Hands-on: Sony Xperia P

Hands-on: Xperia P

Hands-on: Xperia P

The new range of Xperia NXT smartphones has finally been unveiled with the new Xperia P and Xperia U rounding up the trio of Sony's next gen smartphones. We first saw the flagship Xperia S at CES and even sampled its SmartTag and DLNA capabilities earlier this year - the two phones round up the rest of the intended demographics that Sony seems to be targeting at. For starters, the Xperia P clearly stands between the S and the U in terms of positioning, in terms of specs and features. One noticeable difference is that the Xperia P is equipped with a 4-inch Reality Display, which sits in between the Xperia U's 3.5-inch display and the 4.3-inch screen on the Xperia S. 

The important overarching theme however, is the emphasis on content sharing and NFC connectivity; all phones allow access to Sony Entertainment Network via two services called Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited (subject to availability by region).

Here's the key highlights of the Xperia P, followed by a video demonstration of the Xperia smartphone.

Sony Xperia P 

  Key highlights of the Sony Xperia P

  • Android 2.3 (Upgradable to Android 4.0 ICS during Q2 2012)
  • 4-inch qHD Reality Display with Sony WhiteMagic Technology
  • STE U8500 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 16GB Internal Storage
  • 8-megapixel camera / 8x digital zoom / 3D Sweep Panorama
  • NFC / HDMI / Wi-Fi / DLNA
  • 1305 mAh battery
  • 120g
  • 122 x 59.5 x 10.5 mm
  • Silver, Black, Red
  • Availability: Q2 2012   

The Xperia P comes with a 4-inch touchscreen and looks eerily like the Xperia S, save for the obvious difference in screen sizes. The Xperia P comes dressed in an aluminium brushed unibody chassis, which adds not only class to its overall design but also sturdiness and durability.  

All phones in the Xperia NXT line come with a thin plastic band that acts as an indicator for their touch sensitive controls.

The WhiteMagic technology makes the screen less impervious to bright sunlight, as seen from the demonstration. The screen will automatically turn dimmer to conserve battery life when it's in dimmer areas while maintaining a suitable level of brightness for optimal viewing.

Buttons are a tad thin for our liking but they are well constructed and relatively easy to press. The functional buttons are all nicely lined up on the right side of the phone: from left to right, camera/shutter button, volume controls and power on/lock screen button.

 On the other side, we get a closely placed pair of HDMI and USB ports and a SIM slot. The battery's not removable so that might be an issue of contention for some.

The Xperia P is the only phone out of the three that can work with the SmartDock accessory. To connect it to the accessory, simply position it to fit both micro-USB and HDMI ports in the smartphone.

Once docked and linked up to a Sony TV, the Xperia P will switch to a more favorable TV-friendly user interface for simpler navigation when you do so via the remote control. As the SmartDock comes with USB support, you can easily hook up an additional device, say a mouse, alongside a wireless keyboard to surf the net right on your TV.

Overall, the Xperia P feels like a multimedia-centric variant of its cousin, especially with its WhiteMagic technology and SmartDock compatibility. The phones in the NXT range look almost identical to each other in terms of design and construction (save for the screen size) and we have to say that the Xperia P looks and feels as polished as its flagship cousin, the Xperia S. The device is light at 120g and pretty thin at less than 11mm thick, which proved to be an easy and natural fit in our hands.

The Sony Xperia P will be available in black, silver and red at its launch. Global availability is said to start from Q2 2012 onwards although details on its price has not been revealed yet. Most certainly, it will be priced at a lower price point than the Xperia S and higher than the Xperia U.