back to article Sony Xperia T Android smartphone review

Featuring in that new James Bond film, the Sony Xperia T may not be 007’s most advanced piece of kit, but it is one piece of Skyfall hardware that you can actually buy. Sony is clearly throwing the kitchen sink at the publicity effort, plastering bill board ads with the device and paying what must surely be an awful lot to be …


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  1. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Getting close to upgrade time ....

    ..... for my xperia arc but I won't be going Sony. Yes the camera is good and the generally it has been a good device but the pathetically small amount of memory let me down.

    I have a few months yet to see what someone else comes out with but unless it's awesome I will be going with the S3.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting close to upgrade time ....

      Typical Sony smartphone, it's pretty to look at but inside it's last years technology and at the price it just can't stand up next to the competition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Getting close to upgrade time ....

        Actually not true. It has technology which the I phone doesnt. Like NFC. As we know NFC is the future and Sony have been pushing it more than anyone. Especially with the sphere speakers and the NFC tags.

        Not to mention that its NEW dual core S4 processor (which isnt the same to the Xperia S) is out performing a lot of quadcore phones currently in benchmark tests. Why? Because Android isnt optimized for quadcore yet. Neither are any of the apps around. And it isnt likely to change soon. ARM, one of the worlds biggest chip makers has even come out and applauded Sony for not blindly going down the quadcore route just because it sells.

        And thank god this phone doesnt have AMOLED screens. they suffer from common screen burn and give you normal colours rather than these ultra UV radioactive colours which look nothing like the picture.

        Lets not forget too that in software terms they offer the best Facebook experience too. Techradar recently said that Sony is the best for Facebook intergration with FIX (facebook inside Xperia). It basically means that your android calendar gets synced to your facebook events and birthdays. I had it on my old phone and it was VERY useful to have everything in one place.

        Also it has the new Playstation store. Only Sony and a few HTC phones have this atm and in a few months with be something special. Especially when you hook it up to the TV and sync the phone up to a PS3 game pad!

    2. N13L5

      I really don't wish to see Sony killed by the Koreans, but...

      Sony had better shape up...

      They always offer last year's technology for this year's premium prices.

      The Sony chief argued: "quad core power is unnecessary in mobile phones", but then he goes on to charge for his phones as if they had quad core power installed. Besides, a well implemented quad core processor saves battery over the old dual cores.

      Sadly, there's just nothing 'premium' about Sony's phones, only some of them have a nice design, others are kinda clunky, and technology and features are nothing you couldn't get from Huawai or ZTE out of China. On top of that, Sony never seems up to the task of using the latest Android, let alone getting updates out in a timely manner. I guess they fumble around too much with their software overlay.

      Sony's software overlay isn't bad, but nowhere near essential enough to warrant missing out on newer versions of Android for one minute.

      A message to Sony: get your hardware up to snuff and offer your software as separate apps, so they don't end up blocking timely Android updates. This would make your phones a whole lot more interesting. If any Sony phone I bought had the option of being like a Nexus (without having to void my warranty for it), I'd spend a whole lot more time considering smartphones from Sony.

      The way it is now, I figure that two years of frustration with no updates would follow the purchase.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really don't wish to see Sony killed by the Koreans, but...

        Sony are shaping up. They have had all sorts of bad luck over the past few years but this is probably the first phone which has finally kept up and beaten its rivals.

        It has THIS YEARS technology with the NEW Dual Core S4 processor which isnt the same as its brother the Xperia S. In fact its been out performing most quadcore processors. Mainly because Android and 99% of apps are very far off being optimized for quadcore. Like I said, its a NEW processor by Qualcomm so it is expensive. Though still cheaper than certain rivals.

        ARM, one of the biggest chip makers has even backed this up and applauded Sony for not blindly going for quadcore.

        Sony does sometimes lag Samsung in terms of Android updates but tbh, does it really matter? whats a few months in a 24 month contract? Any way, Sony leads the way in Facebook integration. It has FIX (facebook inside Xperia). It syncs up your facebook events, contacts and birthdays to your android calendar. Ive used it before and its awesome.

        It also has pushed more than any other company. A lot of its new accessories have got NFC like its sphere speakers and NFC tags. Ive used the tags before and they are quite useful.

        Anyway, lets not forget that Sony phones arent the ones which get sent back in record numbers (HTC) but also dont feel like cheap plastic crap (Samsung s3 anyone?).

        Sony have the bravia engine in their screens too. If you have ever seen the S3 in person you will know that grass isnt supposed to be radioactive...unless you live in chenobyl. Not to mention the numerous amounts of screen burn that are reported. All this for slightly better viewing angles?

        I am sorry but though Id agree with you up until the Xperia S...this phone is one of the phones to beat atm. Especially now it has the Sony store!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Getting close to upgrade time ....

      Well please allow me because it pains me to see so many reviewers lack such basic knowlege on phones. This is actually the phone to beat this year and here is why...

      First, like you said, this is the best Android camera around. Second only to nokia cameras like Pureview. Apple use Sony cameras inside their phones because they are the best. They offer fantastic features which no others dont like 3d panorama photos and Exmor R technology.

      Second, the screen is Bravia technology. This has been over looked by reviewers when compared to Amoled screens, Mainly because it has better viewing angles. Please go look at the Samsung S3. The colours are all wrong, unnatural and saturated. Trust me, I have handled a few and they look god awful. Especially with the terrible Samsung UI. It looks and feels very cheap. Please do not take my word for this. All phones now days have HD screens and you cannot go wrong. If I remember correctly the Xperia T has a higher Pixel density anyway. Samsung have gone for blind in this and though an Amoled screen might be good for graphics and menus when you want to look back at photos and videos you want the Bravia engine to get those realistic colours.

      Like I said above the rival phones are cheap. HTC are cheap taiwaneese crap (this is what I go from experience). My friends and I have often returned HTC phones back numerous times and have gotten a bit of a rep where I am from. Samsung S3 is plastic, its screen is all saturated with UV colours, its UI looks cheap. The whole phone feels cheap. If you spend £500 on the S3 you will feel like you have got a toy. Again, dont take my word for it. Go handle one.

      The processor. The rival quad core processors are much better than the Xperia S's dual core chip however, the Xperia T has a new S4 dual core processor which our performs quad core processors on numerous benchmark tests. Dont believe me? ARM came out recently and said so. They have applauded Sony for not blindly going down the Qudcore route as Android OS isnt fully optimized for quadcore yet...and wont be for years. Also, no apps are all. Google it.

      The Xperia T has technology which the I phone does not. Like NFC...the future. Not only does it have NFC but Sony is pushing it much more than the others. Go look on the Sony store they all sorts of NFC enabled accessories like the speaker sphere and the NFC tags (which ive got and are REALLY useful).

      The Xperia T has access to the Sony store. This is a new feature and in its early stages atm but it will get going. Trust me. This could be a real deal breaker. The Xperia T has HDMI input so you can show everything your doing on the big screen. I have this on my phone and its very useful for parties and when the family are over and want to see the holiday snaps. Now imagine you have the Playstation store up on the big screen....then imagine you have synced up a ps3 pad to the phone too so you can use the phone as a mini games console. AMAZING!

      Its also sexy as hell. I used to own the Arc and I have been dying for something similar to return. Now it has. But its not just about looks, the design has a purpose. It is designed to fit in your hand and redistribute the weight across your hand just right. Plus the matt rubber design adds to grip and might even work as a shock absorber when dropped.

      Dont get me wrong. I am not a huge Sony fan boy but I do think this is not only the most under rated phone around but also the phone to beat. Its battery life is average and the design isnt for everyone.

      Sony have had a tough time over the past few years with natural disasters and such. I would give this phone a go because I really doubt you would be disappointed. I am certainly getting it.

      I hope that helps.

  2. frank ly

    " .. but it lacks Jelly Bean ..."

    Can anyone tell me what improvements would be noticeable if an Android phone was upgraded to Jelly Bean from ICS?

    When my HTC Incredible went from Gingerbread to ICS, all I noticed was some changes in the UI and definite sluggishness in some operations. I'm very wary of updating the software on working systems that I'm used to.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: " .. but it lacks Jelly Bean ..."

      Jely Bean is an optimisation release so the result of an upgrade is smoother animation and other refinements.

      I think these phone manufactures are not doing themselves or their customers any favours by gratuitously customising android since it adds delay in the time taken for the phone to receive an update. In some cases it would rule out an update entirely.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: " .. but it lacks Jelly Bean ..."

      Android version history.

  3. Kevin7

    I've a question for the Sony people: why would you buy this instead of the Samsung Galaxy SIII?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      because it better in every way

      And just currently lacks jellybean, and which is coming soon(ish).

      In fact it's always the same criticisms here of Sony handsets (the xperia s got massively marked down because it launched with android 2.3 not ICS... It it now has it and it makes it a fine phone).

      Sony seem to release with what's stable over what's latest. I know jellybean isn't do stable on the s3 currently.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      because for £21 a month i got the phone + enough minutes & data for me for ~ £500 over two years rather than spending somewhere between £700 to £800 over the same period

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1. Samsung S3 has AMOLED screen. It suffers from a common problem called Screen Burn. Google it. Some forum polls ive seen have had 33% of the people victims of this. For a long while Samsung refused to cover it in the repair warrenty too. So you better get insurance.

      2. The Processor is the new S4 chip byqualcomm . So unlike the Xperia S, the Xperia T's new processor actually keeps up and even beats some Quadcore processors in benchmark tests. ARM recently came out and applauded Sony for not blindly going down the quadcore route as its not always faster when Android and 99% of apps arent optimized for quadcore.

      3. It looks better. The S3 is cheap and plastic (especially when your looking at its gastly vivid screen). Sony have brought back the Arc shape to this phone. Some like it, some dont. I love it. There is also method to their design as it is used to balance perfected in the hand. Its matt rubber finish is also good for grip and could act as a shock absorber if dropped.

      4. It has NFC too. Like samsung it has NFC but sony have really been pushing the accessories and NFC promotion. They have all sorts of cool gadgets which use NFC like the NFC tags and the sphere speakers.

      5. The last time I checked it was slightly cheaper.

      6. It has expandable memory too. So its 16gb can also get a 64gb memory card in for an extra £40.

      7. It has FIX (Facebook inside Xperia). Techradar has been quite impressed with Sonys LEADING facebook integration. It syncs up all your events and birthday dates on fb and puts them in your android calendar. Also if you LIKE a track in your walkman it puts it on your time line. It can also do some cool stuff in your contacts list too. This can all be turned off too.

      8. Its camera is better. No its not all about megapixels but the S3's camera in tests have often come out bottom out of the Android phones. Sony camera phones are some of the best...second to Pureview and other nokia cameras. Apple use Sony cameras in their phones for a good reason. It also comes with 3d panorama photos taking capabilities too. Its Exmor R sensor is pretty hot too. Its great for low light photos. Ive used it before and its gooooood!

      Thats all I can think of at the top of my head. Its not all glory though. The Xperia T does have a smaller battery but I think its the phone to beat where it counts. Its also got access to the Playstation store now, which when plugged in to a HD TV through HDMI is pretty awesome. You can even sync it up to a ps3 game pad and use it as a mini games console! How cool is that?

      I hope that helps.

  4. Simon Buttress

    Has anyone....

    ...mentioned the Nexus 4 yet?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's Sony

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOOOOO

      Yes, that's an unfortunate factor in all reviewing of Sony products.

      The general rule of thumb to get the real review score:

      Take 15 points off any Apple score here.

      Add 15 points to any Sony score here

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOOOOO

      Yup - stopped buying Sony after the PS/3 "other OS" removal. They make nice kit, but you cannot trust even their aura near anything to do with software (I should have stopped buying Sony after the rootkit thing, but pester power - aka my children - overruled my objections)..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BOOOOO

        I was annoyed that they pressed AMD into blacklisting the generic updates for video drivers for their VAIOs. The machine was bought in 2009 and the last Sony update for the video driver was 2009 so no flash acceleration for you matey. Added to that they get Realtek to cripple their drivers so you can't do Stereo Mix Record.

        Wankers hey ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BOOOOO

          PS forgot to add that for your "free" update from Vista to windows 7 the wanted £25 handling fee. WTF justifies £25 handling fee, delivery in a Rolls Royce by three topless babes ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BOOOOO

        I know I am just the same. I never cared about OtherOS either until Microsoft on the Internet told me that I had lost something that I had paid for. Now I am SO upset.

        I'm still so angry about that rootkit thing from SonyBMG all those years ago, that I have never bought anything Sony since, never bought any record on the Sony label, nor will I ever watch a Sony pictures movie (my friends all tell me SkyFall is amazing).

        My friends (the few I have) all say I am cutting off my nose to spite my face. But I don't care.

  6. Robert E A Harvey


    So, are the buttons suitable for left handed or right handed users? I find the side mounted ones on my Nokia bleeding awkward.

  7. Avalanche


    I don't see why the plastic should be a problem or be considered a negative point. My Xperia X10 has a plastic backside and after 2+ years it still looks good, no scratches or other signs of wear and tear.

    Now if I would buy a Sony again is a totally different question though... Their handling of upgrades for the X10 was annoying to say the least, and the 'eye-candy' is mostly useless IMHO.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    review by an iPhone user???

    the below are stock design features of all new Android phones (for good or ill) so I'm guessing the reviewer is mentioning them / marking them down as issues simply because they differ from the phone she uses every day.

    "In general use, my stumbling blocks with the Xperia T came from working out which of the multi-faced ways to access the menus, the apps dashboard, the homepage et al"

    "the other key design feature is that there is no physical home button, just a line of buttons"

    As an Xperia T owner I'd mark both these features as strengths rather than weaknesses, ditto the position of the power button. Once you get used to it you'll find it's a rather convenient place to put it. Easy to press with the thumb when held in the right hand but at the same time hard to press accidentally.

    On a technical note one issue with the T is that only 1.8GB of the 16GB storage facility is free for apps / system storage.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How thorougly

    can you review a phone without putting a SIM card in it?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why trash this phone?

    I dont know about you but I am very exited about this phone. Its got a higher pixel density in the screen than the S3 and doesnt suffer from that gastly Amoled screen which offers radioactive colours and common screen burn. Granted the S3 can be seen from better angles but tbh I dont want to encourage people looking over my shoulder when I am out and about.

    Before trashing the processor you do realise it beats the S3 and HTC 1X in bench mark tests. Why? Because Android ICS and to a lesser extent JB havent been fully optimised for quad core processors yet. Not only that but almost every app isnt either.

    The casing is pretty cool I thought. When your rivals are made out of plastic and have bits of metal all over it the Xperia T has got a matt rubber like finish which adds to grip and can even act as a shock absorber. Not for everyone, sure but its different and personally I think it works. Especially when you add that grip to the shape of the phone which gives you a good balance in your hand.

    The camera is second only to Nokias pureview cameras.

    Jellybean will be out soon, I dont see why waiting a month or so for an update is going to make much difference on a 24 month contract.

    It can also do things which other phones cant. Its got the new Playstation store which is in its early stages at the moment but is going to be something well worth getting exited about. You can even plug it in to a TV and play games on there. You can even sync up a ps3 pad and use the controller too! Amazing.

    Its got NFC and HDMI input. In fact Sony have got all sorts of crazy gadgets to go with this phone to use NFC to its maximum potential atm. One could argue its the king of NFC at...considering thats the future atm Id say thats pretty good.

    Also its cheaper than its rivals. Especially the Iphone 5 which again lacks the NFC and HDMI input.

    Its even got FIX (facebook inside Xperia) which I have on my current Xperia and it makes social networking so much easier. It syncs up all your events to your android calendar and adds all your contacts birthdays to it too. It puts everything in one place. Not only that but it syncs up all their details on to your contacts list too so your phone book and facebook contacts are merged. The only other manufacturer which even comes close to this is LG.

    75% for this phone is an insult. Do your home work and try again,

    1. thesykes
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why trash this phone?

      And yet, for me, the crap Sony put on their phones, especially all the Facebook related crud, is exactly the reason I won't be looking at them come contract renewal time. The sheer volume of unwanted and unnecessary apps that come pre-loaded is mind-boggling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why trash this phone?

        You do get some bloatware on it, true. Its annoying. Though unlike most bloatware some of it is useful. Sony Unlimited service is a bit dated but its got the substance which is important. Sony how a huge percent of the media in the world...films, music, you name it. You can access a near unlimited amount of music on there for £4 a month.

        Its great for parties as you have access to so much music. Just plug it in to your speakers (aux), TV (hdmi) and Speakers through NFC. Ive found all sorts of music on there from some of the crappy unheard of bands which i listen too...even bedroom producers!

        But like I say, yes! Its annoying. You can root it though! Simple!

        I will defend Facebook Inside Xperia to the ends of the earth though. Its such a great feature. Techradar have given it a good mention too. If you do not like it you can turn it off...or just turn on the bits you like! Especially the calendar sync!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why trash this phone?

      I have to agree.

      I reasearched across the latest "flagships". The HTC One X is just too large, I would question its ruggedness, Sense is showing its age, and no micro-SD. The Galaxy S3 is just too large in the hand, awkward to hold and has no grip. Forums are awash with broken S3 screen reports from just slight drops etc. and to be perfectly honest, that shows in the handset itself - it just looks extraordinarily fragile. I don't want to buy a slim handset just to bulk it out with a case or constantly worry about it slipping out of my hand.

      Razr i did get a look in, but lack of availability is the key blocker on networks. The Xperia T has the latest Krait dual-core processor which doesn't quite match the S3 but is very very close in many benchmarks. The case although dimension wise not that much smaller than the S3 appears visibily smaller to the eye, is a much better hold in the hand, curved design is excellent for landscape use, and the rubberised finish on the back is excellent. I find the screen excellent. Audio quality is far ahead of my previous 2 HTC handsets (HTC hiss...), speaker quality is well ahead of my previous handsets, and I wont bother mentioning the camera which is the icing on the cake.

      Nothing but praise for this handset from me

    3. Davidoff

      The camera is second only to Nokias pureview cameras.

      No, it isn't. It also comes second to its predecessor Xperia S which wasn't exactly stellar in its camera performance and which didn't even come close to what a 2 year old Nokia N8 delivers. But then the N8 doesn't use a tiny crap sensor and shoddy optics as Sony does.

      "75% for this phone is an insult."

      No, it's not. I had the chance to play with an Xperia T over a weekend, and in my opinion the 75% rating is quite adequate. It's a ice handset but has its shortfalls, not only in the camera area.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The camera is second only to Nokias pureview cameras.

        I have found numerous reviews which have put the Pureview as the only camera better than the Xperia T with the iphone as a close third. Lets agree to disagree though shall we? Its the best camera for Android. In fact the S3's camera has been described as awful. Anyway, Sony cameras have great stabilizers in them to prevent blurring which is a very common issue with a lot of camera phones. Not only that but Exmor R sensor helps with low light conditions. Not to mention the 3D panorama viewing.

        My main gripe with this review is that they have just looked at a spec sheet and gone "oh look, the numbers are higher on this phone so the other is worse".

        Sony were recently applauded by ARM for not blindly following the quadcore craze because its pointless atm...probably for another few years in fact. Hardware is just developing too fast for software currently.

        This phone can do it all. Things which the Iphione cannot and things the S3 cannot. 75 % is very unfair.

  11. djstardust

    Yep, Sony bloatware both on the computers and phones is a major issue.

    My wife has the Arc, and there's no space for installed apps at all due to the bloatware. Sony have locked the bootloader to stop custom firmware install and there's no root for the installed version. Fucked!

    1. Paul 135

      You are clearly an idiot with no clue what you are talking about. "No space for installed apps at all" my ass. And ALL phone manufacturers lock their bootloaders, Sony just happens to be one of the few that offers a procedure to easily unlock it.

  12. Santonia
    Thumb Down


    And still 200 quid more than the Nexus 4.....

  13. Robert Caldecott


    I currently have an arc S and was looking forward to Sony copying the design again after the frankly horrible design of the Xperia S and earlier 2012 phones. I love the look of this device but this is not the first lacklustre review I've read. What's really putting me though is that Sony aren't putting out a JB update until early 2013 and having been bitten by their frankly crappy ICS update for the arc I'm not willing to take this chance again. Quite frankly I'm sick of waiting for these manufacturers to get their Android upgrade act together so my next phone will be a Nexus 4 - which is considerably cheaper and more powerful than this device. No SD card will be a slight annoyance but getting the latest version of Android direct from Google for at least the next 2 years is well worth it.

    And the amount of crapware that Sony include is outrageous. If the crap was installed as normal user apps that you could uninstall then I'd forgive them. But installing games like "Let's Golf" in the /system/app folder which you cannot remove without rooting? No Sony, no. Let's Golf? No, let's bloody not. And rooting your device might be fine for us geeks but for the average Joe? Forget it. The only reason there isn't an arc shaped hole in my window is because I rooted my device and removed all the crud - otherwise I would of sold this device months ago.

    And don't get me started on the build quality - my arc S creaks, the buttons feel loose and it has the dreaded housing crack issue, but as I've unlocked the bootloader my warranty is void. Some people on XDA have complained that Sony UK service centres have been refusing to repair damaged phones if you've unlocked the bootloader. Nice work Sony.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disappointed, El Reg...

    Dial Another Day, surely?

  15. Paul 135

    This review is void of any substance

    The overly-negative review states nothing solid behind it to jusify anything substantially negative, nor does it state why such negativity was not put in the direction of the GSIII et. Al.

    Overall, this is an über FAIL of a review from El Reg. I demand that you sack whomever wrote it and let your vultures take them away for devourment.

  16. Jim Wilkinson

    I like my Sony phone...

    Mine's a Sony P since I was buying direct from Sony and not from a network. After a few weeks of use, I like it. The screen's nice and easily readable - also a decent size. The memory is sufficient for all my apps plus music pictures etc. But what made me sit up was that the music player delivers beautiful sound quality; better than any other player I've had - including an iPod Touch. That holds for all music; classical, rock, modern and all.

    It also has a good number of tools that I did not have on my last Android phone. I suspect not being network supplied means it comes with the full breadth of control. I was going to root it, but found there was no need so didn't bother.

    The big issue for me is not the phone, but the sometimes indifferent apps. Apple apps certainly win in terms of quality. Some apps are the same - whether fruity or android, but there's a lot of dross in the robot shop.

    BTW - it was easily upgraded to 4.04 though I didn't spot any big differences.

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