Sony has formally announced a new flagship smartphone today in India, called Xperia Ion. This all new Xperia NXT series smartphone features a 4.6-inch Sony’s own Reality display with 720p HD native resolution and a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm mobile processor. Sony Mobile has packed all possible technologies that they have till now like the xLOUD, Mobile Bravia Engine, PlayStation certification, Exmor R sensor, and much more. We got lucky to get our hands on the Sony Xperia Ion smartphone.
First obviously visible aspect of the Xperia Ion is the size – it indeed is a large smartphone with great screen real-estate. The Xperia ion has a 4.6-inch touchscreen display built by Sony and is branded as the Reality Display. By default, this massive display supports 1280×720 pixel resolution natively. The HD Reality Display in this device is claimed to be scratch resistant but we would believe in more if we get the device for proper testing.
It has a metallic back and carries the typical Sony aesthetic design. Apparently, it does not have the transparent button bar found in the other Xperia NXT devices.
Sony has added its Mobile Bravia Engine that makes the images and videos look better and sharp with this setting enabled by default. The screen has great viewing angles and offers sharp text. So if you are a voracious reader, then you won’t mind reading text on this smartphone for long hours. However, the screen obviously does not stand higher or with but is in a way little short of the S-LCD 2 used in the HTC One X.
The larger screen estate is always welcome and has been implemented keeping the camera as well as the PlayStation Certified gaming action. Meanwhile, multimedia buffs can watch their favourite movies and TV shows.
Under the hood, the Xperia ion houses a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8260 mobile processor and packs 1 GB RAM. This smartphone’s graphics are powered by Qualcomm Adreno 220 graphics which offers the capability to record videos in full 1080p HD resolution.
The Xperia Ion has a 12 megapixel Exmor R image sensor at the back in the top-center with a flash under it. The camera software offers usual sets of adjustments you can make before taking a photo. Just to point out, that it is not out of the box camera which means you will have to fiddle around with settings to get the best quality images. The camera software used in the Xperia Ion is certainly sleek and one can take a photo in less than three seconds from the lock screen.
This phone is perfect example for busting the megapixel myths that higher megapixel is not always the best quality. While using the indoor environments, quite a bit of image noise was spotted in the images while taking a normal close up. We believe that the camera firmware can be tweaked a bit but not sure how that will reduce the obvious noise visible in several areas of the photo. However, we would not hold that against the phone and shall wait to test out a retail unit or an update that fixes those issues if any way possible.
The front facing 1.3 megapixel camera is capable of recording 720p HD videos and also engaging into video chat with different apps.
Sony has also added its host of audio-centric technologies and software to deliver greater audio output. For the music lovers, the Walkman player software never fails to please with the adjustable equaliser that has bunch of presents and capability to make a custom preset. For the Walkman, Sony has added its xLOUD volume enhancement engine and needs to be enabled for poor sounding audios to make them more pleasant.
In terms of software, it was indeed pleasant to note that it will be released with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich update with a flavour of TimeScape UI on top of it that brings along the Sony Themes. The good part was to learn that the Android 4.0 ICS build in this phone will have the latest Android Kernel version 3.0 which is based on latest possible Linux Kernel.
On the other hand, rest of the existing 2011 Xperia line up will be getting Android 4.0 ICS update based on the Android Kernel 2.6 version. The difference lies in the way how it handles the overall system performance and most importantly – power management.
Sony has thankfully packed a 1900 mAh lithium-ion battery in the Xperia Ion to make it run for as long as possible. We certainly would like to test out if this smartphone actually fairs well with that battery.
Sony Xperia ion has been introduced in India for Rs 36,999 with a special offer for the Airtel users.