The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is an update of the winning formula that Sony Ericsson found with the original Xperia Arc. With its powerful predecessor only released earlier this year and proving a roaring success, the manufacturer has been quick to capitalise and has launched this new addition to the Xperia range with some small but significant improvements.
One thing thing that hasn’t changed from the previous incarnation is the design of the bodywork. The Arc S is identical to the Arc, without even having any extra logos to mark it out from the earlier model. However, this is no bad thing – it’s a fantastic looking phone and its unique, arched back makes it look very distinctive and sleek. It feels a little unusual to hold at first since many of us will be used to more traditionally-shaped smartphones but it doesn’t take long to get used to it and once you do it feels natural to hold.
It’s only 8.7mm thick and the arch of the back makes it look even thinner. The handset weighs in at 117g so it’s also light and this great bit of design manages to look good without taking any attention away from the big touchscreen display.
That screen is 4.2-inches in size with a resolution of 480×854 pixels and produces bright crystal clear images. Detractors will comment that it isn’t as good as Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus display but it’s still really impressive and one of the best available on an Android phone at present. It has Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine too which makes for very crisp, well-defined images and also reduces light reflection from the screen. Sony’s Reality Display is present too – secondary screen layered beneath the touchscreen’s surface which further adds to image reproduction.
As for physical buttons, they are kept to a minimum with three narrow keys positioned below the main display covering the usual basic functions. They’re well designed and in keeping with the minimal styling of the handset and are not i9ntrusive in any way, barely taking up any space on the front facia. The only let down in the design stakes is the fact that the sleek casing is made of shiny, cheap-looking plastic – we can’t help but feel something more sophisticated could have been used to finish off the phone’s appearance.
Power and Operating System
Sony Ericsson has improved the processing speed with the Arc S and the device now features a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, upgraded from Arc’s 1GHz CPU It’s only single-core though, but is more than capable of doing what the OS asks of it without any lag.
The Arc S runs Android 2.3.4 with Sony Ericsson’s Xperia UI layered over the top to bring some impressive graphical elements to Google’s platform. As with most high-end smartphones, the bundled browersw comers with full Flash support allowing users to watch animations and YouTube videos without having to use a separate client. It also has the latest version of Sony Ericsson’s Timescape which groups social networking updates and displays them in one stream so that each digital missive can be read from the one location, be they on Twitter, Facebook or in text message form.
The big display coupled with the Mobile Bravia Engine makes websites look great on the Arc S and the processor is fast enough to turn everything over without any problems. It’s worth noting that sites with a lot of text are particularly easy to read on the Arc S, something that many similarly positioned handsets fall down on. The inclusion of Flash support and tabbed browsing also adds immeasurably to the experience.
The original Arc’s camera has been upped to 8 megapixels with the new version and it also has Sony’s Exmor R CMOS sensor which allows the capture of good quality images in low light settings, images that are done justice by the phone’s display. It can also record video at 720p with continuous autofocus. There’s 1GB of internal storage which is expandable to upto 32GB via microSD card.
Other Tech Specs
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- Wi-Fi 802.11
- Document viewer
- Digital compass
- Standard battery, Li-Po 1500 mAh
The Arc S isn’t a massive improvement on the original Arc and the fact that it has a single-core processor seems strange in light of the number of dual-core phones currently being produced by rival manufacturers The design of the handset is brilliant but it is let down slightly by the plastic finish.
Although it isn’t a big difference to its predecessor, the improvements in the Arc S have been chosen well. The processor may only be a single-core but its 1.4GHz speed is welcome and the camera, with its 8 megapixels and excellent sensor, makes the phone capable of producing some really good images. The design of the bodywork isn’t anything that wasn’t there on the original Arc but that doesn’t detract from how good it looks, especially with the big, bright screen up front. Overall, the Arc S is a sleek and sophisticated addition to the Xperia range.