Sony wasn't kidding around when they said they would only make smartphones and abandon feature phones completely. But we feel they’ve reached a point where it’s a little ridiculous now and they seem to be getting really sloppy with their launches. A case in point is the Xperia ion, a phone that shouldn’t exist, but still does, only because Sony was too lazy to think things through when designing their high-end model the first time around. On paper, it’s nothing more than the Xperia S wrapped in a metal chassis with a microSD card slot. Is it really just this or is there anything more to justify the huge price premium? Let’s find out.
Sony has ditched the plastic chassis and gone with a more sophisticated look with the ion. The phone is encased in metal with plastic bits on the top and bottom for the radios to function. The curved back and smooth finish add some flair to an otherwise blocky design. Dimensions and weight wise, it’s nearly identical to the Xperia S so you won’t notice much of a difference. Sony has fitted a slightly larger 4.6-inch screen on the ion as compared to the 4.3-inch one on the Xperia S. It still has the same HD resolution and is an LED-backlit LCD with scratch-resistant glass.
Sleek and stylish
This is Sony’s first high-end smartphone to ship with Android Ice Cream Sandwich out-of-the-box but due to their own skin, there are plenty of hiccups in overall performance. You’ll notice slight lags when browsing through home screens or apps right from the get go. And it’s not like the phone is a slouch; it’s powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 SoC used in the Xperia S.
Same as before
The media player is the new revamped one we’ve seen on the new NXT line of Xperia phones but once again, since this is ICS, Sony has changed the graphics and layout slightly. The music player widget now also displays album art and Sony has added a lock screen widget as well, allowing you to skip songs without having to unlock the screen. You get a 5-band graphic equalizer along with a bunch of presets and some other audio enhancements. The sound quality is very good though and the bundled headset provides good ambient noise isolation. The speaker on the other hand is just plain horrible for anything other than notification tones. Even with XLoud on, the sound is flat and very weak and the EQ is no help here.
Speakers are not very good
The video player is a little disappointing since you only get the stock Android player, which only plays MP4 and WMV. You do have options to stream video via DLNA though. The Xperia ion handles 1080p videos like a champ without skipping a frame. HD videos look especially good due to the densely packed screen. Colour reproduction is accurate and colours are rich and well saturated, without going overboard. Format support can be expanded via third party players from the Play store.
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