Feeds
Sony Xperia SP

Review: Sony Xperia SP

The new mid-range marvel? Oh yes.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Well connected

Sony does deserve a pat on the back for its connected video, gallery and Walkman music apps, though. They are absolute crackers in terms of features, design and functionality. In fact, I’m using hacked versions on my Motorola Razr i, that’s how much I like them.

The cameras fitted to the SP on the other hand are merely mediocre. The 8MP main shooter produced results that were rather noisy and showed less than perfect colour balance, while the webcam’s 0.3MP (640 x 480) resolution is low by modern standards.

Sony Xperia SP

The controls are very well laid out

At least the launch-and-shoot feature, which takes a snap automatically when you press the shutter key, worked on the SP - it didn’t on the Xperia Z I reviewed - making it a dab hand at spur-of-the-moment photography. But that’s just icing on an otherwise rather tasteless photographic cake.

Shooting video was more successful, with the SP recording impressive 1080p content at a reliable 30f/s, especially in HDR mode. Like the Xperia Z, though, if you capture a still image while shooting you have to make do with a grotty 1MP picture.

Another failing common to both the SP and Z is the low rent loudspeaker. The SP’s speaker actually makes a better fist of things than the Xperia Z’s but it still sounds a tad tinny even with Sony’s xLoud Experience sound processing trying to make up for the hardware failings.

Sony Xperia SP app

Sony’s video player is superb, as are gallery and Walkman music apps

The SP does better when it comes to connectivity. The micro USB port supports USB On-The-Go hosting as well as MHL audio-visual output, and there’s support for MirrorLink and NFC too.

The final feather in the SP’s cap is an LTE radio covering the 800, 850, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600MHz bands. This gives it a handy level of future-proofing and is something none of the competing devices offer. The Wi-Fi radio may only support 802.11n rather than 802.11ac but at least it’s dual-band. I’ve no problems to report with call quality or signal reception.

Sony Xperia SP apps

Xperia launcher isn’t the prettiest and the icons don't auto-rearrange

The Reg Verdict

The Xperia SP suffers from some of the same failings as the Xperia Z but also benefits from many of the same strengths. The difference is that the failings are fewer, and, at the price, more forgivable. The strengths, again at the price, are more gratifying. The large screen, top-notch build quality, impressive battery life, powerful yet efficient chipset and LTE radio are all very welcome on a handset you can pick up for £300.

As for the competition, for a few quid less you can get a Google Nexus 4 but that has storage and battery issues. For similar money, the Motorola Razr i has a smaller, lower resolution screen.

Nokia’s Lumia 720 is another alternative if you can live with Windows Phone 8, but the 480 x 800 display counts against it, as does the limited amount of Ram, which rules out some of the apps and games in the WP8 app store. None support 4G. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

Sony Xperia SP

Review: Sony Xperia SP

A gem of a mid-range Android smartphone, despite a few flaws and mediocre cameras. Five-band 4G LTE connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi, a 4.6-inch 1280 x 720 display and a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU are highlights.
Price: £300 (Sim free) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.