Introducing the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, one of Sony Ericsson’s latest flagship (and unlocked) devices to make its way into the US compatible with AT&T’s network. If you’ll recall, SE already released the Xperia Arc overseas with a single core 1 GHz Snapdragon and was touted as one of the thinnest Android devices to hit the market. Well, SE now gives you the Xperia Arc S, its quick follow up to the original Xperia Arc only this time with a few beefed up changes under the hood. The Arc S is still as slim as its predecessor coming in at 8.7 mm thin giving an overall appearance that it’s even thinner thanks to its convex design. The device is nearly identical to the original Arc and still sports a 4.2-inch capacitive touch display but now offers a slightly higher clocked CPU at 1.4 GHz (still a single core Snapdragon by Qualcomm). There are also a few extra bonuses with this model which we’ll get to later on, such as Sony’s added 3D sweep panorama feature, which allows you to create 3D still shots that you can view on your big screen at home. We’ll see if this is something that can set the Arc S apart from the competition however. If you haven’t checked out our initial hands-on, don’t forget to do so here.
The overall design of the Arc S is pretty satisfying as it comes in at a nicely thin 8.7 mm’s. With a convex design, the device deservedly earns its Arc title. And though the arced chrome arch is a bit of an optical illusion, making the device look even thinner than it is, it did the job and the hardware looks slim, sleek and offers an overall great contemporary design. We reviewed the black model for the site, however, the device is also being offered in a nice white finish or sliver for those getting a bit tired of the everyday black slate. Overall, the hardware of the device was satisfactorily sturdy. The back plate of the device feels a bit “flimsy” at times but overall it was sturdy enough not to really pay attention to it much. On top of the device you’ll find on the left hand side the power button. For some odd reason SE went with a rather small round button (see pic), a little too small for our liking and not protruded enough. We found that our finger had to do a little song and dance to finally push the button all the way down effectively. Still on the top, the right side hides an HDMI out port for video playback on the big screen or any other compatible device. Also on the back plate you’ll find typical SE nomenclature such as the “Xperia” line name and SE’s green and silver logo. While on the back still, we’ll note that there is an 8 mp camera accompanied by a single round LED flash. The front side houses the 4.2-inch capacitive touch display (480 x 854 and (~233 ppi pixel density). In addition, you’ll find “Sony Ericsson” across the top of the device and just under the receiver. The device only sports three buttons at the bottom, shying away from the typical four button device we’re used to seeing. And though it took some getting used to, the three button layout wasn’t all that bad and kept things simple. Though at times I found myself begging for the search button. Back, Home and Menu button’s are all that’s present, excluding the ever popular search button that you can use within specific apps and not just on the web. Under those buttons you’ll see the “Xperia” name. The left side of the device sports a 3.5 mm headphone jack and nothing else to show off its curves while the right side of the handset touts the charging port, volume rocker (kind of small) and dedicated camera key (two stage). The bottom of the device offers a camera loop strap hole and microphone.
Battery life on this device was surprisingly and pleasantly well. It virtually took forever to run the device down for a recharge. I immediately hopped onto my WiFi network upon receiving the handset as service was not readily available by AT&T. The Arc S ships with a 1500 mah Li-Po battery which touts up to 460 hours of stand-by time and just over 7 hours of talk time. During this review I can definitely attest that battery life was not an issue for this device. We think overall on a daily basis the handset should meet your needs and give you a good full day’s charge before having to hop back on the charging port. During testing, I watched several trailers on YouTube (Avengers and John Carter looks awesome), retrieved tons of email, updated social networks and even caught a couple of episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix
Call Quality & Speaker Phone:
While we were unable to test the call quality due to a lack of an active SIM by AT&T, we can attest that the speaker quality on the device wasn’t too bad. We found some gritty sounds here and there but otherwise the device played music cleanly and clearly for the most part. I tested the audio using Amazon’s MP3 player app as well as the Google Music app of which I have several pieces of music stored in the cloud. Overall, the device would serve well streaming at the office or at home attached to some hefty house speakers.
Camera & Camcorder
Design, it’s slim, great screen size (4.2-inch), rich media applications and functions.