Archive | September 2011

Everybody Loves Ray

The Xperia Ray has launched here in the UK, and while I am loathe to write a gushing review about something I’ve only played with for about half an hour…to hell with it; whole albums have been reviewed based on a opening single, I’m going to give it a whirl anyway!
I first saw the Ray back in July at a meeting with Sony Ericsson, and was immediately taken by the styling of the device. I’ve always been a fan of phones with a matt finish and a slight feeling of ‘grip’ – the finish on the X10i was a perfect example of this and somthing I feel should’ve been carried over to the 2011 range of phones, had the environmental concerns of GreenHeart and recycled plastics not prevailed.
The 3.3in screen is tiny (compared to say, the 4.2in Arc) but still retains a wonderful brightness and clarity that I wouldn’t have expected from a screen of this size. Of course there could be a problem typing messages if you’ve got stubby sausages for fingers; you might need something like Swype to make things easier and this is where SE have played something of a trump card…as they’ve introduced their own version of the software, which should make swipe-typing messages an absolute doddle. This will be coming to all 2011 SE Android handsets with the 2.3.4 update in the next few weeks – although it has started rolling out across Europe as I type this!
What fascinates me with the Ray, like I’ve said in previous posts, is how much the technology onboard the phone has changed/improved in the last six months, really since the release of the Arc:
  • The Ray has dropped the HDMI out and LED flash (replaced with a dirty photo light) in order to slim things down, but is still packing in the same 1GHz processor and 8MP camera (with 720p video recording) as the Arc/Neo, yet is almost half the surface area of the Arc, if not more.
  • Comparing the Neo to the Ray, the Neo is slightly bigger than the Ray, (but smaller than the Arc) and has a chunkier body to compensate for the smaller frame, whereas the Ray has hit the gym and lost the flab! All in all it’s an impressive leap in technology in just six months.
According to bits and pieces I’ve read about the phone and its release, SE are aiming this handset at female users; not a bad idea, considering it’s such a dinky phone it would happily fit it the tiniest of clutch purses. I must admit, I wouldn’t mind a Ray – I could grumble about the low amount of onboard memory or sacrificing the HDMI out and LED flash but…I won’t! To have a ‘slim and lite’ version of these excellent phones embodied in the Ray is very cool indeed.
Add to this the Ray is launching, at least here in the UK (according to rumours and an unboxing vid at Xperiablog), with the fabled LiveSound Stereo Remote headphones which not only offer unprecedented sound reproduction but are also retailing for between £40 and £50, that’s an even better deal!

Xperia and PSN (PlayStation Never)

A post on Xperia Blog today talks about the PlayStation Suite coming to Android. 

Sony Ericsson expects that the strategy for the PlayStation Suite will become clear very shortly. The Playstation Store plans for Android have not changed according to the company, with SE expecting a “big step forward” in terms of PSN contribution.

But…even a ‘big step forward’ renders this sort of announcement almost pointless; the bulk of this years’ Xperia phones aren’t really designed for playing games. However the Play – touted as the PlayStation-certified phone – has been out almost six months. PSN on the Xperia range has been mooted since January.

The fact simple fact of the matter is PSN support should’ve been on the phone from the start, not just as an afterthought – and was something questioned and ridiculed at the very first Test Lab meet. Why this wasn’t incorporated on the Play, Lord only knows, but it’s a bloody big item to fumble for a flagship phone.

Let’s not forget, the big selling point of the Aino was the Remote Play capability built into the phone. That was two years ago, and nothing has progressed since. The Remote Play feature actually worked quite well, even over 3G networks and was an interesting app to demo on a phone rendered largely useless by a shockingly buggy operating system. A real pity.

Anyway, I digress; SE have already confirmed the Christmas ad drive is towards the Arc S and the Ray, so the Play has already been sidelined! Anybody wanting to really play games on the move AND have access to the PSN is going to buy the NGP/Vita. Or, if you’re really canny, use the WiFi link on the current Xperia range and hook up to the PSP.