Sony Xperia sola review
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By Tan Ming Sin
22 May 2012 – This is Sony’s first batch of smartphone (after their acquisition of Ericsson), the Sony Xperia S, U, P and Sola. While the flagship model is the Xperia S, the one with the “floating touch” display is the Xperia Sola. Read on to find out more about the Xperia Sola.
At a glance:
-No secondary camera
Exterior, Controls and Screen
The Xperia Sola does have a unique design when you compare it to the Xperia NXT series (almost all the NXT series look alike). However, this also means that it lacks the metal finish on the back of the phone. It is replaced with a hard-plastic which seems to be prone to scratches. Nonetheless, it is lighter than the NXT series making it easier to hold.
It comes with 3.7-inch display screen with 480 x 854 pixels. Pretty standard since the combination gives a ~265ppi pixel density. Be reminded that Xperia Sola is not meant for high Performance or graphic display. However, the phone still manages to display the floating touch finely on the home screen. More on floating technology later.
You may want to take note of this; the Xperia Sola does not support micro-SIM. It supports the mini-SIM size which we used before the entry of iPhone 4. However, Sony did provide you with the mini-SIM bracket where you can place your micro-SIM onto it. On the top of the SIM slot, you will find the microSD card slot. Beside it on the right is the 5-megapixel camera. The volume rocker is on the bottom right of the phone. Below it is the camera button. The lock/unlock button is on the top left of the phone. It works as the switch-off button as well. The 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the top of the phone. The speaker is located bottom back of the phone.
Software, Application and Games
The Xperia Sola runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). So in most cases it supports whatever (apps and games) you have been using for the earlier version of Android. There is news that there will be an Android 4.0 update (Ice Cream Sandwich). However, we are expecting the update to reach the Xperia NXT series first before it is available for the Xperia Sola.
The floating technology is probably your main interest in this phone. It indeed doesn’t require your finger to touch the screen. You can hover your finger by 20mm above the screen and it will still track your finger movement. However, as for now, the floating technology only works on the home screen (shifting the colour wave) and Sony’s proprietary browser. You can simply hover your finger across website links and it will automatically highlight. As “magical” as it is quoted, I sometimes find it hard to estimate that 20mm above screen especially when I am already used to touch-the-screen to get to where I want. However, it is mentioned that the upcoming ICS upgrade will enable third-party developer to utilise the floating technology in their own app as well. We may yet see the best from this technology. For more info on how the floating technology works, click here.
Camera, Video and Audio
The Xperia Sola offers up to 5-megapixels picture quality for photo shooting. From our experience of using it, the 5-megapixel photos display finely on the Xperia Sola 3.7-inch display screen with 480 x 854 pixels. Compared to the Nokia 808 Pureview with 41-megapixels picture quality but displayed on just 4.0-inch display screen with 360 x 640 pixels, the Xperia Sola makes a better combination. However, the camera button does not work as a shortcut key. Instead, it is just for the purpose of capturing picture. Not even for video recording.
The video and audio are pretty standard. The video recording can support up to 720p video quality and there is 5GB of user accessible Internal storage at your expense. The speaker is located at the bottom back, so it is not a good idea to place it flat on if you are listening through the speaker.
The Xperia Sola does not offer high-end specs, however you sure can look forward to its floating technology. What we can say is that the Xperia Sola is still not at its best. Nonetheless, at a price of RM999, you can consider it pretty good value for money.
Overall, the Xperia Sola has entry-level specs that suit its price.