Two Sony Xperia phones that we remain really fond of are the Xperia active and Xperia go. These were among Sony’s first water resistant smartphones, but unlike the recent Xperia Z series, these were rugged phones that were built to withstand the harshest of knocks.
As much as we love the water resistant Xperia Z series, these aren’t rugged handsets. They are not built for those who have an active lifestyle and want to take them running, cycling or surfing. This is why the Xperia active was called the ‘active’ it was designed for those on the move. Hence why Sony Ericsson’s partnership with Billabong at the time was so apt.
The Xperia active had a legendary build quality where it survived against a Stanley knife, hammer and even being run over by a Jeep. It also had no problems being used for ice fishing or surfing – it really was the Chuck Norris of smartphones. The Xperia go followed in its footsteps and survived its own set of torture tests.
The Xperia active (ST17) was the pioneer, launching in October 2011. The spec sheet wasn’t meant to be salivated over, offering a 3-inch (320 x 480) display, 1GHz single-core MSM8255 Qualcomm chipset, 5MP camera and 1200mAh battery. The Xperia go (ST27) went on sale the year after, in July 2012, with a 3.5-inch (320 x 480) display, 1GHz dual-core NovaThor U8500 chipset, 5MP camera and a 1305mAh battery.
However, despite the specifications, these handsets were designed to be rugged. They needed to be reasonably small and lightweight (both handsets weighed around 110g) and most importantly both had an IP67 certification. The Ingress Protection rating was the highest possible for dust.
We have not seen another IP6X certified Xperia handset since. We would really like to see Sony release another handset in this series, perhaps something with an IP68 certification and super rugged design. We know Sony could come up with something special, after all the Xperia active itself won two international design awards in 2012, from iF and red dot.
Some may argue that Sony’s Xperia Z series serve a similar purpose, but these are not as light or as small as the Xperia active and Xperia go and we just can’t see people subjecting the premium Xperia Z series to the same care-free abandon. Sony has concentrated on larger and more premium handsets recently, but we would still love to see a true successor to the amazing Xperia active/go to appear at some point.
Do we have any readers still using one of these handsets? Would you like to see a successor or do the Xperia Z series fill that void? Do you think there is still a market for these type of ‘active’ phones? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.