Sony Xperia S Review


  • Corey

    Extremely well stated points. I couldn’t agree more

  • Theywillbepissed

    Well this is rather disappointing. I had high expectations for Sony this year, but it looks like they’ve blown it once again. Htc One X or SGSIII for me.

  • monsterduc1000

    It is really too bad. Great looking phone with decent camera…and that’s about it. Really falls flat with an outdated version of Android, aging cpu and gpu, below average battery life, and no set date for an ics release.

    • KingK

      People still wanted/want the Galaxy Nexus with its even older gpu/cpu and pentile display.

      who cares about ics anyway, I can get 1900 ms on sunspider using Android 2.2 and an ancient tegra 2. Not too mention beat most of those Smart Bench numbers.

      Mind I don’t see the point of coming out with this phone in 2012 using that cpu/gpu combo and not Krait based one.

  • ruddias

    This makes me rethink purchasing. Going to wait until ics rolls out before I buy

  • bob

    Come on Daniel. You gave 7.5/10 for the display on this device and the same 7.5/10 for the Lumia 800 (800×480 pentile).

    • Sanjay

      to be fair, colours washing out with angle is pretty bad

    • jellmoo

      The Lumia 800 has the ClearBlack Amoled screen with considerably better viewing angles, as well as better viewing in sun light. It seems like a fair comparison.

    • bob

      Better angles maybe but AMOLED screens aren’t known for their readability in sunlight
      But still, a non pentile 720p display is orders of magnitude better than a pentile 800×480.
      Nokia 800’s display is comparable to the Galaxy S released years ago.

    • jellmoo

      Amoled no, but ClearBlack yes. There is more to a good screen than simple resolution. Viewing angles, ability in sunlight, depth of colour, these things matter as well. Comparing the 800 to the Galaxy S is disingenuous to say the least.

      Each screen has advantages and disadvantages. Hence why the same score makes sense.

    • Daniel Bader

      @bob, the 7.5 score was a mistake. It has been changed to an 8.5 and the final score has been changed to reflect that.

    • bob

      OK makes sense 🙂

    • Sub-Joker

      the phone doesn’t have a light sensor to auto adjust brightness??!!! something that entry level phones are getting…. for a high end device not to have this Daniel should have put even less than 7.5

      seriously!!! no auto adjust for back light?? so I go out in the sun, I have to put my hand on the phone to cover the light until I find where that widget to put the brightness to the max…. then go back in in the shadow, put the brightness down (manually with that widget).

      and with a terrible battery life with no option to replace the battery (not good).

      AND (and this is what I hate the most about the phone), the phone is height is too big compared to the actual screen size AND ON TOP OF THAT the power botton is located on top in a way that you need to press it with your other hand. the phone is almost as big (physical size) as the galaxy nexus and the One X but it’s 0.4 inch smaller than both devices. why would you leave so much space at the botton???

      this is the high end from Sony??!!! really?!!??

  • thew

    Went to get one at the local Sony store, but the deal for 99 dollars is for new rogers subs only. So suckers like me who have been with rogers over ten years are out of luck

  • Patty

    Nice review!

  • mike

    All those specs mean jack s**t when the OS isn’t the best. Galaxy Nexus, Note,Htc One X, are just a few to name who still make a much better and complete android featured package..

    Love my Nexus…

  • Brian

    my question is, does the bulb actually flash this time or its a light that turns on like the x10 . . .

  • Tom

    Great review – well done Daniel.

    I was considering this phone, but will now wait until SGS3 comes out.

    I don’t mind getting last year’s processor (it is still dual-core after all) but some of the other stuff you highlighted is a problem.

  • Dylan D

    Great review. It has made me change my mind of the phone, I love the way it looks, but those little things would bother me a lot.

  • Tomatoes

    Rated too low IMO. Gingerbread is perfectly fine. The SGS2 has no problem kicking the iPhone 4s and Galaxy Nexus a*s with gingerbread so I don’t see why it would hamper this phone. Unless the S3 is that bad. Worked fine on the Rogers GS2 though.

  • andy c

    As a former x10 owner I would suggest waiting until Sony releases ics officially before considering buying

  • Atrix Luvr

    No ICS. Poor battery life. Fail.

  • joeyxl

    if your going to bash the phone because of a software issue, then im sadly disappointed in your review, ICS is coming in 3 weeks. so how about you give the phone a chance?

    • pat

      You’re, not your going to reply.

    • Daniel Bader


      I have to review a phone as it is, not as it could be. When ICS comes (in three weeks, I hope) I will revisit my score.

  • Robert

    Wow! That’s what I like about this site, when you do a review of a device, it’s very thorough and it’s very objective. Thank you for the excellent review.

  • Bobby

    Its amazing how much battery life opinions differ for everyone because of things like signal strength.

    Engagdet did their review of the Xperia S and had battery life listed as one of the phones “pros”

  • Emperuman V

    Wallet safe

  • pat

    So many grammatical errors! Who edits these reviews?! Even Rogers is incorrect (you wrote Roger’s). Please review before publishing such poor usage of English.

    • David

      You wrote:

      So many grammatical errors! Who edits these reviews?! Even Rogers is incorrect (you wrote Roger’s). Please review before publishing such poor usage of English.

      I always enjoy these self-appointed, smug grammar police. While we’re correcting grammar, your first sentence is a fragment. Your second sentence contains double end punctuation, and your third sentence contains an antecedent error. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  • EAK47

    There must be a problem with your battery because I’m able to run 12 hours minimum on a single charge with the screen at 25% and moderate usage.

    Maybe it has something to do with the Rogers crappy apps in the phone, mine is an International version with unbranded rom.

    • Daniel Bader

      @EAK47, I’d love that to be the case. I even looked up whether I had the latest software version (6.0.A.3.73) and others were reporting similarly poor battery performance on it. Hopefully it’s something that Sony can address with a software update, as 1750mAh should be plenty.

    • Chris

      In the past yr I have had a HTC Desire, ip4, 4s, Arc and now have a Xperia S.
      You are bang on about the headphone thing, Sony really messed up not including 3 button compatibility, although I would like to see what competitors have the same issue.
      The matte surface will show scratches, and get glossy on high wear areas over time but that is the same with most devices today, the surfaces aren’t very wear resistant. (exception of the iphone)
      I had the Singapore version running .67 f/w at first, and got around the same battery life out of the box although it improved over time. When I flashed to .73 and had more charge cycles the battery improved 30% and I am a pretty heavy user. (The One X gets less battery life even with tweaks in reviews and XDA)
      ICS is less than 2 months away, already confirmed by Sony. GB works great on this device, typing with the stock keyboard is good (not great, I would save that for iphone) and I have yet to see issues you have seen with slowness etc.
      Although I appreciate your opinion, I am thinking that you were far from subjective when reviewing the device. Please feel free to email me to share your thoughts and compare settings, etc with the device.

  • really?

    Handled this phone tonight. I think with all the shortcomings listed, this should still be a min 8.5/10 overall rating. The rating you give for the screen seems a little odd – even with viewing angle issues, everyone’s reaction has been that this screen is stunning, not to mention it having the highest ppi on the market. Ratings given simply seem over-conservative.

    • Daniel Bader


      I think as it currently stands the phone deserves a 7.2 (even with a stunning screen). The poor battery life and underwhelming software are enough to take an entire point off. If it got an 8.5, what should a smartphone with a truly great hardware/software combination earn? I will definitely re-address my rating when ICS is released, and I’d be happy to award it an 8.5 (or higher) if things improve.

  • dilkatron

    i think sony went for price point.this phone is 170 bucks less than the htc one x. so kinda tough to compare. I would still consider it with ics. the only mistake sony made was maybe an early release.

    • Daniel Bader

      @dilkatron, I agree with you. At $499, while not exactly cheap, it’s certainly more affordable than most high-end Android phones. I can’t wait until Sony releases Ice Cream Sandwich and I have a chance to revisit it.

  • zzZZzz

    Thanks Daniel, one phone off the list. Now, I just have to decide between One X, S and GS 3. While the HTCs (and probably the GS3) have non-removable batteries, I heard a full normal day of use was generally possible. That’s what I want. A day of moderate use.

    So I’ll be eagerly waiting your review on those 3 phones.

  • sonni

    Awesome review! I love how the reviews are getting better and better. Relevant highlights, real world experience along with the usual bench marks all point to a review that insightful, thorough and well done!

  • Kay

    poor battery life…?
    what a joke!
    my XS can run 12hrs+ no problem. It must be those shitty Rogers app draining your battery.
    Most or maybe even everyone running Firmware 6.0.A.3.73 unbranded XS say the battery life is excellent so I’m not sure why your battery life sucks.
    Glad I don’t buy Rogers crap!

  • Mario Landa

    Excellent review!!!!

  • Darryl

    As a Sony Xperia X10 owner my advice to anyone considering this device is simply, don’t do it!
    Sony was horrible at keeping it’s promised timeline on updating that ‘Flagship’ device. Making the same promises as with this one. Battery sucked on that one also.
    Don’t do it… wait for the S3

    • Kay

      silly canadians.

  • Sergio

    I dont think this is a fair review at all. I have a Sony Xperia S and I love it. Im a phone geek, and before you say anything I get that you cant do a lot of modding or custom ROM stuff on it. But I still love it, the camera is amazing, the screen is just brilliant and the UI is smooth as hot knife thru butter. Ya I will give you that the battery life could be better, but other then that I could not be happier with this phone. Sony and Sony Ericsson always made great UI by adding great music players and the TimeScape for all you social network stalkers. Honestly Mobilesyrop, check your ratings again, cuz call quality is fantastic (everyone besides you seems to think so), software is outdated but great, performance is amazing and COME ON 8.5 for screen?

  • John

    Can a staff member answer why Daniel reviewed this? He does not know anything at all. He is a apple fan boy in whichhas been proven many times. The scores he gave such 8.5 for the screen is low. He admits the screen is amazing and the best but really he gave it a 8.5?. Is this how mobilesyrup reviews phones? Hell most of the websites have this phone at 9-9.5!. Please can another staff member do the review?.. Daniel needa to learn and use his brains aswell before making a review.

  • Craig Hinchey

    This makes my camera obsolete!!! Stunning peice of tech!

  • Mayank Johri

    Hi I like it!!!

  • Dmitrii

    Got my Xperia S from Sony Store, phone was locked to Rogers and had all its bloatware (it was terrible).
    Unlock code was only $5 and now my Fido works fine with it.
    Also software wise I had rebranded phone with central europe rom that is way faster and cleaner then rogers (almost every app can be uninstalled and no ugly rogers start up screen).
    Rom installing did not require root or unlocking bootloader.

    • Chad Sexington


      Where did you get the phone unlocked for $5?

      Does the central European ROM work in Canada?

  • Dan

    I want the Saygus V Phone and tablet!

  • Andrew

    Eagerly waiting for an updated/revisited review with the ics update!!!