Preview: Sony Ericsson Xperia arc

Launch SRP: S$888

Preview: Sony Ericsson Xperia arc

Meet the Arc

The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc is the latest addition to an Android overarching series that first started out with the flagship Xperia X10, a high-end smartphone that has unfortunately gotten flak for coming with the Android 1.6 OS in a period where most phones were retrofitted with the then latest 2.1 OS. Looks like they learnt their lesson as this time round, the Xperia arc is now one of the first few phones announced with the latest Android "Gingerbread" 2.3 OS following the Google Nexus S. While it pays to be at the top of OS food chain, Sony Ericsson has also paid extra attention to the needs of an increasingly fashion-seeking crowd.  Let’s take a quick look at the impossibly svelte and aptly-named Sony Ericsson Xperia arc via our mini video walk through of the phone for a more visual take, followed by our pictorial. 

If you look carefully at the back of the phone, you will notice that the arc stands out from most smartphones because of its thin and uniquely curved profile. From left to right: camera button, volume controls and micro USB port.

The arc is slightly thicker than a pencil, and stands at a mere 8.7mm thick, roughly 5mm thinner than the X10, and definitely thinner than most of the other Android phones out there. It is also lighter as well, tipping the scales at just 117g. 

 The phone also comes with a HDMI video output on the top that’s protected by a small cap, allowing users to easily share their multimedia content on their TV.

 Situated at the back, the 8.1-megapixel camera comes with a f/2.4 lens and a LED flash. It also features autofocus, LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection capabilities and most importantly, supports 720p video capture.

 While the Android 2.3 OS hasn't featured any dramatic changes from the current Android 2.2 OS, there are some subtle differences that streamline the user experience.  For one, the Application settings now has a more comprehensive overview of how the battery is being used, with details of usage by each app or component. Nifty!

So far, we have not really spotted any incremental differences on the arc's user interface compared to the older Xperia X10 or X8 phones, but the good news is that the social-network friendly Timescape UI makes a reappearance here. The user experience is very smooth thus far, even better than what we have experienced on the other Xperia handsets. 

As gleamed from the above photos, you can probably see that the arc comes with a rather huge screen. Well, it does - the smartphone comes with a big 4.2-inch, 854 x 480 pixels multi-touch Reality Display with the Mobile BRAVIA engine enhancing the display. We realized that the LED-backlit LCD lives up to its Reality Display moniker, boasting richer and brighter color display than its predecessors with good viewing angles under bright light.

Looking impressive.

From first impressions, we feel that the Xperia arc will be a good mix of a serious business handset and a multimedia-centric smartphone. Why so? From its brilliant and bright 4.2-inch screen, to its HDMI output and high-end 8.1-megapixel camera, the arc should easily satisfy your video and photo needs. In essence, a good multimedia phone. For those interested in getting a piece of this beauty, the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc will be available globally in selected markets, including Japan, from this quarter in two colors - Midnight Blue and Misty Silver. The price has not been announced yet, so keep your eyes on HardwareZone for more details.

The Good
Thin and light build
Unique 'arc' design
4.2-inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine
Snappy and capable 8.1-megapixel camera with f/2.4 lens
The Bad
Small and impractical physical buttons
Needs to be handled with care