Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray - A Small Glimpse of Light

Launch SRP: S$598

Overview & Design

A Ray of Light

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray stands out in a crowd of gargantuan smartphones like a ray of hope for those who want unrivaled hardware performance and yet, appreciate the form factor of feature phones. Most importantly, the Xperia Ray has all the ingredients that made the Arc attractive - an 8.1-megapixel camera, a display powered by the Mobile Bravia engine, Google's latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, and a single-core 1GHz processor.

The only difference is that all these positive attributes are crammed into a tiny, stylish and handy body. So how's the Ray like exactly? We covered the design philosophy behind the Xperia Ray extensively while we were in Tokyo quite a while back, but to give readers a gist of what's going on in this teeny phone, do read on for our further observations.
 

The Ray is only 9.4mm thin; its narrow but sturdy aluminum build makes for easy handling. 

The Xperia Ray is nothing short of a beauty. Chic, thin and minimalist in design, the phone sets out to attract customers who are looking to make the transition from feature phones to smartphones - not to mention it has a strong appeal to those of the fairer sex. Clearly, its form factor is also made with the intention for single-handed usage. As compact as it may be, the elongated phone gives it an odd proportion that makes it a tad too small for our liking. Nonetheless, it boasts of a solid and sturdy aluminum/plastic chassis. To top it off, the Ray spots a clear black glass front when it is switched off or on standby.

The Ray spots a clear black glass front when it is switched off or on standby. Like the Arc/Arc S and the new Mini series, the mobile device is packed with the Mobile Bravia Engine to enhance its display. The Home button is a little too stiff and flat for our liking, but it's a fault that we can live with. It is surrounded by a thin illuminated strip that doubles up as both charge and notification indicator.

A bare-bodied USB port sits on the top left side of the phone.

The syndrome of the small buttons:  the volume controls on the right side are much too minute for comfort. Note the slant that goes through the middle of the phone - the Ray's namesake comes from this unique design.

The power button sits squarely in the middle on the top and exhibits good feedback. It is unobtrusive but yet easy and comfortable to press. Beside it rests a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The back cover is easy to pry open; simply lift it up from the small opening at the bottom of the phone. The usual suspects are found here: compartments for the battery, microSD and SIM cards. Unfortunately, you can't swap either card out without removing the battery first.

8.5
Design
8.5
Features
8
User-Friendliness
8.5
Performance
8
Value
8.5
The Good
Unique and classy "Ray" design
Snappy overall performance
Capable 8.1-megapixel camera with f/2.4 lens
The Bad
Average battery performance
No camera shortcut button