You can arrange your apps and shortcuts into different categories and another new trick is the ability to display all your widgets on a single screen when you pinch to zoom from one of the five home screens. Shake the phone and they’ll bounce around, over and under each other, which is a neat trick, but it doesn’t always make it easy to select the one you want.
Video capture is 720p and there's an on-board clips editor
The Timescape widget is back and helps you to keep up with your social networking commitments by combining them all, along with your emails and texts, into a single scrollable stream. The Data Monitor app can be set as a widget on your home screen and keeps track of how much data you’ve been using – you can set an alarm to let you know when you’re approaching your contract’s monthly limit.
The 1GHz processor is backed up by an Adreno 205 graphics chip and 512MB of RAM. It’s not as fast as the top performers, but this is still a nippy little phone, switching between apps quickly and handling movies, games and internet browsing with ease. It scored 1723 in the Quadrant Standard benchmark test, putting it up there with some of the best single-core handsets around.
The 8.1Mp camera includes LED flash, auto-focus, face detection, touch focus, image stabilisation, red-eye reduction and face detection. There’s no dedicated camera shutter button though – you take a pic by pressing the screen.
Like a few higher end Sony Ericssons of recent months, the Ray’s camera comes with Sony’s Exmor R for Mobile sensor, which does a good job of enabling you to take good pics in fairly dim lighting conditions. Overall picture quality is good, though the automatic sensor can struggle with bright sunlight. The digital zoom goes all the way up to 16x, though the quality of the image diminishes markedly at around half that.
Next page: Flash in the hand
Hate to break it to you, Dave...
... but it IS a proper-sized FWVGA screen.
"The capacitive screen’s a bit of an odd one. Diagonally, it measures 3.3in, but that actually translates to 480 x 854 pixels, offering an unusually widescreen resolution, like a dinky little cinema screen. It promises over 16m colours and looks as sharp as a tack, but there’s really no getting round the fact that for a smartphone, it’s rather on the small side."
Umm guess what? This is is the standard resolution of all Sony Ericsson, Motorola etc Android phones - you know, smartphones you regularly review here...
Small screen? If you want a big screen, buy an Arc S, simple... it's called having a choice, something some manufacturers will never give you.
I still have yet to be convinced a dual-core processor in a phone is actually useful. My Desire HD @ 1.2GHz cuts through every task like butter.
Also, small screens? This model is deliberately designed that way. Are you being obtuse? Because the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S has a 4.2" screen and was reviewed right here on El Reg, to huge acclaim, despite a single core 1.4GHz CPU.
Why? Because the specs aren't as important as sheer usability and feel.
Well, they have a big screen, big powered phone. It's called the Arc S and it recently picked up a 90% score on here.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, Android 2.3.4 is optimised for single-core cpus, so having a dual-core makes little sense - in most cases it'll have little benefit on performance and it definitely kicks battery life down a notch or two.
So, given Sony have met this year's apparent "needs" with the Arc, maybe the Ray isn't aimed at people for whom bigger is always better - perhaps it's for people who don't want to fill their pockets with gigantic slabs of glass?
"Not to mention it's priced at the same level as faster handsets."
really? It's easily available for £290 unlocked and I can't think of any faster phones that you can pick up for that price. The more I think about that it's actually pretty cheap for a Snapdragon handset with a very good camera. As others have pointed out putting a dual-core chip into a phone like this would be pointless. A bit more RAM would be a much better and cheaper idea.