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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - It's Playtime!
By Seow Tein Hee - 6 May 2011
Launch SRP: S$888


Setting the Gameplay Benchmark

The Xperia Play is first and foremost a Google Android 2.3 smartphone. And that means we'll be subjecting it to the routine benchmarks that were recently adopted. Our focus is upon the Xperia Play's CPU and GPU performance, given how it is supposed to support resource intensive gaming apps. For that, we put the Xperia Play through two specific benchmarks which are available for download on the Android Market - NeoCore and Quadrant.

  • The first benchmark is Quadrant, which measures the device's performance based on its CPU, I/O and GPU. Simply put, Quadrant is a benchmark that gives you a general idea of how your device performs against other Android devices.
  • The second benchmark is NeoCore, targeting the device's GPU performance. This is especially important for the Xperia Play and its role as a full-time Android gaming smartphone.

Our usual disclaimer still holds true - these benchmarks should give an approximation of the overall performance but each user is unique in his or her handling of the device, and as such, the individual performance may vary. However, this does give you a median look at how the Xperia Play performs. Our tests were conducted on devices from a fresh reboot, on a stock firmware, compared against the following Android devices with similar specifications - Samsung Nexus S, HTC Incredible S, and the LG Optimus 2X.

Device Sony Ericsson Xperia Play LG Optimus 2X Samsung Nexus S HTC Incredible S
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Hummingbird 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 1GHz
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 205 ULP GeForce PowerVR SGX540 Qualcomm Adreno 205
RAM 512MB 512MB 512MB 768MB
OS Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.2 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.2

The benchmark numbers revealed a few interesting results, and we'll start with the Quadrant scores. The LG Optimus 2X, with its dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU, is undoubtedly leading the pack. It is included as a reference for the performance gap between single-core and dual-core processors, which begs the question as to why Sony Ericsson didn't include such dual-core technology on the gaming-centric Xperia Play. Perhaps, time constraints and pre-planning played a role, but hopefully, we might see an upgraded Xperia Play with stronger hardware specifications next year.

With regards to both the Nexus S and Incredible S, the Xperia Play shares similar specifications to these two single-core devices. On the NeoCore scores, the Xperia Play has a slight advantage, but falls short on Quadrant. Remember, Quadrant is an overall benchmark, which covers memory performance. In this aspect, it's not surprising to see the Incredible S getting a better score thanks to its higher 768MB RAM, while the Nexus S has shown that its Hummingbird processor performs slightly better than Qualcomm's next generation MSM8255 processor.

Putting the numbers aside, the Xperia Play was also subjected to the usual routine, with more emphasis placed on its gaming performance. Browser speeds, apps switching and interface navigation returned smooth transitions. When we got too ambitious with the apps loading, the Xperia Play had a few moments of sluggishness.

Gaming-wise, you would find it quite adequately powered for PlayStation One games. You have to remember that such games, for its time, had graphics and gameplay that were relatively dated, and required much less processing power to perform smoothly. Rather, it is the new wave of Android games that could be the benchmark for the Xperia Play.

This was aptly seen through games such as Asphalt 6 and Galaxy on Fire 2, which taps into the full potential of the Xperia Play's hardware. And we are glad to say that the Xperia Play handled both games well.

  • Design 7
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 8
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Dedicated gaming controls
Smooth gaming experience
Game content from Android and Sony
The Bad
Bulky frame, heavy weight
Unresponsive analog touch pads
Constant gaming equates power drain
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