Expert Review of Sony Ericsson Xperia active
“I adapt to survive” should rightly be the tagline of Sony Ericsson Xperia Active. Flick it, drag it, drop it, wet it, the phone is going to survive it all with ease. Rather than being elegant and “handle with care” product like normal smartphone, this device is husky and rugged and comes along with BRAVIA Reality display and exchangeable covers. But this IP67 is not just all muscle and not elegance, that would be just wrong. Xperia active looks like a tiny cute funky little phone- like a flamboyant twin of Xperia Mini. This phone can slide in easily into even a skin tight denim. The IP67-certified Xperia active is supposed to withstand water immersion in up to a meter for as long as half an hour. The key features of this device include Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support, 3G with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA, 3.0" 16M-color LED-backlit LCD capacitive touchscreen of HVGA resolution (320 x 480 pixels) at around 192 ppi, Bravia Mobile engine, Dust and water resistant, wet-finger tracking, Dual back cover design for increased protection, Arm case and wrist strap in the bundle, Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread, 1 GHz MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, 512 MB RAM, 5 MP autofocus camera, single LED flashlight, Geo-tagging, image stabilization, smile detection, touch focus, 720p video @ 30fps, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality and DLNA, GPS with A-GPS, Wisepilot navigation, microSD slot (32GB supported, 2GB card included), Accelerometer and proximity sensor, notification LED, Standard 3.5 mm audio jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, TrackID music recognition, Relevant package of apps , MicroUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1, Adobe Flash 10.3 support and a 1200mAh Li-ion battery.
User Interface and UI functionality
In Sony Ericsson Xperia Active one has five windows to fill with widgets, shortcuts or folders, the corners drawers as always are visible on the entire screen except when the widget is too big when it hides in the top 2 corners. The overview mode on the homescreen is nothing short of impressive. Once you zoom out any of the 5 homescreen panes and out comes a cool transition effect embedded single pane containing all the 5 widgets. Unavailability of space leads to all the panes overlapping. The timespace widget is an impressive addition in the device, an improved one, the Timescape brings all your communications together: an aggregate view of your SMS, MMS, email, call log, Facebook and Twitter updates. You can easily filter the contents by type and get all relevant information in one place. With Timescape you not only see the latest activities and updates of your contacts but also share your own status, reply to received messages or return a missed call.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Active makes use of a traditional droid Gallery, which has not been altered in Gingerbread. The working is good, 3D effects look awesome, but the one flaw, the first of the review spotted is that unfortunately the gallery only gives a downsized version of the image. The different albums and folders appear as piles of photos, which fall in neat grids once selected. If you have online albums over at Picasa those show up as separate stacks as well. Alternatively, your photos can be sorted by date with the help of a button in the top right corner, which switches between grid and timeline view. Sharing the photos can also be done via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS. There is nothing fancy about the Video player however, and which is in all senses logical because playing video is all that matters. But the phone disappoints here too as it supports only 3GP and MP4 movies. Just a positive is that the device did play a 720p movie. The 3” HVGA Reality screen isn't really a movie watching screen but still it is better than nothing. The music player on the Xperia active is just plain attractive. The interface is laid out in four tabs for the available sorting options: all artists, all tracks, playlists and albums.
Pictures and Video quality
Sony Ericsson Xperia Active flaunts a 5 MP camera with single LED flash. The user interface of the Xperia active's camera is somewhat sensitive. You have a bar with five shortcuts to popular features on the right, a bar with the latest captured images on the left and still camera/camcorder switch at the bottom. HD video recording is the buzz in the phone and camera world these days and amazingly Sony Xperia Active does 720p recording at 30 frames per second. Sony Xperia Arc’s camcorder joins the select few with continuous autofocus.
The then fastest and latest UI version supports Sony Ericcson Xperia Active, 2.3.2 Gingerbread, which is the phone’s web browser, excels fantastically. Another positive is Flash 10.1 support. The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first sight. Once the page loads, all you see is the URL bar and the bookmark button on a line at the top of the screen. Once you zoom in and pan around though even that line disappears.
Internal and External Memory
1 GB Internal memory is provided in Sony Ericsson Xperia Active, No! No! Don’t get too excited! Only 320 MB is available to user which is a drawback. 2 GB included microSD card comes with the box of this device and the total memory is expandable upto 32GB. The device also flaunts 512 MB RAM.
Applications and Gaming
Sony Ericsson Xperia Active works on Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread and almost all the applications available on Android market (now Google Play) work in the device.
The device works on a simple standard Li-Ion 1200mAh battery which can run upto 351 hours in 2G and 335 hrs in 3G, when talking about talktime the device works upto 4h 53 min in 2G and 5hours 31 min in 3G. The music play can last upto 25 hours.
Nothing specific is actually missing from the pack of connectivity options provided with a full connectivity options which are quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps and upload at 5.76 Mbps. For local data transfer options like Wi-Fi (b/g/n), USB v2.0 and Bluetooth 2.1 are provided.
The Xperia active seems to fit comfortably between a Samsung Galaxy S5690 Xcover and a Motorola Defy+. And being the smallest of the bunch isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some other competitors of this device are HTC Wildfire S and Sony’s own Live Walkman.