January 9th 2012 7:44 pm

71

A good phone, but not the most well-rounded

71

Could the Xperia S be your first Sony-branded phone? If you're all about media consumption, and if you're prepared to wait while Sony makes its cloud-based platforms more coherent, then the Xperia S is a great device. The display and the speaker are absorbing and addictive. The battery life is excellent; the processor is a good fit; and the absence of expandable storage shouldn't weigh too heavily if you get the 32GB option.

On the other hand, if you make more varied demands of your smartphone -- like excellent build quality, pocket-friendly slimness or photos you can enlarge -- then things get more complicated. US pricing has yet to be announced, but the 32GB version of the Xperia S is going for upwards of £430 ($680) SIM-free in the UK, or £370 pay-as-you-go on the Three network. Similar money could fetch you a legendary all-rounder like the Galaxy S II, or stretch to a 16GB Galaxy Nexus with an HD screen and better build quality, or -- very soon -- an HTC One S, which promises a cutting-edge Qualcomm S4 processor and a better camera. When sized up against a long rubric of criteria, rather than just its entertainment credentials, there's little to make the Xperia S a compelling purchase.

Buy It:

$239.99

90-Day Price History

now
high
$249
low
$229

Critic reviews

7.5
8 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    9.1
  • Display
    8.6
  • Battery life
    7.8
  • Camera
    7.9
  • Ease of use
    6.6
  • Design and form factor
    7.2
  • Portability (size / weight)
    7.7
  • Media support
    7.9
  • Durability
    6.4
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    6.7

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User reviews

8.9
22 reviews
7.0
Engadget Mar 8, 2012

When sized up against a long rubric of criteria, rather than just its entertainment credentials, there's little to make the Xperia S a compelling purchase.

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8.0
Wired Mar 5, 2012

The Sony Xperia S is a beautiful high-end smartphone at a mid-range price and offers a neat break with the Sony Ericsson brand. Integration with Sony's cloud infrastructure makes perfect sense and both screen and camera are exemplary.

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6.0
CNET Jul 25, 2012

Sony's pricey, stylish Xperia S is packed with multimedia tricks but is undone by a slow processor and lackluster display

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8.0
SlashGear Mar 7, 2012

The hardware is ... a success – the screen in particular is bright and pleasingly pixel-dense – and the Snapdragon processor, though short a few cores on other recent rivals, still keeps things churning at a satisfactory pace. It’s software that leaves the Sony feeling old beyond its time.

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7.0
CNET UK Mar 9, 2012

If you're in the market for a top spec Android smart phone, the Xperia S is certainly a contender. Its gorgeous HD screen displays pixel-perfect text and video. The 12.1-megapixel camera also impressed me. However, all this is encased in a plasticky slab that lets it down.

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9.0
TechRadar Mar 9, 2012

This handset may not be cheap – and it may feel like a Sony Ericsson without the Ericsson bit printed on the front – but we are really impressed with what Sony has done for its first solo foray.

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8.0
Android Central Mar 20, 2012

It's tough going back to Gingerbread, and we think Sony's dropped the ball in shipping its first major handset of 2012 with an old version of Android. But the Xperia S makes up for this shortcoming in other areas.

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8.0
TrustedReviews Mar 16, 2012

With a great HD screen, 12MP camera and a few quirky extras, the Sony Xperia S should be right up there with the best of the rest but it doesn't quite come together. The screen isn't quite as good as we'd hope and the camera is well below expectations. The design ... doesn't really wow us.

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8.0
jeo4long jeo4long

The hardware specification itself is quite impressive and Android runs very snappy. The first thing that will catch your eyes are the overall design and the beauty of the screen. Of course the translucent bar (which they say where the antenna is), makes the phone very good looking. The size is...

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10
idtyu idtyu

Xperia S, the only phone with external antenna , best DPI for Android phones, feature rich and definitely my favourite deisgn ! I don't care if it is quad core or not, nor 2GB RAM or not nor with the ICS . It is a phone, you don't need a PC level specification, and ICS is not stable. Well,...

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9.0
cooool cooool

The phone is Unique, it's fast and in general you will not be disappointed. DLNA works like a charm and i recommend this phone to Everyone. i am very satisfied. i just think it could have been a littl emore on the spec sheet.... but hey GOOD JOB SONY

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9.0
SilentKnight16 SilentKnight16

Well built device with great potential. Only drawback would be the processor compared to the contenders and release time. But, still an amazing device.

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9.0
sandywoo sandywoo

I love my Xperia S. For the first Sony phone out there after the break-up with Ericsson, this phone is certainly a contender in best looking phone in existence. The distinctive translucent bar is gorgeous when it glows for notifications and calls. The phone features a dual core processor which...

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9.0
zomgbbqftw zomgbbqftw

Great phone, awesome screen, I hope the next update fixes the battery life because that is the one thing holding this phone back.

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9.0
kornerik kornerik

The phone itself feels great in the hand, however it is sometimes hard to reach the top corners of the screen while using it onehanded. The plastic used in the handset feels good in the hand.

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10
bruce27 bruce27

Xperia S came with Android Gingerbread out of the box. It made me a little apprehensive due to the fact that competitors were out with Ice Cream Sandwich already. The S was not really native to Gingerbread. However, after the ICS update and the latest Sony update to .45, the Xperia s proved...

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