All aboard the Xperia Arc
By Dexter R. Matilla
IF I were to go through my mobile phone history since the beginning of the 21st century, the percentage would be overwhelmingly in favour of Sony Ericsson. Just like everyone I knew, I started with Nokia and the 5110 was my first mobile phone. I’ve made the upgrade every 18months or so until there were so many models that eventually, I took the risk on the Sony Ericsson w900i. My friends knew how much I loved that phone and the next thing I know, they were also making the switch to SE, with one even buying the same model that I have. Since then, I’ve had the w850i, the w960, and the Xperia1.
I’m an iPhone nerd now but like an old friend wanting to relive past memories, SE made me take notice once more with the 2.3 Gingerbread running Xperia Arc. When first launched early this year, I was immediately surprised when the first time I laid eyes on the Arc, showing off pictures and videos taken by the phone with impressive detail and quality and displayed on the HDTV screen via HDMI.
Eventually, I’d learn that this is due to the Sony Exmor R for mobile that lets the phone capture photos and videos with its 8.1 megapixel and even in low-light situations. Closer inspection of the phone would reveal its 4.2 multi-touch Reality Display screen powered by the Mobile Bravia Engine, a first for any smartphone. I’ve had several chances to play with the Arc’s camera and I really was impressed with the pictures I was able to take especially during sunny days.
The Arc is very sleek and is curved slightly in the back, hence the name. The material is made well enough of a shiny plastic-like material with a chrome finish. Seeing as how thin the Arc is, my initial worry was that I might break it in half easily. It is also very light at 4.1oz but thankfully, as past experiences with SE phones go, this one appears solidly built and it even withstood a few raindrops.
The Arc only has one port on the left, for the headset that comes with the package. On top are the power buttons and the HDMI port while on the right are the slot for the charger and USB cable, the volume controls, and the camera key. The front of the Arc has three physical buttons: Back, Home, and Menu. The Menu button was a little tricky, well at least for me, at the start. When I launched the Facebook app, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to sign out—and that was to press the Menu button which would bring up options for me to do, including logging off.
But as I would soon discover, getting updates is really very easy with the Timescape feature of the Arc. At first, I’d only use the Timescape to check for new messages or missed calls as it’s as easy as swiping on the screen up and down. Eventually, I’d learn to sync my social networking sites and soon Timescape would also include Facebook and Twitter updates. My only problem is that if I get too many updates at one time, I can’t seem to check everything anymore and I ended up using the dedicated apps instead.
It’s a good thing though that the Arc’s user interface is very responsive and shifting from one panel to another is very smooth thanks to the Qualcomm MSM 8255 1GHZ Snapdragon processor. Downloading apps from the Android Market is also fairly easy and in no time, I had filled up the Arc with a few free games including 3D ones that are again, very smooth. Sound quality also very nice whether playing videos, mp3s, and even voice calls on loudspeaker mode.
Android is trailing iOS in terms of number of users and in the Philippines it's no different. If it wants to get a big chunk of the market, Android needs a powerful vessel to show off what it can offer and I'm confident enough to say that the Xperia Arc might just fit the billing. (SRP P29,990)
For a quick review on the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, check out my post: http://thedxmatillashow.blogspot.com/2011/11/sony-ericsson-xperia-arc-s-whole-lotta.html