The Android version used in the Pro is exactly the same as the one on the Arc S with the same features and drawbacks. You can add widgets and apps to the five home screens you have but you cannot add any more home screens than the five you are given. You can create a folder and add all the similar or related apps into it for quick access as well. Just as in the arc S, the Pro lacks a music lock screen so when playing music you still have to click on the lock button, unlock the phone and pause or skip a track. The Pro also has the Timescape UI and app that shows your Facebook, Twitter and other messages in a tile like view on the home screen. As mentioned before the display doesn’t seem to have an Auto Brightness setting so you have to adjust this manually. There is a widget that lets you switch between bright and zero brightness but that is all. The virtual keyboard of the Pro was extremely accurate and easy to use that I found myself rarely using the slider keyboard unless it was a long message I had to send. I found a slight lag on occasion when using the touchscreen but only after I was exiting a resource intensive app or when the phone is coming out of a deep sleep after sometime of non-use.
The Pro uses Google Maps as its primary app for maps, it supports GPS and A-GPS and it found my location within 30 seconds. The screen, while not as big as the arc S, was good enough to be visible while traveling distances just as long as you don’t use it in direct sunlight. The Pro also came with the Wisepilot app but I couldn’t get navigation to work. I found that while I can download the UAE map to my phone, it was in Arabic only, even though I chose English as my language. If I use the online map, I can view it in English but when downloaded, you are given Arabic whether you can read it or not.
I played a lot of games on this phone, Riptide, Tank Hero, Shadowgun, NFS shift and N.O.V.A. 2. The screen was large enough and the graphics were great but the best feature by far was the ability to connect via HDMI to my LED monitor and use the phone as some sort of controller. While I could still see what I was doing on both the phone and monitor, it felt more natural to use the phone as a controller and look at the monitor. The resolution wasn’t great and you can spot the pixels but the idea is great, being able to use your phone as a mini computer to play games, browse the net and watch videos. Mind you the phone did get a little bit hot after 30 minutes of gaming on the big screen. Overall the Xperia Pro is a capable gaming device, the HDMI out is just a bonus. I managed to get about 30 hours out of the phone on standby but less than 8 with gaming (with and without HDMI out), listening to music, browsing the net, taking a few phone calls and with the GPS on at times.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro may not be the lightest phone out there, and it may not be the thinnest or fastest either, but Sony Ericsson weren’t aiming for all those when they built the Xperia Pro. This is a messenger phone, meant for those people who write a lot of messages but also wouldn’t mind a bit of internet browsing, some music while out and about and a few games in their spare time. The Xperia Pro is a very capable phone, multimedia player and handheld gaming device. Despite its chunky looks in a time when phones are getting thinner, it’s lighter than other slider phones. Sony Ericsson are trying to make phones to suit everyone’s needs so if the Xperia Pro suits you, go out and grab one you won’t regret it.