back to article Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Android smartphone

The evolution of smartphones has introduced a divide between gaming capability and gaming playability. Powerful processors and operating systems allow increasingly complex gaming. But complex games demand complex controls. Finger swishing and prodding might suffice when flinging belligerent avians around the screen, but virtual …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge


    What about bugs? was it reliable?

    The launch was delayed due to operators wanting some bugs fixing.

    It seems to me like you can't really get a good phone and games device in one. One section will always get some compromise. Although the compromise is always going to be required to keep the size down. Otherwise they would have just inserted a phone into the existing PSP case.

  2. Lamont Cranston


    I honestly don't see why this would be useful. Likewise, any sort of high-end camera functions (does anyone use a phone as anything other than a backup camera?).

    I have a camera and a camcorder, which both have TV-Out, but only the camcorder ever gets hooked up to the TV, and even that's a rarity as editing footage before display is always welcome. With photos, surely you'll want to remove all the blurry, mis-timed shots before showing them to anyone?

    Still, nice looking device. Maybe it'll be what the N-Gage should have been...

  3. Mike Brown

    65% it should be closer to 80%

    65%? really?

    Iv got one and love it. its a perfect mix of android and gaming. yes there are a few niggles: no hd video, no tv out, and the screen is a little dim. but thats about it.

    The idea of having a joypad contected to a phone is genuis, and im surprised that its taken so long to do. You mention the bulk of the phone as if its a bad thing, but of course it will be bulky, all qwerty slide phones are bulky, and this is the same but with a joypad.

    Im surprised you mention 22 hours of battery life as if it was a bad thing. My HTC Desire would manage 9 or 10 then die. Ive found the battery life to be excellant on this phone.

    And how could you talk about the gaming aspect of this phone but not mention emulators? Android is awash with emulators for mega drives, snes and amiga and this phone really shines when used with these.

    Im surprised that you guys didnt mention the lack of intrigration into the Playstation Network, as this is its major failing. There currantly is no connection between the phone and the psn. I expected it to be able to log into the psn, to download ps1 games, or use remote play, this is ment to be coming with playstation suite, but hasnt materlised yet.

    all in all i think its a great phone. and a great return to form by sony erricson. especially since they got rid of the integrated media/timescap nonnsence. so id give it 80%

    1. LuMan
      Thumb Up

      I agree with Mike

      I had a play on one of these recently and thought it was great. OK, it's not a PSP, but it means I can play a 'proper' games console wherever I happen to have my phone. The buttons themselves are worth getting the device for as on-screen controls on such small displays are too intrusive.

      WRT the portrait-only launcher, can this not be easily fixed with LauncherPro or the like (come on, I only got it for my San Francisco after reading a review on El Reg)? And as for the camera, I'm not aware of many people who expect quality pictures from a phonecam (though I suppose there's some that do).

      My missus' phone is due an upgrade soon and I've already convinced her to have my San Francisco so I can have her Xperia Play!

      Still, each to their own, I suppose. I also think 65% is a little low and would give the phone about 80-85% purely based on its potential.

      1. zanto

        lucky bugger

        "My missus' phone is due an upgrade soon and I've already convinced her to have my San Francisco so I can have her Xperia Play!"

        your missus is worth her weight in gold. you'd do well to also hand over a bunch of roses and a big box of chocolates along with the San Francisco.

  4. zanto

    waiting for a review on the xperia pro

    with just the milestones and the dezire-Z for a qwerty android with a decent screen size and resolution, i'm waiting for the xperia pro to see which phone i should be buying.

    to give nokia credit, the n900 still looks like good value.

  5. Thomas 18


    I've been annoyed by touchscreen controls for ages now. I've tried the following:

    bluetooth keyboard - cheap, nasty and bad for any kind of dpad game

    Wii remote - awesome & free but not compatible with samsung (boo)

    Zeemote - on order but looks pretty cheap

    MSI BGP100 - looks great but nowhere seems to stock it any more

    Game Gripper - doesn't look like it really addresses the problem

    Stick on tactile buttons - maybe as a last resort

    Anyone tried these alternatives or know of any others? I'd rather have the phone I want and carry a separate peripheral than compromise on quality.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sony Fuck off.

    Just go home.

    nobody wants you.

  7. Citizen Kaned



    seems to do everything my £650 iphone 4 does and a whole lot more. for a fair bit less cash.

    i have to charge my iphone nightly and i dont even use it much, plus unless you are playing very basic games like angry birds it is terrible for gaming. maybe its because im a gamer i can see how useless most touch screen games are.

    @"However, the missing Bravia engine and HDMI output – or indeed, any TV-Out – are inexcusable, especially at this price point." - erm. my iphone 4 doesnt do this either. in fact its a ball ache to even send txts to more than a couple of people.

    are el reg becoming one of iSteve's minions?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      it's because unless you are a gamer (which the whole world isn't, shocking right?) the main feature is pretty much useless? Even then games purchase is also a broken process involving 3 different apps and a mixmash of features. Hardly sounds like a good experience.

      Did you actually read the review?

      i wonder why you still have that iphone 4 if you're so unhappy, did you miss the 14 days return or what?

      1. hyartep

        xperia play is to play as in games :-)

        you know, it's major nonsense to review xperia play from non-gamer point of view.

        xperia play is for gamers, if you are not gamer, it's not for you, buy arc or neo. simple as that.

      2. Citizen Kaned


        i read it. what i cant understand is the negatives being pointed out that a more expensive phone hasnt got.

        i didnt pay for my iphone4. its ok, nice interface but crippled from doing anything useful on. certainly not worth anywhere near £650!

  8. paul 97

    bit harsh

    El Reg Summary

    10% loss because of screen.

    5% loss because power button is in a little bit of a silly posistion.

    5% loss because of 3 game stores.

    5% loss because of poor (like most smart phones) battery

    3% loss because of no HDMI out

    2% loss because not dual core / 5mp camera not 8

    5% loss because of lack of fruit logo (as per all other devices).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it was me reviewing

      It would have been:

      80% loss because it's a Sony

      rest as per above

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Review is about right

    If I was in the market for a games optimized smartphone what would I look out for?

    Dedicated controls - check.

    A decent sized screen - check-ish, 4" ain't that much these days with 4.3" screens becoming more common.

    A cpu with plenty of grunt - no check, I'd expect a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU.

    Lots of RAM - again no check, HTC is shipping several Android handsets with 768MB.

    Close but no banana.

  10. Thomas 4

    The real deal decider for me going to be game availability.

    While there are a number of good Android games out there, I would expect near PSOne levels of gaming from this thing, given that it is almost double the cost of a PSP. But, as I learned before my PSP's ignomious departure to a second hand store, having a game store and having a *well-stocked* game store are two very, very different beasties.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I had a play of my friends...

    ...and thought the Xperia Play was pretty damn good!

    It felt solid and playing games with actual gaming controls was more than refreshing.

    The battery life is awesome (so my friend says) and he certainly would have given a higher rating than 65%. From my time using the Play I would say 75% is a fair score.

    At the end of the day, it's a phone for gamers and we all know there is a market out there for such devices. It sure beats playing Angry Birds and Infinity Blade, that's for sure.

    Sony Ericsson, you could be on to something.

    You now just need to get Sony Playstation onboard ;)

  12. tmTM

    Hardware Fail?

    It's a phone for gaming on, so why is it packing such lackluster hardware?

    It's already out-muscled by last years smartphones (Galaxy S and Nexus S will wipe the floor with it), so will look silly stacked up against this years offerings, packing dual core processors and qHD screens .

    I like the idea, I like the design.

    But it NEEDS a gamers chip and screen, it's got neither, it's another Sony mistake.

    1. Fibbles


      Maybe because you dont need the latest hardware if the games are designed well. My 6 year old first gen psp only has 4mb of ram and a crappy mips processor but the games still look miles better than most released for mobiles.

      Posted from my psp.

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