The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Active has one other lifestyle feature up its sleeve — it claims to feature wet finger tracking, meaning the phone “works perfectly” when either the screen or a user’s fingers are wet.
The box contains:
- USB charging cable
- Arm pouch for running
- Stereo headphones (earbud variety) with attachable earhooks
- 2GB Memory card
- Rubber Lanyard to secure phone to wrist
- Additional back cover
As the name suggests the ‘Active’ is targeting the more energetic members of society and it does this in a number of clever ways. Out of the box, the most apparent of these is size. At just 92 x 55mm the Active has a surprisingly small footprint compared to today’s monstrous handsets, though a ruggedized exterior means it is a hefty 16mm thick.
This gives the Active an Xperia Mini-esque ‘small-but-chunky’ appearance, though its build quality far exceeds the Mini with a tasteful rubberised rear, toughened metal rim and wholly touch-sensitive home, back and context keys. At 110.8g there isn’t a great weight penalty to be paid either, suggesting the premise for the Active is to be pocket friendly and withstand the elements, but that is only the start.
The USB socket and headphone port are protected by sealed covers when they’re not in use. Impressively, the phone prompts you to check these covers are in place after you’ve removed your USB cable or headphones, to ensure they don’t get left open accidentally.
The Xperia Active’s party trick is that it is waterproof. Sony Ericsson claims the Active can withstand being fully submerged for up to 30 minutes in depths up to one metre and surely enough it passed this test with flying colours. To achieve this, the Active’s 3.5mm headphone jack and micro USB charging port are covered by well made rubber flaps and cleverly, an onscreen prompt reminds you to close them whenever headphones or the charge cable are unplugged. It’s the little things.
Sony Ericsson has been surprisingly quick to ensure its phones are running the latest version of Android. The Xperia Active comes with Gingerbread installed, and what’s more, it’s a very recent iteration — 2.3.4, to be exact.
This update includes the ability to make video calls using the Google Talk app and the phone’s front-facing camera, as well as other minor bug fixes and enhancements.
t’s a fantastic system that not only saves time, but makes the phone’s UI feel more intuitive. You can have all of your communication shortcuts — such as text messages, email and your dialer — tied to the top-left corner, while your media links — music, YouTube, gallery and camera — can be pinned to the top-right.
That means you can have access to 16 different apps using the smart corners interface alone — and that’s not to mention the number of shortcuts and live widgets you can spread across the handset’s five home screens.
One of the big new additions Sony Ericsson has made to its Android 2.3.4 update that’s here on the Active, also on the Arc S and is gradually filtering out to all of its 2011 Android phones, is its line-drawing keyboard.
A complete clone of the popular Swype, this lets you forget about the limitations of using a QWERY keyboard on a 3-inch screen, and start writing by linking letters of words together without lifting your finger off the screen. It’s a great little feature that, once you’ve got the hang of it, speeds up typing time and greatly reduces typos.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active comes with a 5MP camera alongside an LED flash, which puts it on a par with the sensors
found in Sony Ericsson’s sweet little Xperia Mini and Mini Pro.
The default option is to sense scenes automatically with its Scene Recognition option, but toggle that off and you can manually pick from the usual modes such as Landscape, Portrait, Party, Sports, Beach and Snow, and one specifically for capturing text called Document.
Sony Ericsson’s music player is user-friendly, with big buttons for easy navigation. You have lots of different goodies to play with, like equalizer settings and the xLOUD option, which should enhance the loudness of the speaker.
Sony Ericsson’s technicians claim the Xperia Active is good for 5.5 hours of talk time and 335 hours of standby time on 3G, which is all well and good when it’s sitting on a test bench in a Swedish laboratory.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active Specification
– 320 x 480 Pixels
– 16,777,216 color TFT
– 3 Inches
– Internal phone storage: 1GB (up to 320MB free)
– RAM: 512MB
– Memory card slot: microSD™, up to 32GB
* Actual free memory may vary due to phone pre-configuration.
– GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
– UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
– Black-RedOrange – Black with White – White-RedOrange – White – WhitePossible limited market availability.
– 92.0 x 55.0 x 16.5 mm
– 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches
– 110.8 gr
– 3.9 oz
The low-end screen resolution of 320 x 480 means text isn’t as sharp as it is on many other Android smartphones today. It’s not unreadable and does work well in outdoor light, but if you do a lot of reading the slight blotchiness may become an annoyance.
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Range of accessories in the box
- Pre-installed fitness apps
- Very poor call quality
- Low in-call volume
- Camera low on detail