Feeds
Sony Xperia SP

Review: Sony Xperia SP

The new mid-range marvel? Oh yes.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs
Thus doth tech of future illuminate present, etc
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.