Sony Xperia T
The Sony Xperia T is the Japanese gadget giant’s latest flagship smartphone, and the direct heir to the Xperia S’ throne. This time round though, it’s packing a larger 4.55-inch HD screen, and resurrects the curved stylings of last year’s Arc phones. It’s running Android 4.0 out of the box, and is fuelled by a nippy dual-core 1.5GHz processor; around the back there’s a beast of a 13 megapixel camera. But is it enough to kick it with the latest efforts from Apple, Samsung and HTC?
The Sony Xperia T is one of the very best smartphones out there for multimedia. Its HD screen is huge and absolutely gorgeous, with wide viewing angles and bright colours: it also takes up most of the entire front face of the phone as Sony’s sensibly worked the Android navigation buttons into the display, as Samsung did with the hit Galaxy Nexus phone.
Its 13 megapixel camera is no slouch either, and while it may not hold up quite as well in low light as the snapper on the iPhone 5, it holds its own thanks to a convenient, dedicated shutter button you can press to launch the app and focus too.
Yes, the version the Sony Xperia T runs is last year’s Android 4.0 rather than this year’s 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, but the company says an update is coming, and it has one of the best track records for providing Android upgrades of any phone peddler - so we wouldn’t worry too much about that.
Sony’s take on Android 4.0 also has some neat little flourishes, best of which are its “Small Apps”, desktop like widgets you can place on the multitasking screen. It’s a really handy way to make quick notes or do sums on a calculator, and something we’d like to see other developers take advantage of.
While the Sony Xperia T sports one of the absolute finest displays you can find anywhere on the planet right now, it’s let down by a rather uninspiring casing otherwise: the 9.4mm profile is rather chunky (particularly disappointing when the battery doesn’t last quite as long as rivals) and the matte finish picks up fingerprints like a crime scene investigator. And like the Xperia S before it, leaves you with the impression that you’re holding an unfinished prototype.
Sony has a strange attitude towards open source Android: on the one hand, it realises that it’s best to tinker with it as little as possible since Google got its design act together. On the other, it’s perfectly happy to stuff its phones full of software you don’t need and worse, can’t delete, just for a quick buck.
The Sony Xperia T here is a case in point: you’ll find apps that duplicate ones Google already provides (Video Unlimited, Wisepoint for navigation), as well as shortcuts to apps that aren’t even installed, clogging up your menu. And you will never be able to remove them. That’s tough to swallow when Apple and Android rivals don’t play this game with third party bloatware.