Yup, another geeky review I’m afraid.
For years I’ve been an Apple-only type of person. Never had a Windows based PC in my life (not privately, but a lot of them at work, which only reinforced my total dislike for them), always Mac computers. I had the original iPod, and back in 2009 I got my first iPhone. I had several iterations after that, and a bunch of units, deadly accidents tending to happen to my phones (smashed to pieces THEN drowned by a horse, fallen in the toilet for an entire night, that kind of things…).
Lately I decided I was a bit fed up with the iTunes synch scheme for transfering data, and having come to terms with the Android run tablet I bought for my kid, I thought hell, why not try a quality Android phone. The Samsungs were out of the equation as I hated the Galaxy SII I tried 2 years ago with a passion. Being a faithful and satisfied (one generally generating the other, lol) Sony camera customer, I decided to give the Xperia phones a go.
I’ll say it up front, the line up is ridiculous. There are SO many darn models out there it takes serious research to nail down which would not only be suited, but also represent best value. Apple had it a little extreme with only one model (though this is a thing of the past with the new iPhone C), but Sony has gone totally overboard issueing Xperia phones like newspapers : pretty much one a day. That’s nuts.
I wanted a mid range handset, so I narrowed (thanks Tracy !) my choice down to the Xperia S. Handsome, large but not too large, gorgeous screen, sober Sony Android layer, great reviews, decent price tag, and a 32Go onboard memory, that sounded pretty good.
I got the phone and immediately had issues with it. First, it was just a hair to narrow for its length, meaning typing on the keypad resulted in more typos than properly spelled words, it drove me mental. I could text at light speed with my iPhone, so that was a BIG issue. The next one was even bigger. The main appeal of non iOS cameras for most folks is the ability to use the phone as an external drive, and transfer content freely and easily without the need to “synch” of go thru an iTunes like program. Well, forget that if you’re using an Apple computer !! The S would make me jump through hoops to transfer content, using yet another synchronizing program that was, Heaven forbid, even WORSE than the iTunes process !! Talk about a terrible idea. The phone went right back.
But the seed had been planted. The Sony phones are really beautiful, sleek and very sober, screens are large and beautiful and sound is, well… Sony (great). So I put the problem back in the hands of my friend Tracy’s hands again, and she came up with the solution : to find a similar phone with a Micro SD slot. Just copy your multimedia content to the card. Insert card in phone. Problem solved.
Enters, the Xperia SP. I won’t keep the suspens : I loved it at once. Perfect size. I always found the iPhone was on the smallish side, and the Samsung Note is ridiculously oversized. The SP is *just* right. Gorilla glass beautiful screen. Watching pictures, videos, or reading (I’m an avid Kindle user) is a joy on this unit. Android remains Android, which remains an unecessarily complicated and counter intuitive affair, but the Sony overlay is sober and clean enough that I’m able to live with that. And it’s ever so slightly wider than the S, so I never had the typos issue when texting, which I now do by swiping and is friggin awesome.
Operational speed is excellent, everything is very fluid. Retrieving emails is noticeably slower than on my iPhone, but I can deal with that as well. Overall I’m extremely pleased with the handset and plan on keeping it for a long time. I even haven’t mentioned the price here, 325€ at Amazon.fr + 20 for the 32Go extra Micro SD card I had to add, but truly the mid range tag doesn’t apply to this model, it’s pretty much a high end smartphone disguised as an affordable one. Way to go Sony. Now just try to keep it in existence for a bit 😉