Sony Ericsson Xperia Active - Your android-powered training buddy

4/23/2012 6:29:31 PM

If there is one thing lacking in today’s power-packed smartphones, it is the rugged factor. While some devices can scratch easily, or have screens prone to cracking, others have moister entering into exposed ports, making them unsuitable for sweaty activities like exercise. Fortunately, there is a niche category of phones that boast protective casings. One example would be the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active, which positions itself as the ultimate Android smartphone for your active life.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active is one of the most compact phones we have handled so far. However, it does come in rather thick at 16.5mm. This is due to the two battery covers that seal off the internals of the Xperia Active from the elements. The dual protective layers also add to the overall weight of the phone (110.8g). Fortunately, the device still feels rather comfortable in our hands.

Description: Sony Ericsson Xperia Active - Your android-powered training buddy

A unique attribute of the Xperia Active is its wrist strap catch on the bottom right corner of the device. The retail package of the phone comes with a Sony Ericsson-branded wrist strap that feels quite durable, and should come in handy for individuals who want to bring the device along for exercise but are afraid to accidentally drop it.

Powered by Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine, the 3-inch display delivers good color contrast and rich colors. It is a pity that this technology cannot be fully appreciated due to its small screen size. The screen also utilizes a unique wet finger tracking technology that enables you to use the phone normally even if the screen or your fingers are wet. This means that you do not have to worry about rain or perspiration getting in the way of touch screen navigation.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) out of the box with a custom user interface. Users will also be glad to know that the Xperia Active is among the various Xperia devices that will get the Android 4.0 update from end April 2012 onwards.

As a sports-oriented phone, the Xperia Active is preloaded with iMapMyFitness and Walk Mate. White Walk Mate is a simple app that relies on the built-in accelerometer sensor to track the number of steps you take, iMapMyFitness is more advanced in terms of its ability to track your training via GPS.

Two battery covers on the Xperia Active protect its internals against water and dust.

The 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM onboard the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active gave an overall positive user experience that was quite fluid and smooth. apps loaded fairly fast, while the 5-megapixel camera with f/2.6 aperture lens produced images of average quality.

Our battery test also put the Xperia Active in good stead with a mileage of 463 minutes; this is ecpected as the Xperia Active has a rather small screen and a single-core processor.

The Xperia Active is available at a recommended retail price of $498 (inclusive of GST) without contract. Compared to its immediate rival, the Motorola Defy ($528), the Xperia Active is a better alternative for its overall performance and features.

At a glance

Display: 3.0-inch

Camera: 5.0-megapixel

Battery: 1200mAh

Talk time: Up to 331 minutes

Price: $498



Network: GSM 1900 / 1800 / 900 / 850, UMTS HSPA 900 / 2100

Operating system: Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Processor: 1GHz single-core processor

Built in memory: 320MB ROM / 512MB RAM

Display: 3.0-inch TFT touchscreen, 320 x 480 pixels

Camera: 5.0-megapixel / Auto Focus / LED Flash and Photo Light

Video support: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, 3GPP

Audio support: MPEG, ACC, ACC+, eACC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MIDI, PCM, OTA, OGG Vorbis, MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg vorbis, 3.5mm audio output

Connectivity: Built-in GPS with A-GPS and Google Maps / Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support / microUSB 2.0 / WLAN 802.11b/g/n / HSDPA 10.2Mbps

Storage type: 1GB internal (Up to 320MB free) / microSD expandability (up to 32GB)

Standby / talk time: Up to 335 hours / Up to 331 minutes

Dimensions: 92x55x16.5mm

Weight: 110.8g













Verdict: 8.0

Physique: 8.5

Features: 8.0

User-friendliness: 7.5

Performance: 8.0

Value: 8.0


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