Sony has gone all out with their new Xperia line-up. The company recently announced a slew of handsets - the Xperia S, the U, the Go, the Acro S, the Miro, the Tipo, the P, and the Xperia Sola. In terms of design these phones boast of much better quality materials than their previous line up, which is definitely a step ahead for the Japanese giants. The Sola has an interesting spec sheet - a dual-core processor, a 3.7-inch BRAVIA display, a good price tag and NFC. While the last spec is still in its nascent stages in India, the company, in a bid to get its users to experience NFC, has bundled in a bunch of NFC tags that let you perform certain actions. The Xperia Sola looks like a neat bundle, but looks aren’t everything, or are they? Let’s find out.
Video review of the Xperia Sola
Enter the Xperia Sola with Hover touch
Design and Build quality
The Xperia Sola doesn’t come with the light strip that the other phones had, which is only a good thing, as it would have made the form factor more prolonged. It bears a similar look and feel to the other phones that we reviewed earlier, the Xperia S and the Xperia U. The phone comes in a matte black outfit that helps keep fingerprints at bay whilst also providing a good amount of grip with the rubbery feel. The top part that houses the screen is made of glossy plastic and feels superimposed on the rest of the phone. As far as plain looks are concerned, the Xperia Sola has a boxy appearance to it, but that’s not a let down in any way. Next, a quick tour of the device.
5 mp camera at the back
In the front is a 3.7-inch display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. There’s the customary three backlit capacitive buttons below and a notification LED and the sensors on top. There’s no front camera though. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is located on the top while the lanyard eyelet is located at the bottom. The left consists of a power button while the right has a microUSB slot, a camera shutter button and a volume rocker. The back consists of a slightly protruding case that houses the 5 megapixel camera. The LED flash and the speaker grill are located at the back as well. We weren’t particularly happy with the placement of the volume rocker as we had to change our hands stance to change the volume. A non removable 1320mAh battery is housed under the hood along with a hot swappable microSD card slot (Thank god!) and a normal sized SIM card slot.
Viewing angles decent
The 107g weight and the 9.9mm thinness mean it’s almost comparable to the HTC One V, that is just 0.7mm thinner than the Sola. In terms of build, there aren’t any flimsy flaps and the buttons have the right amount of feedback, except the camera shutter, which is incredibly hard to press. It’s important to note that the camera grill at the back wasn’t particularly well reinforced as a simple press caused it to bend on the inwards. The Xperia Sola carries on with a similar verdict we had for the earlier Xperias - good but Sony can still up the ante to make their phones feel more premium.
Features and Performance
Sony’s Xperia Sola is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Cortex A9 processor (NovaThor U8500 chipset) and has 512 MB of RAM with 8GB of internal memory, of which 5GB is user accessible. While Jelly Bean has already been announced, the Sola still runs on Android Gingerbread 2.3.7, not even ICS. That’s a shame really and we’re hoping the updates roll out soon. Sony have their custom Timescape UI for their phones and it’s quick and lag free with daily usage. If you’re somebody who installs a lot of memory intensive apps and games, you’ll have to be careful though as it slows down the phone and takes a toll on the battery as well. The Timescape UI is definitely better than the offerings by Samsung and LG but it could take a lesson or two from HTC’s Sense UI.
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