Hands-On: Sony Xperia TL
Sony's latest Android smartphone for AT&T is the Xperia TL. This LTE-equipped device has a solid screen and some personality in the design. Here are our first thoughts.
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The Xperia TL is a variant of the Xperia T. The T is being sold overseas, while the TL is a version specifically for AT&T. They look the same, the only difference is support for AT&T's LTE network in the U.S.
The design is certainly unique. Sony is bringing back the arc shape, but it's a reverse arc. The bottom of the phone has curved edges that are thinnest at the middle points of the sides and are thickest at the corners. It sort of gives the TL four feet when placed on its back.
This design choice makes the TL a really good phone to hold in your hand, but not so good for stuffing in your pocket. I really enjoy how the curves and matte materials feel against the palm of my hand. It has a good weight and a nice balance to it. Sticking it in your pocket is an entirely different story. The four "feet" (such as they are) feel prominent in against your leg.
The controls of the device are overly fussy, which is typical for a Sony device. The buttons have a cheap feel to them and don't offer satisfying travel and feedback. The hatch that covers the SIM card and microSD card on the right edge, in particular, practically falls off when you touch it.
The fit and finish was not what I'd call amazing. It has some creaky plastics and was not firmly put together. We can only hope that the production devices will be more solid.
The display is excellent. It's bright, vibrant, and 1280 x 720 pixels. It really looked clear and crisp, with sharp graphics. Some sample movies looked impressive on the display.
Performance was decent. I can't complain about screen transitions or app performance on the units they had on hand.
Will this phone sell well? Perhaps. As long as the final units are manufactured with a greater degree of quality control, it has potential.
The Xperia TL is the latest LTE 4G smartphone from Sony for AT&T. The TL's defining features are its 13-megapixel camera and association with the James Bond movie "Skyfall." Those two features barely scratch the surface, however.
Oct 25, 2012
AT&T today announced that the Sony Xperia TL will be available online and in stores beginning November 2. It will cost $99.99 with a new two-year agreement.
Oct 1, 2012
AT&T today announced the Sony Xperia TL, an Android 4.0 smartphone that includes a 4.6-inch 1280 x 720 HD display with Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine. The TL, which is sold as the Xperia T in other markets, features a 13-megapixel camera with a quick-launch feature, and can capture 1080p HD video.
Mar 12, 2013
AT&T today announced that the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update is now available to the Sony Xperia TL. Some of the stand-out features include a new data usage calculator, more useful messaging notifications, a new camera interface with improved HDR shooting, and an improved battery management tool.
Dec 17, 2012
Sony today provided an update to its Jelly Bean distribution timeline. According to Sony, the Xperia T, TX, and V will receive Android 4.1 in February and March as planned.