The Xperia P is a quad-band GSM phone and you have all the basic connectivity options covered like 3G, Wi-Fi, DLNA, NFC, Bluetooth, etc. Connecting the phone to the PC puts it automatically in MTP mode. You can use it with the companion suite as well, although that’s not needed. The advantage of MTP mode over mass storage is that you can still use the internal memory while you’re transferring data. The stock browser is not the best of the lot since it’s a Gingerbread browser. Webpages are rendered well and text and images appear sharp and crisp. However, it's not the best screen, size-wise, for browsing due to the narrow form factor of the phone.
Plenty of bundled apps
Typing on the Xperia P can be a bit of a task if you have large hands. The keyboard is quite comfortable in landscape mode, but it gets very cramped in portrait mode. Also, the word prediction is not very good and keeps suggesting the wrong words. You’re better off using a third-party keyboard like Swiftkey.
Sony bundles all the essential apps needed to get you started. They've bundled OfficeSuite (only for viewing Office documents), and Media Remote that lets you use your phone as a remote control with Wi-Fi-enabled Sony TVs. You also get WisePilot, NeoReader, Stopwatch, World Clock, etc.
You can activate the 8 MP camera by simply holding down the shutter button. Capturing a photo is quick with almost no lag from the time you hit the button to when the photo is taken. You can choose between tap-to-focus, tap-to-capture and many other modes. Sony has also added a 3D Sweep Panorama, similar to the one seen in their digicams. This doesn’t always work right though and can lead to some pretty weird photos. Normal panorama works well and is quick in stitching the photos together and saving them. The camera sensor does a good job outdoors, where there’s plenty of natural light. Macro shots are very good and the camera quickly focuses on the subject.
Plenty of options to tinker around with
The Xperia P can do video in 1080p with continuous auto-focus. While the captured video has a solid frame rate, it takes time for the auto-focus to kick in and re-adjust. It could have been a little quicker as you have to wait for a few seconds until your subject is in focus, if you’re moving. The video can be viewed directly on an HDTV via the HDMI port.
Captures good detail
Macro mode, with flash
The Sony Xperia P is fitted with a non-removable 1305 mAh battery which lasted around seven hours in our video drain test. It didn't fare so well in our loop tests, which included 1.5 hours of calling, two hours of audio, two hours of video and finally, one hour of audio streaming. The battery life is not outstanding, but it’s pretty good and will easily last you more than a day if you go easy on the data usage.
Verdict and Price in India
At Rs. 24,500, the Sony Xperia P doesn’t really have much competition at its price point, so it’s pretty much hogging all the limelight. You have the Lumia 800, but there’s no point going down that road. The only real alternative is the unofficially available Galaxy Nexus and that’s that one I’d pick in a heartbeat. I didn’t find anything that’s majorly wrong with the Xperia P. Sure, it has its share of niggles like the daft keyboard, bad placement of the side buttons, etc., but it also does fare very well in the display department, has really good media capabilities, a great camera and a compact form factor. How do you decide then? Simple, if you have small hands and like a sugar-coated UI, go for the Xperia P. Else, just get the Galaxy Nexus and stay ahead of the curve.