back to article Sony Xperia P mid-range Android

Little brother to the Xperia S, the Xperia P is the second Sony Ericsson handset to arrive in the UK. The company's flagship S model prompted a slightly lukewarm response when launched but the Xperia S sets its sights lower as a mid-range handset on a par with the Samsung Galaxy S Advance and HTC One V. Sony Xperia P Android …


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  1. James 63


    This phone has NFC, but didn't see it mentioned in the review. Don't think the One V or the Galaxy S Advance do.

    Swings and roundabouts...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NFC

      Has El Reg ever given less than 80% in a phone review?

      Still this one certainly looks easy on the eye and appears fully featured.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: score

        Who buys a phone based just on the score? You read through, and weigh your own considerations against the product's compromises. Screen size vs pocket friendliness, for example, or power vs battery life.

      2. Mr Tumnus

        Re: NFC

        "Has El Reg ever given less than 80% in a phone review?"


        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Also not mentioned:

          It comes with a mini HDMI > HDMI cable in the box.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Promised upgrade

    With ICS supposedly the bees knees in the Android operation systems why is it that manufacturers continue to produce phones with a 'promise' of an upgrade?

    Is there something they are not telling us?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Promised upgrade

      Have you got any idea how long it takes to develop a phone's hardware and software?

      Exactly how many phones have you produced?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Promised upgrade

      Have you ever owned a Sony android device, it's a wonder the thing actually comes in the box and not a note reading:

      "We promise to provide your phone by xyz date"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Promised upgrade

        "Have you ever owned a Sony android device,"

        Yes, actually. I have a Sony Ericsson Ray, and it is perfectly functional despite running 'ancient' Android 2.3. There is an ICS update available for it (as SE promised), but I honestly see not need to upgrade at this point.

  3. Tony Proudlove

    Burnt by PLAY

    Sorry Sony, I'm a long time fanboi but my 'xperience' with the PLAY has put my off ever buying another Xperia. Poor build quality (the volume button fell off in my pocket); unacceptably small internal memory (I think the 'Low on Space' icon is burned in to my screen); the Xperia PC Suite is useless (connecting the phone wirelessly is next to impossible, using Media Go to transfer music for some reason takes hours when performing the same transfer with the phone connected as storage only takes minutes; the software interferes with my Bluetooth mouse - even when the phone isn't connected, to name a few of the problems); and the final straw is the about turn on ICS. I can't believe I can't upgrade the OS on a phone that only came out towards the end of last year.

    Style over substance.

    1. Stephen 10

      Re: Burnt by PLAY

      Actually it looks like there may be an ICS update for the Play after all.

      Check the Xperia blog for the info.

  4. Robert Caldecott


    This ticks a lot of boxes for me, but a lack of a microSD slot is a real shame. But a metal chassis, great camera, bright screen, double the RAM of their 2011 phones, etc. for £300? Not too shabby. I'd like to point out that other reviews claim this is one of the best displays out there, especially in sunlight.

    Regarding ICS - Sony have been pretty good with updates for 2011 phones, and have even put out two ICS updates for the arc S (4.0.3 and 4.0.4). Other manufacturers should take note. I reckon the delay in ICS for their 2012 phones is because they wanted to the 2011 ones updated first - quite an admirable stance. Of course, ICS isn't without it's own set of problems but that's another story.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Tempted

      Sony have promised an ICS update for my Ray, and even claim to be rolling it out, but it hasn't hit my wife's phone or my colleague's phone yet. And yeah, I know you need to use their rubbish desktop software to update the handset to ICS.

      Why manufacturers insist on forcing people to plug their little computers into bigger computers to update them I have no idea.

      But I digress; I wouldn't put too much faith in Sony's update process. And to me no SD = no sale.

      1. GoFasterStripes
        Thumb Up

        Re: Tempted

        The reason the Ray and other 512MB RAM phones require plugging in to upgrade to Android 4 is because they don't really have enough RAM to run it correctly (perhaps due to bloatware), so it's not an automatic update. I have the 2011 Mini Pro, and have just rooted, it and hacked all the bloat out of it. This required a LOT of research, and I pondered and ICS upgrade (forced via Wotanserver), but gave it a miss as there doesn't actually seem to offer anything useful, just more overhead for the hardware.

        If you want to upgrade, then for £2 you can get 5 OS downloads from Wotanserver, and try it to your heart's content.

        The delay in upgrading your device is likely as there are several hardware revisions, firmware and carrier combinations, and they seem to all require different certifications and such. I HIGHLY RECCOMEND you root and prune your system, my battery life during moderate use with 1 email account synced is about 100% better with less bloat running (Facebook App, Googletalk and Popcap software etcetcetc). I used Titanium Backup to delete fixed System software and that sort of stuff.

        All this is typed on the phone, with it's great keyboard. I wish ElReg would review it, I had the Previous version, and this is much better. Lovely form factor. I really hope either Sony or Ericsson continue to produce handsets in this form factor.

        Good luck!


        1. Paul Shirley


          The update process doesn't need much RAM, just enough reserved Flash storage and indeed OTA updates for the Play have happened. But actually indiscriminately OTA pushing crapware like the Sony ICS build is a really bad idea, plus there are devices that simply wouldn't get an update OTA, so the PC option has to be available and might as well be the default for some updates.

          If you really want ICS on a 512Mb Xperia though, dump Sony's broken effort. Turns out ICS has no problem running in 512Mb, it's Sonys build that has the problem. Stripping out all the bloatware doesn't fix it, they seem to have configured the core OS for a device with more RAM or they're gobbling RAM for something I can't see, either way it's perpetually RAM starved. I can recommend the AOKP RC3 build for the Play, provided you're prepared to apply the WiFi fixes and accept it's a WIP. It seems to have no problems at all in 512Mb.

        2. Perspyro

          Re: Tempted

          Sadly from all the prototypes/certifications/photo sample exif I've seen from Sony over the last 3-6 months, there's no Xperia with a keyboard form factor due in the recent future.

          Such a shame. Having both the X10MP and MP, it's definitely a very useful form. Much underrated. Sure it's no power house, but very versatile (yes, especially after rooting although my setup is different to yours) and still not a slouch.

          And no, I'm not going ICS even though it's out. 2.3 is fine. I don't understand what the fuss is about. It's not like your phones don't work without ICS.

    2. Matt 21

      Re: Tempted

      Each to their own and all that but I still can't see why I'd want to spend 300 quid on a smart phone. I can't find anything in the article which describes something it does which I really really want or need.

      I had a quick chat around the office and with some mates and most seem to buy these things and then, after an initial period of playing with the new gadget, not really know what to do with them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tempted

        Good point, why would anyone want one?

        I think there is a world market for about 5 smartphones.

        1. Matt 21

          Re: Tempted

          and of course people never buy things they don't need!

          My point was that I couldn't see what I'd use one for and no-one I spoke to who owned one for any length of time could put their finger on anything they really needed one for.

          Most people said they used it as a music player or occasional camera but they also said they'd got dedicated music players they preferred and dedicated cameras they used in preference.

          Oh, quite a lot said work gave them out and expected them to respond to e-mails on them when they were not working.... which I can do without :-)

          I'm not saying they're useless rubbish just that I can't see the point and no-one I've spoken to has been able to come up with anything either.

          As I said in my first comment... each to their own.

          1. Bassey

            Re: Tempted - why have a smartphone

            Okay, just a quick list of the stuff I use on a daily/weekly basis;

            Endomondo - I do a lot of race-walking and Endomondo tracks all my training and logs performance data

            Music - I DON'T have a separate music player so this is it with a 16GB memory card and senheisser headphones

            Radio - It is also my Radio AND I listen to podcasts

            eMail - I hardly go near my home PC for email now. We are restricted at work as to what we can access so my smartphone gives me access to personal email

            News - I use Google Reader to keep up with the local and national news and a few race-walking blogs I follow

            Facebook - Not essential but handy for road-closure news if nothing else.

            Football - I have an app that keeps me upto date on any England/Spurs matches including goal alerts, final scores etc

            Lists - I use springpad to keep lists of all sorts of stuff. If I buy something on-line, springpad has a button to clip the invoice and archive it. It means I carry around receipts of almost everything in my pocket. My wife can update a shopping list which notifies me when things have been added so that I can pick them up from town in my lunch. Reminders, memos, todos. I use it a lot.

            Tickets - most tickets are virtual now - either a reference in an email or some kind of code. They are all on my phone. Can't remember the last time I used a physical ticket for anything. The closest might be going to the cinema where you show them your code on the phone, they print a ticket and you walk 5 yards to hand it to the bloke on the door????

            Reminders/Calendar - My main use is as a virtual filofax. My phone is constantly pinging to remind me to do this, get that, collect so and so. My wife and I share one calendar on-line that syncs to both phones so that we can see what times are free, who is picking up the kids etc. My wife works shifts in a pub so keeping up with when she is/isn't working is a nightmare.

            Tesco - When I use the last of something I add it to the Tesco "Big Shop" list for weekly delivery. You can just use the camera to scan the barcode.

            Fuelly - I keep track of the MPG of both our cars

            Sunrise/sunset and Tides - I have tables of both on my phone, very handy for walking training or for walks along the beach with the family - not much use taking them for a walk along the beach if it is under water.

            Mapping - I have full OS maps on my phone and use them frequently along with the built-in GPS

            Weather - VERY important when you are out walking in the hills for hours on end

            Other stuff that just comes in handy once in a while;

            SatNav, Calculator, Unit converter, IMDB, Internet (usually sports scores), eBay, amazon, TV listings and VERY occasionally phone calls or texts.

            I've been using a smartphone since 1999 (Ericsson R380 World) and would be utterly lost without it.

  5. monkeyfish


    I'd love to see a side by side comparison between the one V, S Advance, and Xperia P. I.e. take the same shots in a variety of conditions with all three one after the other. There's more to pictures than MP, what about exposure ect... Basically I'm looking for a mid range Android with the best camera I can get, all other features are secondary.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: vs..


      There were those Japanese cameras with a phone bolted on (rather than the other way around)... what happened to them? If you want to compromise on the phone side, might you get a small Android phone and a small compact camera, or do you need to upload / email photos whilst on the hoof? If so, you might be able to accomplish that by using a micro SD adaptor in your camera and then popping the microSD card in your phone. Or use a MiFi card if you're feeling fancy - I believe they can work ad-hoc now.

      Otherwise, search Google for "Best Android Camera"... though the nod tends to go to the Nokia N8 and Apple, the Galaxy SII and T-Mobile MyTouch Slide score well- though such tests probably don't include this Sony handset.

      After being told that the low light performance of this Sony is good, it would have been nice to have seen a picture of a pub! : D

      I'm actually a hypocrite- whilst I knock the idea of carrying around a £500 phone, I usually have a chunky premium compact camera in my jacket pocket.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: vs..

        I also carry a chunky DSLR with me to places where I know I'll take photos, but too often get caught with only a 5 yr old 2MP nokia about my person. Hence the desire for a phone that I will have with me all the time, which is also a passable camera. Don't want to spend all my money on a phone, hence no iphone or high end droid (I'd prefer to spend it on that 10-24mm I've been coveting). Droid instead of nokia as while the camera is very important, I'll also want to use it for games ect too. So I guess the order of importance goes OS>camera>build>everything else. I like metal cases.

  6. Nev

    MicroSIM and fixed battery

    Oh Sony Ericsson, That's Game Over for me after all these years. [sigh]

  7. Bassey

    Do you want....a certain ICS upgrade or a microSD card slot?

    Am I REALLY being too greedy in wanting both?

  8. the-it-slayer

    85%? Bit generous a bit methinks!

    If this came out 2 years ago, then 85% it is. But it's another too-little, too-late from Sony. Yes, for a change they actually release a phone with a fantastic design that I personally like, but Fandroid 2.3.7 in 2012?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 85%? Bit generous a bit methinks!

      "Fandroid 2.3.7 in 2012"

      That's rich! Apple have been peddling the same f*cking OS for last 5 years!

      1. the-it-slayer

        Re: 85%? Bit generous a bit methinks!

        You've fallen into the fandroid trap thinking each version of android is a new OS. It's not. Anyway, iOS only had it's 4th major upgrade last year. Keep up!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 85%? Bit generous a bit methinks!

          Yeah Google changes the fonts and colours, add a couple of gimmicks like face unlock (which never work) and fandroids go mad thinking it's a new OS.

  9. Michael Langner


    This phone also has the WhiteMagic screen...

  10. Nadjau

    Had this phone for a couple of weeks

    I had a good experience with an Xperia Arc and so, being in the market for a mobile for non-work use, I went for the Xperia P.

    The Reg's review is pretty much spot on. It's a sold mid-range phone that improves on the Arc in several areas and I particularly like the understated design.

    It's not for those who want to carry their entire video and music collections around with them, but Sony do other Xperias that have SD card slots.

    The Xperia P is unspectacular in that it just does what I want it to do without fuss - primarily a data device that can make phone calls. The screen, call quality, build quality etc are fine.

    My only gripe is the flimsy microSIM slot cover, which is fiddly. Also battery life wasn't great at first, until I discovered that bluetooth was switched on by default. Replacing the live wallpaper with a static background helped too.

    All in all a nice phone.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't buy one of these on a promise

    Of an upgrade to ICS. Is it really that hard to simply ship a handset running an OS that has been out for over six months?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but at least Sony has committed to an Ice Cream Sandwich update later in the summer." -- Similar kind of commitment they made with the Xperia Play then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Similar kind of commitment they made with the Xperia Play then?"

      Hardly the same thing. The Play hardware simply wasn't up to the task of running ICS without breaking the main function of the device - playing games.

      The Xperia P is more than capable of running ICS.

      1. Paul Shirley

        The Play hardware is perfectly capable of running ICS, I'm running AOKP 4.0.4 right now with no problems. It's not capable of running Sony's broken ICS build however. It really is a Sony programming cockup, not the hardware.

        The gaming issues are even more annoying. ICS itself broke a lot of high profile games from Gameloft and EA mainly. Gamelofts bug has been traced and eventually games will be updated for ICS.

        The joypad problems would also have been fixed, by game authors if Sony couldn't manage something. Most games I own actually work. Except there's no product to fix them for now. Sony killed ICS on Play and with it any need to support ICS on Play. They killed the Play itself.

    2. Robert Caldecott

      Xperia Play WILL get ICS

      Sony have back-tracked and have certified ICS firmware for the Play so expect it soon.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mid range specs at £330? Thats not a mid range price IMO.

    For me, Mid range price is about £ 200.

    Sony making too much profit. And so is Apple and so is Samsung.

    Why do you think these premium phones have the maximum discounts on any Mobile phone sites, including maximum discounts on Quidco, TCB etc?

    Wher are the Huaweis and ZTEs, Guys?

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