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Hands-On: Sony Ericsson Xperia arc

Article Comments  2  

Jan 6, 2011, 10:30 PM   by Rich Brome
updated Jan 7, 2011, 7:08 AM

The Sony Ericsson "Xperia arc" is Sony's new flagship Android phone. See how it stacks up in our hands-on report.


The Xeperia arc is one of the thinnest phones we've ever seen, period. Stack on top of that the "Reality" display, speedy processor and high-resolution camera, and this is an impressive amount of tech in a very, very thin package. Of course it's plenty tall and wide, but that's how you get a large display in there. It's not only thin, but extremely light, too. You might not feel it in your pocket.


The extreme light weight lends it a cheap feel, and the glossy all-plastic shell doesn't help, especially as it attracts fingerprints, which it does like a champ. The buttons also feel a bit loose and cheap; this is just not a quality-feeling phone. However it doesn't feel poorly constructed.

We really shouldn't complain about the cheap-feeling keys, because we are quite grateful to see physical keys below the display, as opposed to touch keys. We're also grateful for a dedicated camera key, which is a decent two-stage key for focusing before shooting. But the other keys - volume and lock - are too small and difficult to press.

We will complain, though, that the front keys are too close to the bottom of the phone. The only way they could fit a good camera in a phone this thin is to shift the display down to make room for the camera module at the top, but that means everything is so cramped at the bottom that trying to press a key while holding the phone one-handed is a delicate balancing act that risks dropping the phone. We're also a little puzzled that there's no search key.

Sony made a big deal about its new "Reality" display, branding which sounds suspiciously like Apple's "Retina". The display does, in fact, look very smooth and nice, but brightness could be better, and it's still not quite as nice as Retina. It's above average, but no revolution in phone displays.


Sony has added a lot of little tweaks to make the interface prettier, and a few new features to make it unique. There's a custom music player, the Timescape social widget, and a great camera interface.

arc interface  

The interface is all extremely pretty and we're happy to report that - unlike some previous Xperia models - everything runs smoothly and quickly. It's a joy to navigate through the various features and menus.

The camera interface is one of the best we've ever seen on an Android phone. The options are extensive and easy to use. Also impressive is the fact that the whole interface can be used in either landscape or portrait mode.

About the author, Rich Brome:

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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Jan 10, 2011, 4:40 AM


im excited about this phone..i want it..but i wonder what would happen if youve got a ton of open widgets and then you pinch it hmm.. size of each widget would be smaller?

Jan 8, 2011, 10:02 AM

lets hope they actually release it within a year!

The delay in releasing the x10 was a travesty as it was easily the best Android phone on the market for a long while after it was originally announced.

Unfortunately Sony never bothered to actually release it in a timely manner and it ended up at the bottom of everyones wish-list.

oh well. Maybe they will get it right this time!
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