Cheap branded smart phone from Sony, still relevant

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Date: 2014-02-26

This smart phone belongs to Xperia NXT line and refers to the mid-range segment. It appeared on sale in summer 2012, at the moment the model has become a little bit outdated, but still hasn’t lost its relevance. In design this model repeats flagman-rank Sony Xperia S, but unlike the flagman-rank one it has metal body (anodized aluminum), and not plastic one, which is of course the plus. We can refer this model to branded, as the body is not just metallic, it is constructed from a whole peace of due to laser cut method, it looks very stylish. By the way, it’s noticeable if look closer at any holes of the body.

I’ll start with the packaging. It is an ordinary cardboard box, with one more black box inside, like an envelope. We open it and see the smart phone itself, battery charger, USB-cable for computer and charging, headset with a standard 3.5 connector. Surely no case is included in the complete set. But alas, it’s already a norm for the majority of makers, unfortunately.
I’d like to list in brief the characteristics of the smart phone.
– Dual-core processor ST-Ericsson NovaThor U8500, operating at a frequency of 1000 MHz.
– Video — GPU Mali-400MP
– Operating system Android 4.0
– Capacitive touch screen display of 4 inch diagonal and 540×960
resolution – RAM of 1GB
– Built-in memory of 16GB( out of which 11GB are available for user) – Lines of communication: GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz. 3G UMTS HSPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz.
– Bluetooth v2.1 EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, GPS, AGPS, NFC, DLNA, HDMI
– FM-radio, G-sensor, compass, proximity sensor, light sensor
– 8 MPs camera, auto focus, LED flash
– Lithium-ion battery for 1320mAh
– Dimensions 122x 59,5 x 10,5 mm – weight 122 g.
Because of the fact that the body is completely solid, metallic and firm, there is no and there can’t be any gaps or creaks. Even more so, that there is also no detachable cover, the construction turned out to be very rigid. Of course the battery is not removable due to the same reason. By the way, the body is matted, which is very well, as fingerprints are less noticeable on it and it slides in hand less during hot summer. Especially on silvery one, no fingerprints or dirtying are visible at all. On the whole, the design is stylish and elegant. It will be right for people that put the look on the first place when choosing a smart phone.
It can’t be understood, but the maker has deprived the smart phone of memory card slot. And taking into account its little available space for user (11GBs) you get nonsense. What is 11GBs in our days, almost nothing? You install software, several games and there is no space left, just makes me laugh. By that the smart phone is advertised as powerful, able to play HD videos and run “heavy” games. But in fact, you won’t be able to do that simply due to the fact you don’t possess free space, as good, graphically large game weighs 2-3 GBs, and HD video also weighs a lot.
I’d also like to mention the slot for SIM cards. It is covered by a cork of flap-type, which won’t last long when being used frequently. Secondly, the SIM card is from any side put into a slot, and it means that you can spoil the slot and all the telephone very easily. At that there are no directions on the way from which side you should place your SIM card. The back lower part is done in the form of a single little panel, it’s detachable, but it is senseless, as it doesn’t give access to anything, the battery is non-removable, there is no memory card slot there. The SIM card is also in other place, generally, it is a strange element, and I would say a constructor’s miscalculation.
But it has HDMI connector, though it is a doubtful plus for everyday life. All control buttons are located on the right side, and all the connectors on the left. There is even a separate button to activate the camera. Moreover, this button for camera activates it even from blocked position of the smart phone; this is very convenient and useful option, which allows you not to miss anything interesting and be in time to capture this. On/off smart phone button is located on the side now. It’s a very pleasant point as it is very inconvenient to use the upper button, I don’t know who initially made it fashionable to place this button on the top, but it was the worst idea. Here on the top, you’ll only find a headset connector.
The display is protected by a non-finger-printed as well as non-scratching glass, but it doesn’t seem to be gorilla glass, it’s something else instead. Above the display we see a speaker, front camera and different touch sensors. By the way, the little slot for speaker isn’t covered with protective gauze. The fabric is seen at once, literally in a few months all this is safely becomes clogged with dirt and dust, especially if you don’t use the cover. The very display of 4 inches is a baby according to modern standards, though a year or two ago it was a large display. But instead, it is convenient to carry with, as it is suitable for any pocket.
The TFT type of screen is made with the help of White Magic technology. Personally for me TFT already puts an end to any device, it is a relic of the past and it’s high time for everyone to forget about such type of displays. But we have what we have, so let’s look into it. White Magic technology means that the image is formed with the help of 4 sub-pixels, not 3 as it is usually. Three standard sub-pixels include: red, green, dark blue and here Sony also added white sub-pixel. As if this should help to reduce power consumption of the display, because only one white sub-pixel takes part in construction of white color and not all three like in traditional types of screens.
There are also two modes of display work: outdoors and indoors. “Outdoors” mode is characterized by maximum brightness, so that it would be easier to perceive information in sunny weather, and “indoors” mode accordingly has a normal brightness.
One more jack concerning picture is Mobile Bravia Engine function, which is designed to improve the quality of picture. But in my opinion, this is the simplest marketing trick that is reached with banal increase of contrast, saturation and sharpness. That’s normal; a good smart phone should have all this by default, not counting standard ordinary settings. They should be marked by special marker, well where can we ever go without marketers, nothing will be sold without them.
Of course multi-touch is also present. The very sensor of the screen is very good, it clearly reacts on fingers, and there are almost no fake operations. Generally, the screen is good, though it is TFT. I’ll tell the following thing, from all TFTs, which I have ever seen – it is one of the best, but it still doesn’t reach the level of IPS. Although, it has minimal deterioration of picture quality under declination, that’s viewing angles are really almost like IPS.
Control buttons of the smart phone are below the display, right on semi-transparent strip, they are sensor by the way, and one says that in flagman-rank version they weren’t allowed to touch, and you had to do that from above. While here there are no difficulties of this kind, you may directly press drawn buttons, though, in any case sensor option is ‘nicht gut’. And it will be difficult to use the smart phone lying on a table, as the back cover is not even, but is a bit convex. Therefore, the smart phone leans one way and the other when being used.
But at the same time, they have chosen very right place for the speaker, it is on the side edge, so it is very difficult to block it with hands using any operating ways of the device. But still the battery is very weak, even with such a small screen and resolution, the processor is rather powerful and these poor 1320 mAh surely won’t be enough.
Here is another example of marketing tricks, which you may check. It is xLoud technology – the function of increasing speaker’s volume. Turn the sound on to maximum, turn xLoud function and play some music, then turn xLoud off and play music once again – you’ll get absolutely the same thing. On the whole, the external loud speaker is a bit poor, the sound is not loud and has many high frequencies, and it seems to lack medium and bass voices at all. Still, the auditory speaker is wonderful and you hear your interlocutor perfectly as the speech is transferred clearly. The volume is more than enough; you certainly won’t need its maximum level
One more positive point concerning the sound is the presence of three different embouchures in a complete set with in-ear headphones. It means that headphones will be right for ears of all sizes. And the very sound in headphones is quite good, if taking into account that these are standard, supplied earphones. In expensive headphones perception of quality of sound is even better, sound processor gives all the sound it is able to give, for the smart phone the level is very nice. There is a built-in equalizer and of course it’s an advantage and possibility to set in the sound to your taste. FM-radio also works without problems, but only with headphones connected.
Further I’d like to describe the camera; photos from 22 to 48s are taken by the main camera of the smart phone. Camera of 8MPs, maximum resolution of photos of 3264×2448. Video shooting characteristics are also on a high level for 2012, camera shoots in Full HD with resolution of 1080×1920 pixels. Auto focus works rather exactly, overshoots rarely. This camera has one more jack, you may have shooting by pressing the camera side button on the smart phone. Right from blocked state of the smart phone, the camera not only turns on, but will make a shooting, so this is very useful and convenient function.
The camera also can capture panoramas, but the quality is so-so, resolution is low. All in all, the function operates correctly, but shots are unsatisfactory even for 2012, not telling about 2014.
In general, Sony has got a strange situation with cameras. Almost any maker of smart phone uses Sony picture sensors in their devices, while the quality of shots is different here and there, and program processing decides a lot. But the Sony itself working on it original sensors get moderate photos. This smart phone still has not bad installed camera, but there are more upgraded models, where it is just an entire mare.
If we briefly characterize photos, I would say that for 2012 they are quite good, but there were smart phones that take photos better, for example HTC One X of the same year and other devices. But surely for 2014 such a quality of photos is inappropriate; a lot of noise, blurriness, and small details are difficultly seen. The white balance often works incorrectly; you usually have too brightened snapshots, and when illumination slightly falls down – the amount of noise drastically increases. You may not even talk about night shooting as it is officially possible, but considering lack of image stabilizer, you’ll have all photos blurred, not to mention wild amount of noise. I have chosen a few good night shots out of great amount of unlucky, take a look yourself.
I would like to focus on performance a bit more. Dual-core processor ARMv7, operating on frequency of 1 GHz, it will actually be enough even for 2014 for most of the tasks and lots of games. Unfortunately, we don’t have an opportunity to choose the version of this smart phone at least with 32 GBs of memory, as 16 GB out of which only 11 are available for user is nothing. I would like to note that really nothing freezes on the smart phone from apps from 2013 and 2014, as both the very android and majority of applications, which are used by ordinary users.
And there are real problems with the battery. Even for 2012 the volume of 1320 mAh wasn’t enough, and especially now, when games have become more resource-intensive, as well as many applications. Generally speaking, when being used actively the phone battery works half a day to the most, about 5-8 hours if you’re lucky. If you launch a powerful game then you’ll destroy it within hour or two. The smart phone is charged like any other, no miracle so much promised by the maker happened with the charger. Well, it may be a little bit faster than similar devices, but not drastically. 1.5-2 and the battery are fully charged, iPhone also charges exactly the same time.
All in all, technical parameters don’t impress you; even in 2012 this smart phone was bought by people that cared about its look + tempting sign of Sony. But geeks could pass by, the OS was weak, and for this moment it is morally old on the whole, though physically the smart phone is more than enough for common activity even for now. All in all, the device can’t be called bad. On the secondary market literally it costs pennies, I guess you may buy alive one for 200$, the device in perfect state and it will make you glad for year or two. In my opinion, it is just right as a temporary option.

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Author: Den
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Comments

  1. Tony 21 May 2014 :

    I am absolutely satisfied with this phone because it`s function are really of high quality. The camera works great and shots are very vivid and colorful. The only thing that still surprises me is its price. Why is it so cheap?

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