The video sample embedded below demonstrates a good autofocus experience, and the image stabilization option does does a good job of mitigating any shakiness. Again, you'll get a very similar experience from Sony's other recent smartphones.
Battery life and performance
That 4.6-inch screen sports an impressive 1,280 x 720 resolution, so we were looking forward to seeing how the Xperia T's 1,850mAh battery handled the workload. In summary, it delivered a middle-of-the-road showing. We got just under six hours of constant video playback, WiFi and 3G enabled regularly polling Twitter and our email. Sure, that's incrementally higher than the Xperia S, but given its non-removable nature, we were never quite confident that the Xperia T would go the distance. With medium to heavy use, we managed about a full work day, but we'd advise carrying either an external battery or a USB cable if you're going to work overtime.
The Xperia T totes a pentaband GSM radio. Through a HSPA+ connection on Three UK, we were hitting speeds of around 6 Mbps down and just under 2 Mbps up -- comparable to other phones we tested nearby. Call quality was also strong -- a plus on occasions when you find yourself using those free minutes.
The 1GB of memory directly matches the Xperia S -- as does the most recent Android build (4.0.4) but undulations between the UI mean there are at least some minor software differences. We updated our Xperia S scores here to reflect its Android 4.0 refresh, but the Xperia T still dominates in these tests, with the Snapdragon S4 processor predictably besting its S3 relative, despite the same 1.5GHz clockspeed. Pitting the new phone against the HSPA version of the Galaxy S III and its a mixed bag on these scores. In day-to-day use, however, the Samsung quad-core phone offers a generally smoother experience, while we found the Xperia T would often stall during web sessions -- on both its own browser and Chrome. However, games and movies ran smoothly and streamed without issues, making the patch browser performance even more disappointing.
The Xperia T is a deceptive phone, with a design that looks and feels narrower than it actually is. Despite that huge display, it falls within the same dimensions as smaller-screened smartphones, with Sony shedding at least some of those exaggerated borders. It lands favorably with Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS, something that was notably missing when the Xperia S landed. But, with a software update now readily available on that older phone (we refreshed the older phone with the latest software to compare in this review) it's difficult to pin any major improvements or innovations that the Xperia T brings to phone buyers.
It's difficult to pin any major improvements or innovations that the Xperia T brings to phone buyers.
We still carry a torch for Sony and its tech launches, but our attention is rightfully shifting to the competition. Having both the S and T models side by side, it looks like one is the prototype of the other and we're not even sure which came first. Onscreen buttons and a marginally higher-resolution camera are certainly improvements, but a fully-priced Xperia T is hard to recommend over the now-discounted Xperia S.