Sony Getting Closer to the Mark with the Xperia S
I really like the look of the new Sony Xperia S, especially the cool light-up transparent bar at the bottom. This is one of the first Sony phones ever to really catch my interest, but from the early hands-on reports it seems clear Sony has missed the mark here in a few key areas.
First off the Xperia S is yet another “flagship” device shipping without Android 4.0/ICS - it’s a Gingerbread phone, and that’s crazy. It looks like its setup perfectly to run ICS with those three buttons at the bottom, but who knows when Sony will actually ship an update? They’re track record as Sony Ericsson was pretty abysmal (although as the new Sony mobile they’ve stated they’re committed to changing that).
Second it has a micro SIM slot instead of a standard SIM. While not entirely Sony’s fault, I wish the industry could decide which format we’re going with. One of the main reasons I switched to a GSM carrier is so I could swap my SIM in and out of different phones - not helpful when they’re different sizes. (Yeah, I know I could cut up my full-size SIM and then use an adapter; thanks, but no thanks).
No removable memory/SD slot; no removable battery. People: these are market differentiators for Android when compared to the iPhone; why do you keep taking these things away?!
Lastly, that cool light-up transparent bar doesn’t seem to act as a notification light. While there is a notification light up at the top of the device, how cool would it be to have that bar pulsing different colors for notifications? I love the 256-color notification LED on my Galaxy Nexus and with Light Flow it’s incredibly useful; I know I’m going to have a hard time moving on to any other phone that doesn’t have a notification LED that supports at least 5 or 6 different colors (Note: I don’t know how many colors the Xperia S notification light supports, hopefully more than two).
Things I think Sony got right are the overall design of the phone (I think it looks fantastic), great 720p display, and what is reported to be a brilliant camera with a 12 MP sensor with a dedicated hardware shutter button (nice!).
Still there’s enough currently missing from my checklist to know I don’t need to bother looking to see if a European import would work for me, at least for now anyway. Looking forward to the reviews though to see how well that camera performs.