Sony Ericsson Xperia Play by Verizon Wireless is the first Android gaming smartphone and it is PlayStation certified. The smartphone has a slide out gamepad and has some preloaded popular games that include Asphalt 6 and Crash Bandicoot. The smartphone is not the part of PlayStation network provided by Sony and that means you have to buy the PlayStation games for this new device. Xperia Play is running on the latest Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread, has 1 GHz snapdragon processor and has support for 3G data speed. The smartphone is indeed a great addition in the world of mobile gaming.
The first look of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is similar to most of the Android smartphones. The smartphone has the 4 inch capacitive touchscreen with Multi-touch, Light sensor and Proximity sensor. The display technology is TFT and has resolution FWVGA 480×854 pixels. Display of the smartphone is really good with support for 16 million colors that give really great graphics and hence the gaming experience. Form Factor of Xperia Play is Side-Slider. The smartphone is 4.69 inches tall, 2.44 inches wide and 0.63 inches thick with weight 6.17 ounces. The smartphone is indeed large and heavy especially because of the hidden slide-out gamepad.
The gamepad is of matt silver color and has similar look of Sony’s DualShock controller. The left side of the gamepad has D-pad with Menu button at the bottom. Right side has the face buttons Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross with Select and Start buttons at the bottom. The middle of the gamepad has two circles that are touch sensitive and are there to function in place of the heavy joysticks. The touch sensitive circles are not very responsive especially for playing games that require precise and rapid movements. Overall with D-pad and face buttons one can easily play the games.
Below the display are present four regular physical buttons for Back, Home, Menu and Search. Top of the smartphone has the power button along with an LED for notification. The right spine of the smartphone has the volume control buttons with left and right shoulder buttons. The left spine of the smartphone has a microUSB port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Above the display is present a front-facing VGA Camera. Another rear-facing MP Camera is present at the back of the smartphone along with an LED flash light. Slot for microSD card is present beneath the battery cover of the smartphone.
Xperia Play is running on Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread and that means it has all the enhancements regarding user interface. For Android game developers, the OS does provide API support for controls of gamepad. In order to play the games you have to launch the Xperia Play app first which starts automatically on sliding out the gamepad and provides you with the list of games installed on the smartphone. The preloaded games include Asphalt 6, The Sims3, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Crash Bandicoot, Madden NFL 11 and Start Battalion.
Moreover, the regular smartphone features include support for SMS, MMS and Email. The smartphone has Internet Browsing with support for HTML, Flash and Flash Lite. It has default support for online services such as Facebook and Twitter. Xperia Play has Music Player with support for MP3, AAC, WAV and AMR formats, Video Playback with support for MPEG4 format, provides audio/video streaming and has YouTube player.
Organizer of the smartphone has the regular utility applications that include Calendar, Alarm, Calculator and World Clock. Phonebook capacity depends on the system memory. There are memory expansion slots available of type microSD and microSDHC. Maximum memory card size that is supported is of 32 GB. The smartphone has the internal memory of 400 MB.
Xperia Play has support for location based services of type A-GPS with navigation. Regarding connectivity the smartphone has Bluetooth, WiFi and microUSB. DLNA and Tethering is supported. Other features include Voice recording, an additional microphone for noise cancellation, Accelerometer, TTY/TDD and hearing aid compatibility M4 and T4.
The smartphone has rear-facing 5MP Camera with LED flash and with Auto focus, Image stabilizer and Geo tagging features. Video Capture is supported of 800×480 pixels 30 fps with Video light. There is also an additional front-facing Camera of 0.3 MP VGA and thus has video calling support.
Regarding performance the call quality of the Xperia Play is just alright but it is not perfect. The voice sometimes feels bit blurry but one can easily understand the conversation. Moreover, the smartphone runs on single core, Qualcomm Snapdragon II 1000 MHz processor with 512 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM. Though the processor is single core but still the performance of the smartphone is really good and is speedy. The applications on the smartphone launch smoothly and quickly without any delay and also multitasking between the applications is smooth.
Xperia Play is powered by Lithium ion 1500 mAh battery that provides average talk time of about 7 hours and stand-by time of 19 days. With gaming the battery provides 5.58 hours and with music playback it provides 30.58 hours.
For mobile gamers the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the right choice because the gamepad do provide the nice gaming experience except the circular buttons in place of joysticks are not quite efficient and responsive. But those who want high end smartphone features with 4G data speed should consider other options.