back to article Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia series got off to a rocky start back in 2008 but improved greatly with last year’s X10. The Xperia Arc is the company’s latest flagship offering that runs the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and features an 8.1Mp camera with a low noise CMOS sensor and a high-end screen with a Bravia engine. Evidently, …


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  1. Dicko99

    Crap camera...

    The bananas have come out all green...

  2. G4Z
    Thumb Up

    damn you sony

    I really don't wanna buy Sony products and all that but this thing looks like it could be a nice replacement for my Desire.

    The only let down on my desire is the rubbish pics it takes due to the awful plastic lens cover, this Arc looks prettier has a bigger screen and takes better pics. Definitely a contender when my contract is up in a couple of months..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Plastic lens cover..

      Can be poked out from the rear! Or more neatly just drilled through.

      if its that crap you dont need it, and the glass lens is well recessed inside the cover..

    2. Carol Orlowski

      Why miss out?

      Sony make some of the best products around? Their TV's are great (for TFT), the PS3 beats the pants of both the Xbox and Wii in terms of gameplay, features & value.

      Their phones are pretty decent, the Walkman brand is better sounding than anything Apple have ever made.

      By not buying Sony, you are only spiting yourself. Sure you pay a bit more, but quality comes at a price.

      1. spencer

        You're not wrong...

        You're not wrong - Sony really do make some of the nicest electronics.

        However, some people have been burned by various things Sony have done:

        - Taking PS2 backwards support and Linux off the PS3 in a non optional software update

        - Promising to update the Android OS in Several Phones and then not going through with it, or at the very most about half a year after it was promised

        - Spying sofware on Sony music CD's

        - etc, etc

        The trouble is; they go and make a phone as nice looking as this and then people (myself included) will go and buy Sony products regardless of what they've done in the past.

        1. Paul 135

          Sony Ericsson != Sony

          You do realise for Sony Ericsson is its own company entirely independent of Sony? Most of the development for Sony Ericsson phones is done in Europe by what would have been the former Ericsson team.

          Sony Ericsson have absolutely NOTHING to do with Sony's policy regarding the PlayStation, nor with Sony's policy regarding music CDs.

          Also, SE delivered on it's promises regarding Android updates. The X10 is going to get a 2.3 update, and that would make it one of very few devices to support such a wide set of Android versions. I blame Google for Sony Ericsson's initial slowness - Google favoured the likes of HTC and Samsung as "hardware partners", allowing the likes of HTC and Samsung to get up to speed much faster with Android than their competitors.

          You have also heard that Sony Ericsson are going to provide the option to unlock the boot-loader with these new Xperia devices, right? That alone should make you consider Sony Ericsson as one of the lead contenders for Android devices!

        2. Carol Orlowski

          The internet is the worlds biggest liar

          Sony never removed PS2 compatability in a software update, it was always hardware, and removed to make it cheaper to sell.

          They never removed linux in a non-optional software update either. (it was ALWAYS optional)

          I believe the Experia phones have Android 2.1, which is pretty uptodate.

          Spying software? You mean copy protection software that stealthed itself? Rather different....

          You should stop listening to people on the internet, they are idiots, and it's rubbing off on you. EPIC FAIL OF THE WEEK AWARD IS ON IT'S WAY.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "...copy protection software that stealthed itself?"

            Is that what Sony fans are calling rootkits these days? No matter how you phrase it, it was wrong. Sony was installing software that the consumer was unaware of and had the potential to really cause some nasty problems.

            "You should stop listening to people on the internet, they are idiots, and it's rubbing off on you." Wow. You love you some Sony, don't you! Funny, if a fan of Apple/Google/Microsoft/Other were to make that statement, they'd rightly be torn a new one! Do me a favour though, heed the same advice when spouting your generic boilerplate nonsense about Apple/Google/Microsoft/Other.

            Shouting just makes you look like a bit of mouth foamy troll.

            Happy Thursday!

            1. Carol Orlowski


              Not only is the internet the worlds biggest liar, it's also responsible for the worlds biggest Chinese Whispers.

              The "Rootkit" was never malicious, it was merely copy protection (in the same form that many other publishing companies were toying with at the time). The only difference here, is that it hid itself, a side effect being it also opened the door for carefully coded spyware to hide itself too, courtesy of the same routines.

              The code wasn't even written by Sony, it was written by First 4 Internet. Sony bought it in. It affected about 10 CD's (and a distribution of about 20,000 copies, all in the US)

              Since then the story and been bigged up and twisted out of all recognition by clueless idiots like yourself.

              1. Anonymous Coward

                @Carol; "...clueless idiots like yourself."

                Spoken like a true fanboi/grl...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Sony are just as 'bad' as Apple with their love of DRM and control, and in some ways worse. If *you* go with Sony products then you are a hypocrite, which after being a banker is the worst thing that anyone can be.

        DISCLAIMER: I really don't care what you spend your money on, or that you have misplaced brand loyalties.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          An hypocrite?

          Only if I go around saying I hate DRM and control. Which I don't, because I understand why companies use it and so I don't go on a blind rage against it.

          If I didn't understand it I'd have to hate most companies producing media - and thus not read or see anything recent - because almost all use DRM to some extent. You're quite deluded if you think it's only Sony and Apple...

          Also wouldn't mind being a banker, btw. Since you're obviously not interested if you come across

          an opening at > 60K/year let me know.

    3. Ian McNee

      Hey G4Z!!!

      Can I have your old HTC Desire then? My old Motorola Dext needs replacing! :-D

      I'll even pray for your lost soul when it's owned by Evil Sony Inc...

      1. G4Z

        @ Ian Mcnee

        Sorry mate, my girlfriend will no doubt want an upgrade from her San Francisco so its already spoken for.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, it doesn't have NFC

    Just because Gingerbread supports doesn't mean it's there. This phone does not have the hardware to support NFC.

    Also doesn't have a front camera. Which is a shame because it looks very good in everything else.

  4. Miek

    some form of title

    What a stupid place to put the headphone jack, I would have preferred the bottom or at the very least at the top. I was interested in the phone until I read that. The phone certainly does scream quality bar the cheap plastic buttons on the face of the phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Jesus Christ

      Really? The 3.5mm jack placement utterly kills a device for you? Christ.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not only kills the device

        but also many headphone cords if you use it in your pocket.

        I agree with OP, it's a terrible location.

      2. Jack 12

        Just buy

        A pair of headphone with a right-angle jack?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Good idea, but...

          I tend to buy headphones for audio quality, not to match whatever design limitation on the phone.

          Adapters are bulky.

          Sorry but this is just an odd location, Sony - who designed the walkman after all -should know better.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Android smartphone

    C'mon who came up with the name of that phone

    Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Android smartphone


    Icon : Couldn't be anything other than Paris.

  6. Dave Fox


    SIP VOIP isn't just about Google Voice you know?

    I've been using SIP VOIP via SipDroid on Android phones for a long time now, without Google Voice!

    1. Paul 135


      Yes, there are THOUSANDS of SIP VoIP providers out there. Can't believe El Reg thinks Google Voice is in any way important!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    we get screen grabs in the reviews of Android apps costing nothing but not in the reviews of phones costing hundreds of pounds. It's great the keyboard is "better" and the UI looks "different", but are we supposed to use our imagination? I'd rather pictures of the UI any day than snaps of North London.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    It's a shame that I won't buy sony...

    @G4Z hold out, you know you should.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    "There’s also support for NFC (Near Field Communication)"

    Just like a Telly that is HD Ready event though it only supports Standard Resolution?

    Support for but not installed? or perhaps.... I have never seen add-on components for phones before is this something new?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Review was wrong

      The OS supports NFC, but not on this phone. Lack of antenna, security element and SWP for the SIM.

  10. tmTM

    Last years hardware?

    When all other manufacturers are bringing out dual-core behemoths why has Sony rolled out something of last years tech?

    At best it's a facelifted X10, but it can't compete with the latest smartphone releases and will soon look silly compared to the new iPhone and its many clones.

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Battery life, perhaps?

      Sounds like it has all the grunt it needs for a first-class user experience. All a dual-core processor would add would be more frequent charging.

      Looks good to me, to be honest...

    2. Usedillusion


      What exactly is a dual core processor going to add to the phone?

      1. Jerome 0


        Another core.

  11. Outcast !!!


    HTC is a Taiwanese firm! Definitely not Korean.

  12. Monkey

    Gotta agree...

    with the comments about the headphone jack location. I wrecked the jack on two pairs of headphones when I had my Blackberry with the socket on the side. As much as I loved the phone, I'd had enough. You shouldn't have to buy an adapter just to be able to use your phone as a music player and not live in fear of breaking headphones.

    So yeah, the location of the headphone socket is a deal breaker.

  13. Sam Liddicott


    It has a bit too much thin-ness and not enough battery.

    1. thesykes

      good reason for that?

      at 8.7mm it is thinner than the iPhone... which will mean Apple having to stop advertising it as the worlds thinnest smartphone

  14. Robert Hill

    On the side...DOH!

    Firstly, I will agree with the above posters regarding the quality of Sony products - my F-series Vaio notebook was expensive, but worth every penny.

    But, like the OTHER posters above, the sidemounted headphone jack just KILLS this phone for me. C'mon Sony - I know your game: you expect us all to try it with wired headphones, and then get pissed off enough to go buy a nice set of Sony-branded Bluetooth headphones. For another hundred at least.

    Sorry, not going to happen - I like my armature-powered, wired headphones far too much, and I hate having to remember to charge BT headphones when I've owned three pair of them. Go shoot your product engineers...this is a classic fail.

    1. G4Z

      argh, I admit it... I did buy bluetooth Sony headphones

      gah, I should hand in my geek badge but after my ipod touch 3.5mm connector broke (less than 18months!!! Which is me never buying apple again) I went out and ordered a sony MW600 bluetooth headset because it was cheaper than repairing the ipod (35 quids) and I am well impressed. I paired it up with the phones I already had and its great, in fact I have binned off the ipod entirely now and just use it with my desire and SD card. Highly recommend you take a look at a review before you swear off BT headphones.

  15. Paul 135
    Dead Vulture

    Bravia Engine

    "Good though it is, it’s useful that you can turn the Bravia engine off when you’re not making full use of it (it’s wasted on text messages, really) which will help save the battery."

    Are you sure about that El Reg - from what I read elsewhere this "Bravia Engine" only kicks in when viewing photos and videos. And is it even hardware??? I was under the impression that it was just software? (though maybe I'm completely wrong on that one!)

  16. Mark 65


    It states 802.11n. Is there any g as well, or just n?

  17. Lloyd

    I'd love to

    I'd love to like Sony Ericcson phones, I really would, I loved P800/900 when they first came out, they were the first true smartphones, but everything since? Well, let's just say the hardware's good but the clunky unintuitive UI spoils the whole product.

    1. Paul 135

      take a look again

      IMO SE's UI on these 2011 phones is better than stock Android.

  18. StampedChipmunk
    Thumb Up

    X10 getting better all the time

    The X10 was my sixth SE phone, but has proven to be the best yet.

    When It first came out (I got mine the day of release) the software was ... ... woolly to say the least. The camera was sluggish, the OS interaction could be slow and things like the keyboard could be more than a bit sleepy. The worst part was the appalling battery life, even with everything off you'd be lucky to get 8 hours.

    Ditching the O2 build and the hugely improved SE PC Companion software made updating to Android 2.0 a doddle, an upgrade that brought on a massive improvement in battery life, but when 2.1 was installed I felt the X10 was finally unleashed. Battery will now do three days on standby, a day and a half with moderate use. I've yet to find an app on the Market that doesn't work on the thing. Chuck the Dragon Flext9 keyboard on it and the interface is awesome.

    If I didn't have another year to run on my contract, I'd be changing the X10 for the Arc. Having played around with it SE have taken everything that was eventually great on the X10 and brought it over to the Arc, but adding really worthwhile features - HDMI out, 720p video and improvements in screen and camera tech.

    Regarding the headphone jack placement - The X10 came with a bundled M600 BT Headphone set in the nordic regions (the M600 also added FM Radio capability which the X10 lacks). I bought one after my old BT set met a sticky end and I can heartily recommend this device. It has a standard 3.5mm headphone socket on the top, syncs immediately and delivers really great quality sound. I use it with the half length 'retro' headphones the X10 shipped with and they sound superb. I've also used the M600 with my beloved Sennheiser Pros and can't discern any difference between the Wired and Wireless versions.

    Basically if the headphone socket placement is a deal breaker, look into an M600. Then sit back and enjoy your Arc. Me, I'm looking forward to Android 2.2 on my X10 and loving the fact that SE have finally, finally got their act together.

  19. John 62

    just something about it

    looks like it's trying just a little too hard to be classy.

    Anyway, the postbox pic looks atrocious for what's supposed to be a higher-end camera. Especially strange compared to the lovely photo of the flowers.

    1. Paul 135

      just British weather

      Had you considered that the post box picture could instead be a very accurate depiction of dreary British weather? I think it must have been taken on a misty day.

  20. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Bluetooth headphones are nice.

    I have a Bluetooth dangle (wireless version of a dongle) with an ordinary headphone socket, and it didn't cost very much. Unfortunately it sounds like it too, the audio is very noisy if you're a purist. If you just want to shovel interesting noise into your ears then it does the job. Nexxus at Maplin (eww).

  21. Radio

    No Search button?

    The no search button was the biggest deal-breaker for me. Loads of apps rely on having one, and others make it really difficult to search without one

    1. Paul 135

      Removing the search button is a winner!

      Disagree entirely. It is well worth removing the search button if it means having a much more ergonomic 3 hardware buttons with Back logically on the left, Home logically in the centre, and Menu logically on the right (compare to a right-click on a PC).

      Apps can easily have a search option under a press of the Menu button. This is not a big deal and a worthwhile compromise IMO. The only reason search was included as a hardware button so Google could try and funnel more Google Search hits - nothing to do with usability.

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