It’s not out to replace your handheld consoles.
The Xperia Play, from both a design and marketing point of view, is one of the most misunderstood smartphones in recent history. I’ll get this out of the way first so nobody makes the wrong assumption reading further into this review: the Xperia Play is not a PSP (Go) attached to an Android phone. The Xperia Play is simply and Android phone with the added functionality of a full on gamepad.
So let’s begin from the outside. The Xperia Play that we got was white in color, and with the big screen and chrome finishes on either side of the handset, it certainly looked classy to say the least. On the front you’ll also notice actual buttons for the Home and menu selections. Personally I prefer this to touch sensitive menu buttons on my Google Nexus One since I find navigating the mobile better with tactile feedback. Of course, there’s always the off chance to hit one of these touch-sensitive buttons by mistake, which doesn’t happen on the Xperia Play.
Moving along the edges, the left side houses the charging/data transfer port and the headset jack, while the right side has the volume control and the shoulder buttons. Sliding open the Xperia Play will reveal the real cause for delight, the full controller which houses the D-pad, the PlayStation face buttons along with the Start & Select buttons. Of course, let’s not forget the two touch-sensitive “thumbsticks”, which will feel surreal at first, but you’ll soon get used to them as they feel like virtual analog pads on a touchscreen.
Enough on the outside, let’s talk about what the Xperia Play holds on the inside. First off, the Qualcomm 2nd generation 1GHz Snapdragon CPU with the Adreno 205 GPU is nothing to sneeze at. The internal memory of 512MB as well as 512MB of storage (of which 400MB is available to end users) puts it competitively amongst other Android Gingerbread phones. Perhaps not as strong as the iPhone 4 on pixel pushing level, but the Xperia Play should be adequate for most modern Android games.