Well… my contract was up, and I could not lay my hands on a Samsung Wave 3, so, what else was there to do. The windows phones from Nokia appear to do what they say on the tin, but, I don’t know, they just strike me as clunky. A swift scout of the forums and reviews also suggest avoiding is better than taking a chance, and as Esther has managed her HTC Desire without issue, Android seemed the obvious choice. Venturing over to the darkside (iphone) is unthinkable, so without further ado I spent a good chunk of the last couple of weeks eyeing up new phones, and have ended up with the Sony Xperia S.
I can almost hear the cries of…. The Galaxy 3 is out at the end of the month, or, the HTC One X is a better phone, radiating from discerning readers who in fairness, would be right on both points. However, for the money they’re asking on such devices, I cannot seriously see myself being able to justify that outlay. Add to that, my perfectly functional Wave 1 gt-s8500 complete with Bada 2.0 running nicely as the OS which renders Facebook nicely, and MSN Messenger, over wifi, and the need for a quad core processor is just not there.
So, I have the Xperia S. What do I think of it? Actually, I’ve gotten used to it reasonably quickly. Although still not using ICS the interface is simple enough, though it seems to lack an initial stand alone video player, which is odd. Sure you can play videos in it, but I want a shortcut button for the player its self, and not to have to go through menus. This is, of course, simple enough to find, but it’s an irritation initially. As is the screens penchant to pick up fingerprints. Sure… it’s a good screen, excellent if you add the back lighting too, but, in my opinion, it’s not as good as the Wave for browsing. However… when watching video, now that Bada 2.0 has messed with the local players ability to change contrast, it does manage to match the Wave, which, as it’s 2 years newer, it damn well should.
But these are not my only niggles. Me being me, i have a pc heaving with divX files from various programs, and I am partial to a bit of DLNA streaming from device to device. The Sony has a nice little app for DLNA, which worked great for streaming mp3s, but when it came to divx films, it was having none of it. “File format not supported”, it shouted at me, like a petulant child refusing to get up and walk. My Wave, happily plays divX on the resident player (as I am told does the Xperia) so I assumed it was just an issue with the player not supporting it through streaming. However, not to be outdone, I installed all the delights that come with the phone and thought I could just transfer a couple of divX files to the video folder via drag and drop. Nope… not happening. So, using media player, I tested the sync out with a couple of mp3 playlists, which flew from pc to the phones hard drive (32 gig constitutes a HD!) without a hitch. Fair enough, lets try a divX file. No! Cannot convert file to a usable format on your device. Grrr!
Knowing something of the Android world even though never owning a phone of theirs before, I knew this was a solvable problem, but it wasn’t the point. My Wave, 2 years older, managed all this without a hitch! Pull your finger out Sony! However, as I said, everything is fixable. I installed BubbleUpnP and moboplayer, and DLNA streaming was up and running nicely. As yet I’ve not managed to drag and drop things onto the phone but, for the moment, anything which i want from the PC I can stream anyway, which is better!
There is much to link about this phone. It sounds good, wideo is good, even battery life is good, better than the Wave, having hammered the phone all morning with installing apps, playlists, and DLNA streaming Inception, with multiple messaging / facebook and email running with the standard weather widgets and it’s behaved fine. You’ll get your days worth out as long as you don’t bother having the back light on the screen on all day! With all the customisable things you can do on an Android phone, I soon had it behaving pretty much how I wanted it to, and I suppose I shouldn’t gripe, but it just seemed like a lot of grief compared to the Samsung Touchwiz and Bada experience.
So will I keep the phone? I think so. It’s a great device once configured, does all I need from it, and it should be said that, the extra screen size compared to my old Wave makes a difference when web browsing, which I do a lot of. Once ICS is available for the Xperia I imagine it will again be like a new phone. I would’ve liked to see MSN / Windows Live messenger resident, but I with it being a ‘droid, it makes sense that only gmail messenger was there.
I fear this comes off as quite a negative missive, which I don’t mean it to be. It’s just that, even the build of the Wave feels better. For multitasking, and camera shots, the Sony makes mincemeat of the Wave, as it should, but, and again this sounds bad, I suppose the most defining thing is that, I will still carry my Wave around with me, as a purely Wifi enabled device, and probably will use that, rather than the Xperia when out, and keep the Xperia for home use mostly. It’s not a phone I feel like I can show off and be smug about, but it does what I want of it, and now it’s configured, it does do it better than the Wave. Fortunately I live in a world where now I have both! Time will tell if the Xperia enamors itself to me in the same way as the Wave did!