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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play review

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING



7.5/10
Informr score
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play currently has an Informr score of 7.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 27 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY puts a gaming twist on the standard smartphone model. The phone features a full PSP-like gamepad that slides out from underneath the phone's 4 inch, LED backlit 480 x 854 TFT LCD screen that features capacitive multi-touch capabilities. The phone also includes built-in stereo speakers that put out impressive volume and sound quality despite their small size.

Powering the Xperia PLAY is a 1 GHz Scorpion processor paired with 512 MB of RAM. The phone has only 400 MB of internal flash storage which can be expanded via the external microSD memory card slot. The phone includes a free 8 GB memory card.

While marketed as a hybrid gaming device, the Xperia PLAY isn't lacking in many of the core features you would expect to find on a smartphone, including GPS navigation, integrated Bluetooth capabilities, and WiFi b/g/n connectivity. Due to its design, the phone is a bit bulkier and heavier than the average smartphone, weighing in around 175 grams; however, it is by no means unwieldy.

The Xperia PLAY's rear-facing 5 megapixel camera features autofocus technology coupled with a bright LED flash for crisp and detailed pictures even in low-light settings. Unlike most other smartphones, it does not record in full 720P HD, as the phone's video capture resolution maxes out at 800 x 480; however, an update is rumored to be in the works to remedy this. An 0.3 MP front-facing camera allows for video phone calls to be made with other compatible devices.

All in all, the Xperia PLAY successfully bridges the gap between portable gaming devices and smartphones. A full range of titles specifically designed for the phone are available for purchase, and deals with multiple content partners ensure that new material will be released for the phone and its future successors.

Need to know: Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY

1. Unique hybrid smartphone-gaming design, featuring a slide-out game pad, is appealing to gadget geeks and gamers alike, and a wide variety of games are available for the phone. (The Good)

2. Slightly less responsive screen with lower color contrast than the Super AMOLED screens on some of the competition. While it is an improvement over the PSP's screen, it could have been far better. (The Bad)

3. While the hardware is capable of 720p video capture, the software does not support it at this time. (The Bad)

4. A measly 400 MB of internal memory, making it fully dependent on external memory cards. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
4"
Camera
5+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


GSMArena

The first thing for Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play to worry about is filling up its game store with exclusive content – and quick. But even if it fails in that it, will have accomplished something. For one, it proves people wrong who thought the gamephone went extinct with N-gage.Secondly, it&rsquo...

- GSMArena Team, GSMArena
Top Ten Reviews

The Xperia Play breaks some new ground in the world of multimedia cell phones and certainly is a game changer for consumers who are particularly interested in gaming on their phones. It's cutting edge in most regards but makes a few performance compromises that – although they'll likely not be much...

- Top Ten Reviews Team, Top Ten Reviews
PhoneArena

Gaming enthusiast will no doubt love the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY 4G as it’s a suitable gaming device that intricately presents us with a fantastic gaming experience. Add the lovable elements of any Android smartphone, we essentially have something that’ll keep us preoccupied during som...

- John V., PhoneArena
Techsmart

The SE Xperia Play is a really capable smartphone and delivers an improved mobile gaming experience thanks to its dedicated controls. According to SE its Xperia Play is a phone first and portable gaming device second, but you’ll still be able to replace your old smartphone as well as a PSP with just...

- Hanleigh Daniels, Techsmart
Digital Versus

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is THE cameraphone to have right now. If you're looking for a reasonably-sized smartphone with a great camera, then this is the one for you. It's responsive and has a great interface, so it's just a shame that the exterior could do with a little extra attention.

- Florence Legrand , Digital Versus


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Sony released the Ericsson Xperia Play on March 26, 2010.


Sony Ericsson Xperia Play prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Sony's suggested retail price is $349.99. You can compare Ericsson Xperia Play prices from around the web here on The Informr.



Sony backs up the Ericsson Xperia Play with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Ericsson Xperia Play has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Sony support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Sony's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
4"

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play's screen size is 4 inches with x pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a Qualcomm MSM8255 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

Camera
5+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 5+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera useful for video chat and self portraits.

Storage
400 MB

Internal memory is 400 MB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
1500mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1500 mAh battery. Sony's performance ratings are 17.5 days standby time, 505 minutes.

Ericsson Xperia Play Specs

Overview
Release date March 26, 2010
Regions available USA
Mobile / Cellular Data
variations
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
900/2100 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA 7.2, HSUPA
variations
SIM card size
Yes
variations
Dual SIM No
Operating System No

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm MSM8255 1 GHz
Internal Storage 400 MB
RAM 512 MB
ROM 512 MB
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.32 W/kg
Body: 1.4 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Headset, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1500 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 505 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 17.5 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Slider
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Colors Black, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 11.9 x 6.2 x 1.6 cm (4.7 x 2.4 x 0.6 in)
Weight 175 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 4 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features -
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type D-pad, Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups No
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 2.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications Yes
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
5+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
No
Flash
Yes
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Geotagging, Image stabilization, White balance
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
720 x 480 pixels
Front Camera
Zoom
Unknown
Additional Front Camera Info
VGA
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, AAC
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types DOC, DOCX, GIF, HTML, JPG, PPT, PPTX, RTF, TXT, XLS
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps No
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Yes
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed ()
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Sony Ericsson Zeus, Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone, Sony Ericsson R800i

8GB MicroSD Card included.
Device has gaming buttons which are available behind the screen and simply slide out to offer landscape mode gaming opportunities.
Upgrade to Android OS 2.3.3 available.
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Reviews
Where to buy Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
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Critic Reviews


GSMArena

Half smartphone, half-PSP Go and it’s got the gamepad to prove it

The first thing for Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play to worry about is filling up its game store with exclusive content – and quick. But even if it fails in that it, will have accomplished something. For one, it proves people wrong who thought the gamephone went extinct with N-gage.
Secondly,...More

The first thing for Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play to worry about is filling up its game store with exclusive content – and quick. But even if it fails in that it, will have accomplished something. For one, it proves people wrong who thought the gamephone went extinct with N-gage.
Secondly, it’s the first thing in a long time to really question touchscreen as the only direction worth heading towards. And who knows – if the industry has caught the gaming bug for real, the next thing to expect is perhaps a better second try at motion based gaming.

Read full review

Less

Top Ten Reviews

The best gaming phone available, but it has some shortfalls in other aspects of phone functionality

from Top Ten Reviews

The Xperia Play breaks some new ground in the world of multimedia cell phones and certainly is a game changer for consumers who are particularly interested in gaming on their phones. It's cutting edge in most regards but makes a few performance compromises that – although they'll likely not be...More

The Xperia Play breaks some new ground in the world of multimedia cell phones and certainly is a game changer for consumers who are particularly interested in gaming on their phones. It's cutting edge in most regards but makes a few performance compromises that – although they'll likely not be much of an issue right now – could become problematic in a reasonably short time as faster processors and 4G networking become more prominent. Overall, the Play is the name of the game among game-oriented cell phones.

Read full review

Less

PhoneArena

Great gaming experience

from PhoneArena

Gaming enthusiast will no doubt love the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY 4G as it’s a suitable gaming device that intricately presents us with a fantastic gaming experience. Add the lovable elements of any Android smartphone, we essentially have something that’ll keep us preoccupied during...More

Gaming enthusiast will no doubt love the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY 4G as it’s a suitable gaming device that intricately presents us with a fantastic gaming experience. Add the lovable elements of any Android smartphone, we essentially have something that’ll keep us preoccupied during some down time. However, the best thing going for the handset is the $49.99 on-contract price it’s flaunting, which packs a lot of value for the buck. Sure it’s classified as a mid-range device nowadays, but it’s able to work well while offering a satisfying gaming experience.

Read full review

Less

Techsmart

Excellent display, game controls work great, a bit bulky

from Techsmart

The SE Xperia Play is a really capable smartphone and delivers an improved mobile gaming experience thanks to its dedicated controls. According to SE its Xperia Play is a phone first and portable gaming device second, but you’ll still be able to replace your old smartphone as well as a PSP with...More

The SE Xperia Play is a really capable smartphone and delivers an improved mobile gaming experience thanks to its dedicated controls. According to SE its Xperia Play is a phone first and portable gaming device second, but you’ll still be able to replace your old smartphone as well as a PSP with just one device. This privilege comes at a pricey R6000 though.

Read full review

Less

Digital Versus

A reasonably-sized smartphone with a great camera

from Digital Versus

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is THE cameraphone to have right now. If you're looking for a reasonably-sized smartphone with a great camera, then this is the one for you. It's responsive and has a great interface, so it's just a shame that the exterior could do with a little extra attention.

Read full review

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is THE cameraphone to have right now. If you're looking for a reasonably-sized smartphone with a great camera, then this is the one for you. It's responsive and has a great interface, so it's just a shame that the exterior could do with a little extra attention.

Read full review

Less

Android Central

It's nothing more than a phone and a gamepad

from Android Central

I've been gaming all my life on all types of hardware. And when rumors of a PlayStation phone started hitting the web, I got really excited over the possibilities. The concept wasn't new, though. Remember the Nokia N-Gage? That died pretty fast. But I thought if Sony PlayStation and Sony Ericsson worked together on this, it could become a solid portable gaming device. But that didn't happen. Instead we got a missed opportunity. Both companies failed to deliver on time....

More

I've been gaming all my life on all types of hardware. And when rumors of a PlayStation phone started hitting the web, I got really excited over the possibilities. The concept wasn't new, though. Remember the Nokia N-Gage? That died pretty fast. But I thought if Sony PlayStation and Sony Ericsson worked together on this, it could become a solid portable gaming device. But that didn't happen. Instead we got a missed opportunity. Both companies failed to deliver on time.

There should be no reason why they released this phone with only one PlayStation branded game available. Crash Bandicoot is really fun and the guys at Naughty Dog are really talented, but it's not enough to sell units. Where is PlayStation Suite? Sony PlayStation promised that they bring PlayStation branded experiences to Android, but they missed it with their own device. Even after E3 2011 wrapped-up, we still don't know anything really about PlayStation Suite. Hopefully we'll hear more about it in the future, but for now, this phone is nothing more than a phone and a gamepad. I'm afraid that without compelling, original software, the Xperia Play is going to slowly disappear.

If gaming is your thing and you like having a gamepad on the go, then give it a shot. But honestly, most of these games can be played on other Android devices that are already far more superior. Until there is some more compelling games, you might want to pass and look at some other Android options.

Read full review

Less

Phone Scoop

A good gaming device if you can overlook the hardware and basic performance issues

from Phone Scoop

Bottom line? If you're a hardcore gamer, like the idea of the dedicated gaming controls, and are willing to forgive the Xperia Play's hardware missteps, then the Xperia Play is at least worth demoing at your local Verizon store. If you're only a casual gamer, though, there's nothing about the Xpe...More

Bottom line? If you're a hardcore gamer, like the idea of the dedicated gaming controls, and are willing to forgive the Xperia Play's hardware missteps, then the Xperia Play is at least worth demoing at your local Verizon store. If you're only a casual gamer, though, there's nothing about the Xperia Play that really makes it a worthwhile pick over a standard Android handset.

Read full review

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BGR

The Xperia Play is truly in a league of its own

from BGR

I like the overall concept of the Xperia PLAY — one of the only companies in the world that could pull off a pure gaming handset is Sony Ericsson — and this is a valiant first effort in the space. But in the end, the Xperia PLAY is a little chunky and it feels like it needed a little...More

I like the overall concept of the Xperia PLAY — one of the only companies in the world that could pull off a pure gaming handset is Sony Ericsson — and this is a valiant first effort in the space. But in the end, the Xperia PLAY is a little chunky and it feels like it needed a little more time in the oven. If Sony Ericsson decides to introduce a follow up handset, I have no doubt it will be a formidable mobile gaming smartphone that few if any devices could rival. The current iteration is more a concept than a full-fledged gaming device and platform, though if you’re a hardcore gamer, you probably won’t be disappointed with the Xperia PLAY. For general consumers, I’d probably recommend waiting for the follow-up version, however.

Read full review

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SlashGear

The Xperia Play doesn’t really stand out as a phone or a gaming system

from SlashGear

So the bottom line, is it worth it? For the price $200 with a two year agreement on Verizon, non-stop mobile gaming could be yours. The only problem is, the Xperia play doesn’t really stand out as a phone or a gaming system. There are plenty of great Android phones out there to choose from,...More

So the bottom line, is it worth it? For the price $200 with a two year agreement on Verizon, non-stop mobile gaming could be yours. The only problem is, the Xperia play doesn’t really stand out as a phone or a gaming system. There are plenty of great Android phones out there to choose from, and the advantage of this phone lies mostly in the gaming controls. But unless you have the hands of a tween, the controls and phone itself are too small to lend to a great mobile gaming experience. If you’re serious enough about mobile gaming to consider buying this phone, you should save your money and either spring for a Nintendo 3DS or the upcoming Sony NGP.
As for my own personal opinion, I think this phone is like a great firework: the fun fades a little too quickly. It’s really neat to show off the game pad and let people play around with it, but it feels more gimmicky than an actual mobile gaming experience. I would use it more as a phone than anything else and that being the case, I’d rather have a regular phone without the extra bulk. I also think the Android OS could use some work, especially aesthetically. I use Windows Mobile 7 on a daily basis, and it feels a whole lot more polished. Of course I hate the fact that I barely have any apps to download, and the browsing experience is limited, but my phone is mostly used as… a phone. So it’s not a huge deal.

Read full review

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Mobile Syrup

The Play successfully differentiates itself by being both an able smartphone and a consummate gaming machine

from Mobile Syrup

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play exists on its own, and as a companion to the flagship Xperia arc. They are very different phones, aimed at completely separate demographics, but ultimately both deliver similarly satisfying Android experiences. Whereas the arc comes off at times as just another Andro...More

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play exists on its own, and as a companion to the flagship Xperia arc. They are very different phones, aimed at completely separate demographics, but ultimately both deliver similarly satisfying Android experiences. Whereas the arc comes off at times as just another Android device, the Play successfully differentiates itself by being both an able smartphone and a consummate gaming machine.
While a year from now it may not be able to stack up with the current crop of dual-core processors, its lineage as the first Playstation-Certified Android device has garnered it some warm acclaim. And until its inevitable successor, the Play is by far the best way to experience Android gaming. While it appears that certain features, such as the camera, were overlooked, the sliding mechanism, the hardware controls, and the entire product, reinforces that fact that Sony, with a little help, is once again creating fantastic, focused hardware.

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User Reviews


Good idea. But to many issues

I've had the play since the release date and to be honest I think it was a bad decision. Sure it has sweet games and can play my N64 game from when I was a kid. But I no longer play any games after the first month. I do like the message indicator on the power button, it allows me see if I received a me...More
I've had the play since the release date and to be honest I think it was a bad decision. Sure it has sweet games and can play my N64 game from when I was a kid. But I no longer play any games after the first month. I do like the message indicator on the power button, it allows me see if I received a message or incoming call without looking at the screen. Some issues I have with the phone: Its not made of gorilla glass! I had an iPhone 3G for 3 years and it was the only thing I ever put in my front left pocket. I employed the same procedure with the Xperia play yet it has tones of micro scratches and make discolored lines on the screen because of them. It locks up constantly. No matter the application, It can be messaging, music, web browsing, Facebook, placing/receiving calls Even though I set it to never vibrate, it still always does. Even when I'm typing something. Feels very strange to vibrate as I type and the sound is irritating Brightness; Don’t even bother trying to use this phone when the sun is out. When outside you can not see the screen unless you shade it under something no matter the brightness setting. Signal; Apparently its a known issue a Sony tech tells me. There will be times when I get no signal for a day span no matter where I am in the city, no 3G no wifi nodda. Not to mention anyone that I talk to tells me I sound like I’m in a tin can, and that’s only if the call doesn’t drop Lastly I cannot connect it to the Sony sync to update. No matter the computer I use it on as I have tried to load an update on 3 PCs and a Mac In the end I believe I made a hastily decision on purchasing this phone, and now I’m stuck with it until I can upgrade in 30 months...... Hope my personal review will help any potential Xperia play buyers make and educated decision before purchasing this device. Less

This phone is great.

I will tell you why is great , first it is made by Sony and is a Psp go.