weedy compared to the quad core, 1.5GHz models topping the charts but in practise it's plenty fast enough.

In fact, putting the phone to the test with a few benchmarks, it performs even better than expected, nearly drawing level with the HTC One X in the CPU tests, SunSpider and BrowserMark.

Sony Xperia P BenchmarkSony Xperia P Benchmark

It's much less impressive on the graphics front, with it only just beating the HTC One V in GLBenchmark, but for most games it will be more than sufficient, particularly given it's not having to render them at HD screen resolutions.

Sony Xperia P Benchmark

When it comes to making calls, we found signal quality to be a little more ropey than we're used to with garbled and broken up voices occurring as a result. But, as ever, such findings have to be taken with a pinch of salt as signal strength varies so wildly from carrier to carrier and location to location, and notably we never dropped a call.

Otherwise the actual sound quality is very good, with the earpiece delivering clear, natural sounding voices, and the mic delivering a pleasing tone too.


The Sony Xperia P runs Android and the overall experience will be instantly familiar to those that have already dabbled in Google's mobile OS. And even if you're new to the platform, it's easy to get to grips with, in particular thanks to the comprehensive walkthrough that's activated when you first power the phone on.

There is a downside, though, which is that this phone runs the rather ancient 2.3 version of Android, rather than the 4.0 version most newish handsets use. Okay, so 2.3 is still used on loads of very decent older phones and it's still very capable, but there are a few nice enhancements in 4.0/4.1 that will be missed. An Android 4.0 based update is in the works, though, and is expected to arrive in early August.

Sony Xperia P 12

Sony has fairly heavily tweaked the Android interface to both the betterment and detriment of the experience, but overall it remains easy to use.

Some positives include the addition of Sony's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited streaming services, which are both among the best manufacturer specific services of their kind, with reasonable prices and a vast catalogue of content that taps into Sony's motion picture and music archives.

Another fairly obvious change is that you're given the option of whether to have the main apps menu order itself alphabetically, in order of most used or most recently added, or in an order of your choosing. We're fans of the default alphabetical way but at least the other options are there.

Sony Xperia P 13

Another tweak are the default icons along the bottom of the screen. These are customisable but out of the box the bottom left is home to a folder of multimedia apps – gallery, music, FM radio and camera. We like how this both brings some useful apps to the fore without needing any user customisation, and for those new to Android it highlights what you can do with folders.

On the flip side, there are some distinct oddities, such as the phone resetting every time you add or remove the SIM card. You also can't use the phone on Wi-Fi for anything but web browsing when no SIM is installed. Sony has also failed to add any quick access settings in the drop down notification area – things such as switches for quickly turning Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 3G on/off – which are quite common on other Android handsets.

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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.


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


September 5, 2012, 11:31 pm

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?


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


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

Jon Thompson

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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