|Sony Ericsson’s Xperia line has managed to produce some phones that were refreshingly new to the smartphone industry and has tasted success with them. What the previous phones lack or didn’t have rather, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro makes up for with its QWERTY keyboard to make the Sony Ericsson Xperia lineup complete. It also sports all the best of the Xperia phones with the 480 x 854 LCD Reality Display as well as the 8MP camera that comes with Exmor R sensor to go with its 1GHz processor. With Sony promising the phone will get an upgrade to Android Ice-cream sandwich, let’s find out if this phone lives up to its expectation.
Sony has the got the keyboard for this phone spot on as it not only has the keys well spaced but it also somehow has a classic feel to it with its long space bar and full set of arrow keys. The keyboard also pops out and back in easily without feeling like it might break apart thanks to the spring-loading mechanism. However, we didn’t like how the keys were quite clicky and also lacked key travel. We would have also liked to see some shortcut keys that we could program. On the left you will see the power button as well as the standard audio jack. Meanwhile on the right sits the volume rocker together with the microHDMI port that is covered with a protective flap. There are more things on the right too, like the two-stage shutter button as well as the LED notification light. On the back sits the 8MP Exmor R camera with the word ‘XPERIA’ carved out in the middle of the back as well.
On this phone the Timescape UI is running atop the Android v2.3.4 Gingerbread which is if you remember almost similar to what we have previously seen with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S. There is a five pane homescreen and have four docked shortcuts. You can view these shortcuts on all of you five homesceens and you can manually change them to either be one icon or a folder with a few items in them. Much like the helicopter view in HTC Sense, Timescape has its own similar eye candy called Overview mode. In this mode, you pinch to zoom out of one of the 5 homescreen panes and you get a cool transition which takes you to a new screen. At the same time, all your widgets gather there allowing you to pick which one you want to use on that screen. The Sony Ericsson Xperia pro has its very own widgets too like the Timescape widget as well as a widget for photos and videos which resembles the Mediascape from previous models. At the app launcher, you will find the shortcuts at the bottom corners and you are also allowed to arrange the icons on the grid as you like. If you are feeling lazy you can always choose automatic options. This way the apps will be arranged either in alphabetical order or in the most used to least used order.
The screen on the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro is probably the one with the best viewing angles of the whole Xperia line of phones although you do get some fading when you go over 45 degrees like we saw with the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc. This 3.7 inch Reality Display LCD screen offers a resolution of 480 x 854 and that churns out a decent pixel density of 265ppi.The screen also is bright and even gives good color when used outdoors. Thanks to Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine you also get some amazing colors and contrast from the screen.
Moving on to the camera onboard the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, we have an 8MP Exmor R which comes with a cool camera interface that has much to offer. There are various scene modes that you can choose from and there are also features like 2D and 3D Panorama. Photos taken were ok with colors being on the warmer side. Pictures did lack some detail and when we took pictures indoors, colors were not accurate. The LED flash doesn’t do enough to help either. The camcorder shoots at 720p HD at a rate of 30fps and also lacks detail in its recordings.
Browsing the internet on the Sony Ericsson was a smooth ride as we had a very good browser. Adding to that, the good processing speeds onboard allowed for quick scrolling and panning. You also get support for Flash and since you don’t have to click on the screen but rather use the QWERTY keyboard, the 3.7 inch screen looks just about the right size. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, DLNA and FM Radio.
Moving on to the voice quality of the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, we got some clear and loud voices on both ends. This was in part thanks to the noise cancelling mics that filtered out background noise well. The battery is also capable of powering your phone for a whole day if you are an average user. However, rated at a talk time of about 7 hours in 3G mode, this was definitely below average.
Pros and Cons
The camera was a major downer and some of the keys were too small.
Buy Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro – Black