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Sony Xperia P review

 Review: May 2012  

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Sony Xperia P is an elegant mid-range Android phone with a beautiful aluminium unibody design.

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The Xperia P sits below Sony's flagship Xperia S in its Xperia NXT series. The Xperia P is a beautifully-crafted phone with a brushed aluminium unibody giving it a sophisticated and minimalistic look. The transparent band near the bottom lights up in a cool way to indicate calls, etc.

The Xperia P is smaller and lighter than the S, making it a more manageable size if you prefer your phones to be easily pocketable, yet it retains a decent 4 inch display with a high resolution and superb clarity, thanks to Sony's WhiteMagic technology which adds a fourth white sub-pixel in addition to the usual red, green and blue. The screen automatically adjusts its brightness according to ambient light, staying bright when needed, and saving battery life when not. Even in direct sunlight you'll have no trouble viewing the screen.

The Xperia P runs Android Gingerbread 2.3, making it seem a little old-fashioned compared with rival phones, although an update to Android 4 is planned for the Summer. Sony's usual Android customisations are here, including Timescape, which serves as a communications hub for texts, emails, facebook and twitter feeds.

The Xperia P is powered by a 1GHz dual core processor, which sounds fast, but is now completely standard for this type of phone. Nevertheless, with a full 1GB of RAM, the processor is perfectly adequate to power everything the phone needs to do, and to run some quite intensive apps, such as 3D games. There's 16GB of onboard memory too, of which about 13GB is available to the user. Unfortunately there's no microSD card slot, so this isn't expandable.

Photography is suitably satisfying. Although the Xperia P lacks the 12 megapixel blockbuster camera of the Xperia S, it still has a very respectable 8 megapixel sensor coupled with Sony's Exmor R technology to capture images in fine detail even in low light. It's quite a fast snapper too, and a dedicated camera button is a welcome feature. The camera can record video at full 1080p HD, and there's a front-facing VGA camera equipped for video calling with Google Talk.

Music playback is excellent, with Sony's usual high-quality player combined with its xLOUD Experience, Clear Stereo and Clear Bass audio enhancements. An FM radio with RDS is included. You can plug in a standard 3.5mm stereo headphone, or stream music via DNLA or wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Assisted GPS works well, as you'd expect for an Android device, and Google Maps does its usual high-quality job of showing you where you are and telling you how to get to your destination.

Connectivity is outstanding. In addition to the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB, there are options like the HDMI connection (for connecting to a HD TV) and NFC that can be used to exchange data with other NFC-enabled phones. Fast HSPA 3G lets you download data at up to 14.4Mbps, subject to being in a strong 3G location.

One key area where Sony have missed a trick, however, is the battery. The Xperia P will ship with a non-replaceable 1305mAh battery, which simply isn't up to the job. We think that demanding users are going to be charging every day. While that's a feature of many other smartphones, it's something that Sony could have fixed with a bigger battery, and it's a black mark against the phone.

Overall, the Xperia P is a good phone. It's not the biggest around, but a 4 inch screen is big enough for most users. And it looks and feels quite special. In many ways it's a powerful, modern smartphone, with features like a great camera with 1080p video recording, a sharp, bright display, Adobe Flash support and HDMI & NFC connectivity. And yet in other ways it feels mid-range, with a relatively unremarkable processor, an outdated version of Android and an underpowered battery. We feel that it needs to drop to £15/month on contract to be priced right.

Sony Xperia P features include:

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Sony Xperia P user reviews

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Average rating from 6 reviews:

Reviewed by Bizzy from Nigeria on 20th Mar 2013
Great Phone Everything is top notch and the camera is outstanding,
only major let down is the battery-life

Reviewed by Emsy from UK on 13th Dec 2012
Great phone, build, sound, screen, and everything else screams quality. Its quite a hard phone to find, but if you can- get it. Top Marks Sony!!

Reviewed by THEIN from BURMA on 8th Sep 2012
Beautiful phone with extremely good connectivity and fast internet browsing. Display is absolutely stunning and camera packs a tremendous punch! Recently upgraded to 4.0.4 Ice cream sandwich and it has become a marvel. Battery life has also improved. Love my P

Reviewed by Devi Prasad. M from Libya on 25th Aug 2012
I’ve been a fan of “mobile-phones-uk” website for last five years. I have been in an imagination that these guys out here are professional in studying and explaining tech features of mobiles. I bought a Sony Xperia P last week and I discover that it comes with a USB OTG functionality. How could you guys miss / neglect such an important functionality on a phone? Shame on Sony, shipping this device without bundling a USB OTG cable in the pack that could cost them under 2 Dollars. It is disgusting to search and find a suitable cable. I bought one (labeled as Nokia) nut not working with my phone.
The phone is brilliant in deed. The aluminum uni-body is incredible but the bottom part (below the transparent band) is covered with a simple plastic shell, protecting mic and other vital electronic parts. No one can use a phone without dropping it ever! When we drop, the bottom lands first -damaging mic & other sensitive parts- crippling the phone! How come the Sony design it so?

Reply by Curran from UK on 30th Dec 2012
Not a big deal that they didn't include a USB OTG cable. Not everybody actually needs one.

Reviewed by Peter from Team GB! on 6th Aug 2012
I got this as a replacement to 3 faulty xperia arc s's.
The Xperia P is great. It suffers with none of the issue's i experienced with the arc s, the camera is the same, the video recording is better (now 1080) and its just an all round good phone. 2 issues to be aware of are the battery is a tad weak but the supplied charger is brilliant and will get you back to speed in no time, and certain colours on screen are over-saturated if the brightness is set to full. But all in all i love my Xperia P and think its a fine addition to the NXT range

Reviewed by marie from ireland on 2nd Jul 2012
got dis phones yesterday nd im impressed the screen is really bright nd crisp one of the best mid range smartphones ive seen.im enjoyin my experience so far batt seems to b ok i was messing around with it quiet a gud bit when i gots it so but it does take a few charges to get the batt rite but so far so good

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