Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play Android phone
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play review: The smartphone has excellent controls and a smooth gaming experience, but the XPERIA Play will ultimately live or die by its exclusive games content
- Great gaming controls
- Excellent speakers
- Sony Ericsson UI overlay
- Unremarkable display
- Questionable build quality
- Limited internal memory
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play possesses excellent gaming controls and offers a relatively smooth user experience for both communications and gaming. However, it will ultimately live or die by its exclusive games content, and it has a few faults that prevent it from being a great device.
Dubbed the 'PlayStation phone' due to its dedicated gaming controls, Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Play Android phone is an attempt to combine a top-quality smartphone with a portable gaming device. Although it succeeds in many areas, the XPERIA Play isn't without its flaws, and will need a wealth of exclusive gaming content to justify its existence.
Read our Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs. Apple iPhone 4 Smartphone showdown and check out our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play: Design, controls and display
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play slides open to reveal dedicated gaming controls. It has two touch-sensitive 'joysticks', a D-pad and four of the PlayStation's famous control buttons (triangle, square, circle and X). The XPERIA Play also has two shoulder buttons (L and R), along with select and start keys in a bid to recreate the full PlayStation experience. The flat, touch-sensitive joysticks do take some time to adjust to, but the indented dot in the centre of each helps you align your thumbs correctly without needing to look at them. Both the D-pad and the PlayStation buttons offer plenty of tactility and click comfortingly when pressed.
The XPERIA Play's PlayStation–style controls makes this handset a chunky one — although it still fits into a pocket, you're left with a rather large bulge when doing so. (Is that an XPERIA Play in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?) [I can't believe you just wrote that — Ed.] We would have appreciated a slimmer design, but if there had to be a compromise struck between excellent gaming controls and the handset's dimensions then Sony Ericsson has made the right decision. The XPERIA Play also has an ergonomic, curved design that makes it comfortable to hold — it's a very similar feeling to holding a PSP Go.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play's build quality is hit and miss. We loved the feel of the smooth sliding mechanism, but the L and R buttons feel flimsy and can easily be accidentally pressed, the Android shortcut buttons on the front of the handset (back, home, menu and search) are thin and spongy, and the rear cover creaks and rattles. The glossy front and sides of the XPERIA Play also attract a wealth of fingerprints.
The presence of two touch-sensitive 'joysticks', a D-pad and four of the PlayStation's famous control buttons means the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play is a chunky device.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play's screen is largely unremarkable. It's a 4in LED-backlit LCD that has a respectable resolution of 480x854, but it lacks the vibrancy of competing displays like Apple's IPS "retina" screen on the iPhone 4, and Samsung's Super AMOLED displays seen on the Galaxy S Android phone. The XPERIA Play is very difficult to see in direct sunlight — a big oversight on a device that's been designed primarily for portable gaming — and lacks an automatic brightness setting.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play: Gaming
Games on the XPERIA Play are downloaded and accessed through the 'XPERIA Play' and the 'PlayStation Pocket' apps, both preloaded on the device. The XPERIA Play app features a library of standard Android games that are compatible with the XPERIA Play's controls, while the PlayStation Pocket provides exclusive PS One games. The XPERIA Play comes with one preloaded PS One game (Crash Bandicoot), and four regular Android games (Bruce Lee, FIFA 10, Star Battalion and Sims 3). At the time of review Crash Bandicoot was the one and only PS One game available, and the regular Android games aren't XPERIA Play exclusives, even though they work with the PlayStation controls.
Sliding open the XPERIA Play automatically launches the XPERIA Play app, displaying a list of the current games on the device, along with a list of games available to buy. Depending on the games developer, tapping a game available for purchase takes you either to the browser for a direct download option, or the Android Market. Although we would like to see a standardised format for game purchases, downloading games is a relatively hassle-free experience.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google wants to solve the Android update problem once and for all with Project Treble
- Intel concerned about name of John McAfee’s privacy phone
- Low-cost Android phones to get iPhone features with new Qualcomm chips
- Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear
- Apple's next iPhones may cut corners on memory due to price squeeze
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCWintel Server EngineerNSW
- FTField Technician - Radio communication serviceACT
- FTInformation Security ArchitectQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Higher EducationVIC
- FTL2/L3 Desktop Technician - FIFOWA
- FTSenior Systems AnalystSA
- FTLead Senior Systems Engineer | 90 - 120K + Super|VIC
- FTx3 Field EngineersVIC
- FTTeam Leader Solution DeliveryQLD
- FTIntegration and Implementation SpecialistVIC
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- CCSenior Data EngineerVIC
- FTsolution ArchitectNSW
- TPSolution Architect - InfrastructureQLD
- FTSenior System AdministratorNSW
- TPICT Customer Support Officer - MurwillumbahNSW
- CCMDM DesignerVIC
- FTIntegration EngineerACT
- FTIT Support Level 1 and 2NSW
- TPSOE EngineerACT
- CCTesting Manager - Energy sectorVIC
- CCOrganisational Change ManagerQLD