Sony (Ericsson) announced what is arguably it’s most important phone for the US market in a long while. The Sony Xperia ion has some superb specifications and very strong marketing points including LTE, 12.1MP Exmor camera and a large 4.55-inch HD display with similar pixel density to Apple’s retina display in the iPhone 4/4S.
All of the major tech sites have posted their thoughts on the Xperia ion over the last few days. We have a round-up of all of these hands-on impressions below including some choice quotes from each publication. The common themes so far are premium build quality, gorgeous display but slightly laggy UI and issues with the capacitive buttons. Click through for a summary of all of the hands-on impressions we’ve come across so far.
Xperia ion hands-on roundup from CES
-- The handset strikes a definite presence in hand, bucking the thinner is better trend we’ve seen over the last few days for a bulkier, premium build.
-- You’re probably wondering just how gorgeous that HD Reality display is and we can verify -- it is, indeed, quite sweet.
-- We noticed a bit of sluggishness when attempting to navigate through Sony’s Android overlay, which is surprising given its dual-core 1.5GHz processor.
-- One other area of the device that also seemed to evince a hit or miss workability were the four capacitive buttons at the base. You’ll notice in our hands-on video that we had to continually tap on the menu, back, search and home icons to get a response. It seems our fingers had to be aimed quite a bit lower to trigger the soft keys.
-- Up front they’re all hard, sharp edges, but the back is gently-sloped convex aluminium, making them fit in the palm of your hand very nicely, similar to Nokia’s Lumia phones. They feel rock solid. The screens definitely qualify as HD, as you’d have you put you eyeball on the glass to see a pixel, but the blacks just weren’t nearly as inky as the Super AMOLED screens you see on Samsung phones.
-- The Xperia’s are running Android 2.3.5 at launch with Sony’s own skin on top. It’s one of the lighter skins I’ve seen, but it kinda looks unfinished. There was also a bit of lag here and there which could stem from that, though I was told that the units I played with might not have had the final software.
-- From a hardware perspective, the Ion felt solid with a evenly-curved back and didn’t feel especially heavy in the hand, despite (or because of?) the aluminium shell. The 4.6-inch, 720p display is nothing to sniff at, and around back there is a 12-megapixel Exmor R camera.
-- This device is both sleek and lovely. This device is made to be Sony Ericsson’s next big step back into the USA, and from what I’m seeing here, they’re doing a fabulous job of making it happen.
-- The Xperia Ion felt light and not too big in hand for its 4.6-inch screen size—in fact, we barely noticed its large size, despite usually balking at phones of similar girth. The edges weren’t very comfortable to hold, but the rounded back may do better work in that area. The sleep and volume buttons on the sides had nice give, but the navigation buttons along the bottom of the screen were very unresponsive. Those soft buttons are stylized with an underscoring light, and we seemed to have better luck tapping at the light than the icon itself
-- We like the screen and the overall aspect of the phone which just so happens to be a rather thin one.
-- The Sony Xperia Ion looks to be a killer device. No official word on pricing or a firm release date but let’s keep an eye on this thing.
-- The first thing we noticed about the Sony Xperia Ion was just how light it was, we expected more weight behind the smartphone given that it has a 4.6-inch screen and a wide-ish chassis to compensate for this. We did find that the sharp edges of the screen did get a little uncomfortable after holding the phone for a while, though the slightly curved back nestled nicely in our palm.
-- The phone was zippy – swiping through tweets and going from one app to another showed no apparent lag and the jump to the Xperia Ion’s camera was fast. Sony is quoting 1.5 seconds from nay to yay and we can’t argue with that number.
-- It’s not the most beautiful phone on the market but it is one packed with power.
-- The Xperia ion is not as thin or sleek feeling as the Sony Ericsson arc and arc S, and it doesn’t fit as nicely into one’s hand. Still, it features a gorgeous display and offers what feels like a solid build quality.
- An impressive new smartphone that could give the Google Galaxy Nexus a run for its money.
-- Its brushed metallic exterior surely sprinkles a sense of premium to this beauty. And despite its larger size, we like how the handset comfortably contours to our hand thanks to its curved back – with its weight adding that harmonious balance to its solid construction.
Staring back at us, its 4.6” HD Reality display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine is remarkably one of its standouts right from the start, thanks primarily to its 720p resolution (720 x 1280). Needless to say, it’s pretty detailed looking from a cursory look, but its ability to produce rich and vivid colours also attracts our attention.
-- When you look at the overall picture, this is undoubtedly shaping out to be a multimedia buff’s dream phone! From playing games to shooting photos/videos, the Sony Xperia ion is looking to flex its muscles to scare away the competition.
-- The build somehow doesn’t feel quite as premium as the Xperia S, with just that final finesse lacking -- it just doesn’t quite fit together quite so tightly and neatly.
-- All told the Xperia Ion doesn’t quite manage to wow us, but it’s certainly a very capable handset that is sure to be a sound investment when it arrives in the Spring.