Sony Ericsson’s Xperia family of Android phones has been rapidly expanding, including its traditionally large form factor (like the Arc), adorably miniature ones, such as the Mini, and even sliders, like the Pro. Another addition is the Xperia Ray – a long slim, sturdy Android smartphone with some sharp lines.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray have 3.3-inch TFT LCD display a 480 x 854 pixel resolution, a single-core 1GHz processor inside, a VGA video chat camera on the front, and a massively impressive 8.1-megapixel camera on the back.
While we don’t want to pigeon-hole anyone, it’s clear that the Xperia Ray will appeal to users who are new to smartphones. That’s a good thing though, and Sony Ericsson has really thought about its audience and has designed the phone to appeal to those people.
There are three buttons on the front surface. Two are soft-keys for back and the context sensitive menu control. The third is a hardware home key, which is located between the other two controls. This layout breaks a little from the standard Android form, but we like it, and it works well. The home key is surrounded by a notification light too, that glows green or red, to keep you updated as to what the phone status is. For normal use though, it just glows with a standard backlight blue/white colour. The home key can also be used to wake the phone up, as can the power button, which is located at the top of the handset, next to the headphone jack.
The only real design flaw we could find, early on, was that the screen is slightly raised, and not flush with the case.The Xperia Ray has a 297ppi display, thanks to 854 x 480 pixel squished into a 3.3-inch unit. That’s just 29ppi fewer than the iPhone 4 with its Retina display. It shows too, because the Sony Ericsson has one of the crispest, most detailed screens we’ve seen. It’s actually very impressive when you take your first look at it. Compare it with most Android handsets, and it will immediately stand-out from the other devices.
The Xperia ray packed with 512 MB of RAM and 1GB Internal Memory along with Expandable up to 32GB Memory. The Mobile Phone includes Document viewer/editor for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. The handset Support Adobe Flash 10.1 and Google Mobile Services Such as Google Search, Gmail, YouTube and Google Talk.
The Mobile Phone support various connectivity like 3G HSDPA Connectivity, Wi-Fi Connectivity and GPRS Connectivity and The Phone also support Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, MicroUSB and aGPS data sharing connectivity.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray runs on Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, with a handful of customizations. The key one for Xperia phones since the X10 has been Timescape, which pulls together status updates across multiple social networks into one snazzy user interface. Over the last couple of years, the library of Timescape plug-ins has grown considerably, allowing you to toss in Foursquare updates, RSS feed items, and even incoming Gmail. As a means of casual flipping through updates, Timescape has really matured, and become a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It’s not trying to be a full-blown social networking client, and simply links off to mobile sites or related apps when appropriate.
There is some new stuff, though. Energy saver mode is great. As soon as your battery hits 20%, you get a notification to activate it, and when you do, the display brightneess goes down, and just about every antenna turned off. You can tweak what power saving mode does exactly, but the fact that there’s this simple, helpful thing popping up instead of, say, extra blinking LEDs and vibrations every five minutes, is a huge bonus.
Facebook integration is also all over the place, which is new to me. When dragging around app icons, a new bar slips down from the top, and if you drag the app there, you can share it out to Facebook, or other apps under the “send to” umbrella. There’s also some cool stuff on this front in the FM radio and native media player, but more on that later.
This seems to be an area where Android lacks any consistency, and the virtual Keyboard is, as you might expect, one of the most important parts of a touchscreen smartphone. What Sony Ericsson bundles is more akin to the old, phone style keypads of feature phone times.
And, to some extent, we can understand why Sony has used this type of keyboard. With screen real estate being quite restricted, a full size Android QWERTY keyboard would be a little tricky to tap on. And, it’s even possible that Sony is aiming this phone at people who are just getting rid of a traditional multi-tap style keyboard, with T9 prediction.
The rear of the handset is home to the 8.1 megapixel camera, which also support video recording at resolutions of up to 720p
(HD). The camera uses an Exmor R sensor, which Sony Ericsson says offers improved low light performance. Outdoors the camera works a treat producing images that are not only sharp and bursting with detail, but also managing to capture fantastically vivid colours. Indoors, under low light, the Exmor R sensor likewise seems to do the trick, as snaps have much less noise than we’re used to seeing from camera phone pictures. It fares less well when it comes to video recording, though. Colours look much more muted on video than they do in stills, and in 720p mode, videos lack the level of detail you’d expect from high definition video recording.
Sony Ericsssn has added a number of its own apps into the mix. These include a much better music player than the standard Android version. For example, in this app the Now Playing screen has a Like button that lets you post music recommendations to your Facebook page or you can hit the infinity icon to search for lyrics or call up the artist’s Wikipedia page.
If you’re a big browser, then the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray gives you a full-blown internet device in your pocket at a size you’ll barely notice. And we have to say the internet experience on the Ray is second to none.
The 1500 mAh battery is typically good enough to get me through a day of moderate usage on a single charge, though not a busy one. Sony Ericsson advertises 7 hours of talk time and up to 440 hours of standby. Streaming music all day over Wi-Fi barely puts a dent into the power indicator, and even if I was doing it over HSPA, the Xperia Ray includes a blissfully helpful power management tool that kicks in whenever your battery drops to 20%.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray Specification
|GENERAL||2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Network||HSDPA 900 / 2100 – ST18i|
|HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 – ST18a|
|Status||Available. Released 2011, August|
|SIZE||Dimensions||111 x 53 x 9.4 mm|
|DISPLAY||Type||LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||480 x 854 pixels, 3.3 inches (~297 ppi pixel density)|
|– Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
– Bravia Mobile engine
– Multi-touch input method
– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
– Touch sensitive controls
– Scratch-resistant display
– Timescape UI
|SOUND||Alert types||Vibration, MP3 ringtones|
|MEMORY||Phonebook||Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall|
|Call records||Practically unlimited|
|Internal||1 GB (300 MB user available), 512 MB RAM|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 32GB, 4GB included|
|DATA||GPRS||Up to 86 kbps|
|EDGE||Up to 237 kbps|
|3G||HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR|
|USB||Yes, v2.0 microUSB|
|CAMERA||Primary||8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality|
|Features||Geo-tagging, face and smile detection, touch focus, image stabilization|
|Video||Yes, 720p, video light, check quality|
|FEATURES||OS||Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread)|
|CPU||1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, MSM8255 Snapdragon chipset|
|Messaging||SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push email, IM|
|Radio||Stereo FM radio with RDS|
|Colors||Black, Gold, White, Pink|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support|
|Java||Yes, via Java MIDP emulator|
|– Digital compass
– SNS integration
– MP4/H.263/H.264 player
– MP3/eAAC+/WAV player
– TrackID music recognition
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk
– Document viewer
– Adobe flash 10.1 support
– Voice memo
– Predictive text input
|BATTERY||Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh|
|Stand-by||Up to 430 h (2G) / Up to 440 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 6 h 50 min (2G) / Up to 7 h (3G)|
|Music play||Up to 36 h|
There is virtually nothing we don’t love about the Ray. It’s compact, light with a mammoth battery that will get you through a whole day on a single charge – as long as you’re a little careful. What’s more, the screen is gorgeous, with exquisite detail and brilliant colours.
When it comes to scoring a phone like this, or any gadget, the best possible critera we can judge it on is how sad we’ll be when we have to send it back. And, with the Ray, we’re really sad that it’s leaving us to go on to another reviewer somewhere else. In the month we’ve had it, the Ray has performed beautifully and won over our hearts.
- Great battery life
- Truly amazing screen
- Blisteringly fast web browser with Flash
- Quick GPS action
- 8MP camera with HD video
- Keyboard can be fiddly
- Camera a bit of a letdown
- Timescape erratic
- Maximum of five home screens available
- Office Suite should be pro version