Xperia Arc S is top class
Cape Town - The Sony Xperia Arc S crosses the line: If you have just singed a contract for a top-of-the-line device, the release of this phone will peeve you no end because you got less phone than you could have.
Newly independent Sony Ericsson, as a wholly-owned division of Sony, is on a charge to capture the crown of mobile devices and after launching the Xperia Arc just months ago, launched the upgraded S in South Africa in November.
Expect premium features for the premium price on this top-end smartphone, but still, it deserves of praise.
Living with the phone is an eye-opening experience: It's the first time that people stop and do a double-take when they see the Arc S.
That may have something to do with the review unit's colour being hot pink, but you don't mind showing off this phone because it is beautiful in a "come get me" kind of way.
The phone feels like a quality instrument, despite its plastic cover. The backlit scratch resistant touch screen feels strong enough to play cricket with - but that might not be a good idea.
The 8 megapixel camera with flash auto focuses to get the best picture, but this can flummox the device in low-light conditions.
The images themselves, are better than just upload-to-Facebook, and a blind test between amateur photographers could not reveal with any consistent accuracy which pictures were takes by the smartphone or a point-and-shoot digital camera.
As is expected at the top end of the market, video comes in high definition and for low-light conditions, the camera flash doubles as a video light. Use it, because the image can become slightly grainy without the light.
The Arc S has a claimed standby time of 460 hours, but in real world testing we got about two full days on one charge.
That's better than a range of Android-powered smartphones tested recently.
The Android operating system feels familiar to those who have used similar devices, but there's significant polishing on the Sony Ericsson device.
In addition to the multiple home screens that give you access to the most-often used features instantly, there are also three elegant buttons that allow further flexibility to control the smartphone.
The placement of the camera lens suits users with large hands which usually seem to get in the way of the shot whether you shoot horizontally or vertically.
In the box, are the standard 3.5mm earphones, charger and USB cable. But also, despite the phone having 320MB user-available memory, there's an 8GB memory card as well.
This is the first device that we tested that comes standard with the NeoReader app that reads the QR barcodes.
As these codes become more widely used, the phone is well-placed to take advantaged of that.
Expect that Sony will begin offering premium content from its vast collection across its entire range of Xperia devices as it hopes to dominate in the same way that Apple does with its ecosystem.
The display is vivid and doesn't tire the eye, while the built-in games are entertaining for the casual gamer, but hard-core gamers will be pleased to download device versions of their popular games.
One feature that makes the phone more secure is the built-in tracking service, where users can track the device through GPS. This is a useful deterrent to counter theft of the smartphone which retails for around R6 800.
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