Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play review: Bring your 'A' game

Bring your 'A' game

GSMArena team, 20 April 2011.


With video gaming a sport in its own right, smartphones have no other choice but raise their game too. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play has strong ties to Sony’s gaming rigs, both portable and not, and Sony’s a big name in gaming.

So, what does all this pedigree bring? Games from the original PlayStation for one, with PlayStation 2 titles coming in the near future. The PlayStation Pocket game store comes with 50 games at launch optimized for the Play. You’ll certainly also appreciate the familiar feeling and design of the gaming buttons. .

Sony Ericsson XPERIA PLAY official photos

So, let’s have a look at the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play. They stitched thumbs to the robot: meaning a DualShock controller stitched to a 4” touchscreen in a side-slider form factor. A smartphone version of the PSP Go but with more processing power isn’t far off the truth either. Especially now that the PSP Go is officially discontinued.

Here’s a quick summary of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play:

Key features

  • Side-slider with dedicated gaming controls
  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with HSDPA and HSUPA
  • 4.0" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of FWVGA resolution (480 x 854 pixels)
  • Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread
  • 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging
  • 720p video recording @ 30fps with stereo sound
  • Secondary front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot up to 32GB (8GB card included)
  • Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Voice dialing
  • Adobe Flash 10.2 support
  • Dedicated game store

Main disadvantages

  • CPU and GPU not the best there is
  • Display has relatively poor viewing angles
  • Phone is a bit big for one-handed use
  • Video recording maxes out at WVGA resolution
  • No FM radio
  • No smart dialing
  • No shutter key
  • No video-calling over 3G

That’s the smartphone half of the XPERIA Play equation. It measures up pretty good as a droid and even though it can’t compete with the latest flagships, it’s got more than enough on its spec sheet for day to day use.

Mobile gaming is at an all time high. Everyone carries a phone around and everyone has gaps in their day to fill, making mobile games the time-killer of choice for millions of people.

Those are usually simple games optimized for touchscreen input, usually with just one or two controls. But some want more compelling games and those require more elaborate controls. The XPERIA Play is the first phone in recent years that has the proper hardware controls. The added tactile feedback is a major plus. Android also seems as a nice software platform of choice for its potential.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
Sony Ericsson XPERIA PLAY live shots

Are you ready for round one? You’ll have to complete the hardware inspection of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play to unlock the software.

Reader comments

  • AnonD-618616
  • 09 Dec 2016
  • g0x

well I know this is late but he can still get one used, that's what I did when I got my 2nd one.

  • calvin
  • 13 Apr 2015
  • nI9

They aren't being made anymore, what i'm saying is youvcant get one

  • calvin05cia
  • 13 Apr 2015
  • nI9

This phone is brilliant but they have stopped making them which is why i won't sell mine