Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Smartphone showdown

Which is the better smartphone – Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Arc or Samsung's Galaxy S II?

Samsung responded to Sony Ericsson's claims that the XPERIA Arc was the thinnest smartphone in the world by making the Galaxy S II even thinner: It is just 8.49mm thick, making it likely the thinnest smartphone in the world (at least until another competitor trumps it). The Samsung Galaxy S II has an attractive carbon-like finish on its rear battery cover; in our brief hands-on with the phone it felt both well built and extremely light despite being made mainly from plastic.

Samsung deserves credit for managing to make the Galaxy S II so thin, but we can't help but award the winner here to the XPERIA Arc. Its ergonomic design is both attractive to look at and comfortable to hold and use. Although it is slightly thicker than the Galaxy S II, the extra girth is minimal.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is even thinner than the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc, measuring just 8.49mm thick, and making it likely the thinnest smartphone in the world.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc vs Samsung Galaxy S II: Display

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc has a 4.2in 'Reality display'; this sits alongside other fancy display names including the iPhone 4's 'Retina display', the Samsung Galaxy S II's Super AMOLED Plus' display and the 'Nova display' of the LG Optimus Black. Sony Ericsson claims the Reality display is brighter and clearer than competing displays. The XPERIA Arc also comes with Sony's Mobile Bravia engine which promises image noise reduction, along with sharpness, colour and contrast enhancement.

The Samsung Galaxy S II on the other hand has a 4.3in Super AMOLED Plus display, making it one of the largest touchscreens on an Android phone in Australia alongside the HTC Desire HD. Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus is a refinement of the original Galaxy S' Super AMOLED technology and promises a clearer and brighter image, as well as better battery life.

We haven't had enough time with the XPERIA Arc to determine the impact of the Mobile Bravia Engine and the 'Reality display', but first impressions were very positive. We know the vibrancy and brightness of the Galaxy S II's Super AMOLED Plus screen is going to be tough to beat; especially if the regular Super AMOLED display of the original Samsung Galaxy S is anything to go by.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc vs Samsung Galaxy S II: Software

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc runs the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android operating system. Version 2.3 of Android means the XPERIA Arc has a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface compared to previous versions of Google's mobile platform.

The XPERIA Arc includes Sony Ericsson's Timescape application, which first appeared on the XPERIA X10 Android phone. Timescape groups social networking and phone communications into a single, graphically intense interface; each communication event on the phone forms a 3D box that you simply flick your finger up and down the "spine" to scroll through. However, Sony Ericsson has included Timescape as a regular app rather than integrate it into the XPERIA Arc's UI, and it has also dumped its Mediascape integration. This means the XPERIA Arc is unlikely to suffer the same Android software update delays as the XPERIA X10 did, with the company keen to push out the latest Android updates to the handset as soon as possible.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc includes Sony Ericsson's Timescape application, which groups social networking and phone communications into a single 3D box.

The Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone runs the 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android platform, and features Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI overlay. Samsung-exclusive features include Social Hub, Readers Hub, Game Hub and Music Hub, while enhanced corporate and security functions include the implementation of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, on-device encryption and Cisco's AnyConnect VPN client.

Although both of these smartphones run the Google’s Android 'Gingerbread' operating system, each has a different UI overlay that is intended to enhance the user experience. Samsung's TouchWiz overlay seems a little more involved than Sony Ericsson's but both look appealing in their own way; we particularly like the look of the Sony Ericsson home pages and menu.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Other features

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc Android phone comes with an HDMI port, meaning you can connect it directly to a high definition television. Along with DLNA connectivity for wirelessly sharing media content, the XPERIA Arc seems well designed for multimedia sharing.

The Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone runs the 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android platform, and features Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI overlay.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc's 8-megapixel camera also boasts Sony's 'Exmor R' image sensor. The company claims this gives higher sensitivity with less image noise, meaning it should perform better in dim lighting than traditional mobile phone cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy S II doesn't have a HDMI-out port but comes with something better: a new connection technology called Mobile High-definition Link (MHL). The on-board MHL technology uses the Galaxy S II's standard microUSB port for outputting 1080p HD video and audio via HDMI. You'll need an optional microUSB to HDMI MHL connector to enable this feature, but the beauty of MHL means it can also be used with a USB adapter, meaning the Galaxy S II can utilise USB on-the-go functionality like the Nokia N8.

The Samsung Galaxy S II comes with an integrated Near Field Communications (NFC) chip. NFC is a short-range wireless communication technology; the same used in many new credit cards, whereby the card can be simply swiped across a smartchip to make a purchase. This technology is rumoured to be an inclusion on the upcoming iPhone 5.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, has 512MB of RAM and comes with a microSD card slot for extra storage. Strangely, Sony Ericsson has only provided a paltry 320MB of internal memory.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is powered by a 1GHz Orion dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc Android smartphone will launch in Australia in early April on the Optus and Vodafone networks. Pricing has yet to be announced.

The Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone will launch in Australia in May or June, and should be available through all Australian carriers — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Pricing has yet to be announced.

What do you think about the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc and the Samsung Galaxy S II? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags gingerbreadandroid phonesSony Ericssonmobile phonesAndroidGoogle AndroidsmartphonesSony Ericsson Xperia arcsamsung galaxy s iisamsung

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide

29 Comments

optome

1

Galaxy S2 takes 1080p video while Xperia does 720p. According to a number of reviews, the super amoled plus easily beats everything including iPhone's retina display. Various performance tests suggest that Galaxy S2 is far superior. Xperia has no chance basically. Waste of time.

Nat

2

Wife has iphone 4.
Just got this yesterday.
I would agree that the display is better on the Galaxy2 for sure.

Prateek

3

Sure the Galaxy S2 has better specs than the arc, but the SE arc screws the S2 over and over and over in design and elegance...and HERE optome the S2 stands no chance! waste of time! Android hasn't even made applications which can make full use of a dual-core processor yet, so it doesn't really matter if the arc only has a signle-core coz I have seen it - its infact on-par with the S2 in responsiveness - Taking 1080p video becomes dust if you want to record in low-light conditions and the arc screws the S2 here again with its EXMOR R CMOS sensor....! You don't even know what the Arc is capable of doing!

Experience:

A mobile-phone reviewer who holds both S2 and the Arc - need anymore experience than that?

Craig

4

after owning a S/E Experia i will never own a S/E phone agian S/E dont like upgrading the phone to later android platforms. and just ask people about the flashing red light.
worst phone i have ever owned

Jordan Payne

5

I'm very interested in both but it's a bit of a tough call as I have lost faith in Samsung more recently as I have with Sony (PSN network fail anyone) - I have friends that haven't had great things to say about Sony's recent smart phone offerings... Perhaps I should wait it out until I can get a hands on in store...

daniel

6

I've tested the arc and galexy 2 I can tell you the arc is better screen wise as well as in many other ways arc is a much better looking phone and the screen is amazing the best I've seen as for prosseor the speed of both sitting beside eachother is no different I vote arc all the way

dacar

7

The Galaxy looks like one of the ten commandments from the bible.

misha

8

I own the Xperia arc and I can tell you right now that its the closest thing to perfect. Having owned an iphone before. Im glad I made the switch. It is so great in every aspects! You wont regret getting it.

Patrick

9

I have an Xperia Arc that I barely use right now. It's extremely laggy. Opening the camera application by itself takes anywhere from 10-20s. I barely have any applications installed, and I do not play games.

Battery life is atrocious. I can leave it in my bag for a day without touching it (I primarily use a Blackberry) and when I take it out at night, it's down to 30-40% battery. No idea what this phone is doing when it's idle.

Every application including the default Android ones always pop up the message that it is "not responding" and asks me to Wait or Kill the program.

In addition, I find the screen sensitivity quite poor - typing on the keyboard is a horrible affair, every 3 words will have a typo on it. I can type perfectly normal on an iPhone 4 as a reference.

Stay away from this phone!

Alex

10

Regarding the battery, all the smartphones have their widgets that would ofcourse kill the battery time (except iPhones) but thats because you can't customize the iPhone the way you can with others. First three days I had the same problem, but I found ways to make my battery last.

Others don't seem to have issue with camera application opening by itself so it might just be yours.

Also the applications don't seem to pop up on mine.

The screen sensitivity might not be as good as iPhone but it is not bad, I find it better than my friends's nokia and samsung. Sony is known for this type of keyboard, it doesn't take one day to get used to, especially when you have been typing on the iphone.

virat

11

hey guys ,,,,,arc doent provides vid the video calling featr vich may b a grestest draw back of the phone .

Davo

12

If you people don't like the arc it's your own fault, do your research before you buy the thing, sounds to me like you have more money than sense

SteveM

13

Having own an Arc I proud to say it's the best phone on the market. It has crystal clear graphics unlike the galaxy 2 where where graphics is quite poor that you can even see the pixels. Dual core is a gimmick when it comes to phones, you are not going to need it and no requirements for it at the moment. I vote the Xperia Arc all the way. The back lid on the Galaxy S2 is also very flimpsy and poor quality.

Daniel

14

Dear all,

If both are being compared, is it not rather unfair, 'cause both phones (arc vs galaxy SII) are in different price classes. Here, you pay 350 euro for the arc, while for the samsung you pay 500 euro. Seems to me that it's then logic the specs of the galaxy are better, not?
Greetings

Cam

15

For those who do claim to be geeks in the smart phones-sure the 1.2 GHz processor makes a huge difference. The download speed and navigating on the internet are faster than on the Iphone. Do your homework before bashing others over here. Geez, there's less and less common sense in the world these days!

Ish faque

16

xperia suckzz..

logu

17

hi this is logu. I would like to say now world number one mobile is samsung galaxy s ii. So last night i saw the comparison so the galaxy should win the comparison. In this mobile like a one laptop. So many person like to buy this one. Thanking you. Have a great da to all. Bye...........

Lance Lee

18

I honestly am planning to buy 1 of the 2 phones this December.. and Its so hard for me to choose.

Lance Lee

19

I was hoping I could get more clear ideas from you guys which is really better...

T.T

Nicky

20

Ive had an x10 xperia and in the first year its f'd up on me three times and ive had to send it back, im looking at the Arc and the Galaxy 2 i dont know which one to go for, i dont want to go through it all with the xperia again.

Delbert

21

I've had an Xperia X10 for two years, its ben fault free (even with a cracked screen where i dropped it, twice!), never let me down, battary life is fine, camera is good, video is brilliant, and it makes phone calls !!
May be some folk are expecting too much, my wife has a Galaxy and to be honest, there isn't much difference, they both work ok, have the same operating system etc etc.
Relax folks, they're just phones that will be out of date in 12 months anyway!!

mike

22

xperia is the best....!!!!

smartbuyer

23

Samsung S2 is the best , dont ever try sony.

leerider

24

I owned sony x10 for abt 5 months now and up until now, I havent actually looking at other phones as I'm very satisfied with it. I usually changed phones every 3 months, so its a recoed for me to be still using my beloved x10

TheDude

25

Sure the specs may be better on the s2 but that doesn't matter. It would be like comparing a 4 cylinder mustang to a 6 cylinder accord. Quality and making use of the power they have should eh taken into account and Samsung doesn't have a leg to stand on. I am an arc owner and proud of it. It's xperia and iPhone at the toop and everybody else at the bottom as far as I am concerned. Video and picture QUALITY are the best. Plus I have beaten the heck out of my arc, it doesn't even have a case on, and it still works perfectly even with the small spider crack and numerous gouges. I dare any Samsung phone to last even through have of the torture I have put my phone thru already. And Patrick his laggy phone, it is probably your phone company and not the phone. Probably loaded with preinstalled apps. Some phone companies are brutal.

Rao Arsal

26

Xperia is the best....!!!!

oela

27

hey guYs i have an arc and its agreat phone i have alot of games and apps and my battery lasts up2 2days da only prob. i have is da fact that my gallery dont open if i dont have airtime can anybody tell me why this is....from proud xperian

norton online backup

28

Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to come back once again since I saved as a
favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

any valentine

29

sony experia arc s i think!

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?