Today at IFA Berlin, Sony took the wraps off its new line-up of Xperia smartphones, all of which are designed to work better with other Sony products when it comes to sharing content or even attaching accessories. The three phones include the high-end Xperia T, the mid-range Xperia V and the budget-oriented Xperia J. We had a chance to spend a little quality time with the Xperia T and V models at Sony's booth and were intrigued by their sense of style, attractive screens and special features.
Sony Xperia T
The Xperia T sports a large 4.6-inch, 720p "reality" display which, in our brief hands-on, looked absolutely gorgeous and sharp, particularly when we flipped through photos in the gallery or tried playing a trailer for the cartoon movie "Surf's Up." The screen will come particularly in handy when used to view photos captured on the phone's 13-MP camera.
The camera not only has more megapixels than most high-end smartphones, but also offers a pulsed LED flash and 16x digital zoom. We weren't able to test picture quality during our hands-on, but we did test shooting speed. Sony claims that the camera will shoot photos in an instant and, though the Xperia T snapped an image in a short period of time, it did not seem as fast as the blazing fast HTC One X.
At 5.1 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches and just 4.8 ounces, the Xperia T certainly doesn't look or feel bulky in the hand. Its attractive all-back arc shaped chassis oozes style, but we have to wonder about what kind of battery lies inside. Sony didn't mention the battery capacity but does cite a talk time of 7 hours and video playback time of 5 hours for the Xperia T. Hopefully this phone will fare at least as well as the 5-hour and 58-minute Xperia ion we reviewed a few months ago.
Our favorite new feature of the Xperia T is its ability to immediately pair with other Sony devices via NFC. On its display table, Sony showed a speaker and a set of headphones which, when tapped against the Xperia, will immediately accept its audio. So if you're listening to a song on the phone and tap it to the headphones, the song just continues on the headphones. The Xperia V and J also have this feature.
In terms of some specs, the Xperia T is a bit behind the competition as it sports just a dual-core processor -- the 1.5-GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 CPU -- and runs Sony's skin on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich instead of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, the real measure of this phone will be its media playback, its performance on games, its camera quality and its ability to integrate with other Sony devices. We look forward to reviewing it.
Sony Xperia V
The 4.3-inch Xperia V may have a slightly smaller screen, but it shares the same camera, software and dual-core 1.5-GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 processor as the T, while adding LTE support and water resistance. Unfortunately, we didn't have a bucket of water handy to test Sony's claims and the devices on display were not connected to LTE.
We were able to surf around the Sony-skinned Android 4.0 OS and launch a few of Sony's apps, including the Walkman app and the Gallery app, both of which provide particularly attractive interfaces. When we played a video trailer for "Skyfall" on the Xperia V, the image was sharp, colorful and smooth but not quite as attractive as the images we saw on the Xperia T's 4.6-inch display.
There's no word on pricing or availability for either the Xperia T or the Xperia V, but even though Sony touts the Xperia T as its new flagship phone, the V might actually be a more compelling choice because of its LTE support and durability. We look forward to testing both Xperias and seeing how they stack up to each other and to other high-end smartphones.