A decent phone that’s marred by occasional performance issues.
When I think of the company Sony, mobile phones don’t necessarily jump to mind. I think of their flagship TVs, the Playstation brand, and their range of Walkman devices. But Sony are keen to be a player in the mobile phone market, which is where their Xperia brand comes in. Their suite of Android-powered phones have been making a few ripples in the market, and Sony have promised to continue improving on their Xperia brand. Their latest model is the Xperia Ion, which I was fortunate enough to bag at their press event last week.
Build quality & design
The Xperia Ion is certainly a handful, and I do mean this literally. The large 4.55” screen is the first thing to grab your attention, and looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to Sony incorporating the same Bravia display technology found in their TVs. The Ion also ditches a plastic body in favor of a large, brushed aluminum backing, so the phone feels quite solid when you’re holding it.
At the bottom of the screen are four buttons for menu, home, back, and search, although it’s more common to see only three buttons for phones running Android Ice Cream Sandwich. The rest of the phone’s buttons can be found on the right hand side, which consists of the power button, volume rocker, and a dedicated camera button which is a nice addition. To the left you’ll find a small slot for the micro-USB charger and a mini-HDMI port, covered by a somewhat finicky plastic cover. At the top you have a centered 3.5mm headphone jack, while the back cover features the 12 megapixel camera and LED flash, along with the loudspeaker grille. There’s also a small cover at the top of the phone that you can slide up to expose the microSD and SIM card slots.
There’s certainly a lot of fanfare around the Xperia Ion, mostly because Sony have tired to pack in every little bit of technology they could find to make the phone as feature-rich as possible. But at the end of the day, it’s just another Android phone like so many others, so you’ll have to read on to see if the Ion does anything differently.
Benchmarks and Performance
The Xperia Ion went through most of the benchmarks without too many hiccups, though it did struggle a little bit in one of the 3D tests. I downloaded EA’s Need For Speed Shift and that ran quite well since the graphics weren’t as demanding. But running Fruit Ninja was a bit of a hit and miss, with the game constantly slowing down when there was a lot of activity on screen.
What does kill the experience a bit are the touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the screen – these didn’t always respond to my taps, no matter how hard or soft I pressed. They’re also not backlit, so good luck tapping the right buttons in dim light.