What’s NXT?

2012 has already seen the acqusition of the Ericsson portion in the Sony Ericsson cake by Sony themselves. To herald their entry into the mobile market, Sony have developed some cracking new handsets known as the NXT range – Next GeneraTion – the S, P and U handsets.

I recently had the opportunity to play with these phones, namely the XS (as it shall henceforth be known) and I must say I was impressed. 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 12MP camera, 4.3 inch 720p(!) screen, NFC. The list goes on and on. In order to cram this fabulous tech into a handset, Sony have had to dispense with the super skinny chassis the Arc came with and instead have crafted a handset that’s both brawny and sleek at the same time. With a matt finish and simple curves, the XS has got some weight in the hand – I prefer a phone with some heft so this is right up my street and bulking up the weight was a worthy sacrifice to take advantage of the latest in mobile technology.

That’s not to say its not without foibles though:

  • The power button is on the top of the handset. For a phone with a lot of acreage, anyone with a small hand is going to find it a stretch to press this button – it is, after all, the only way to unlock the screen now that capacitive buttons are present.
  • The advertised memory, 32GB, isn’t exactly 32GB – but you’d be a bit naive to expect that. Inspection of the handset shows available memory as just under 26GB. I’m perfectly aware flash drives and the like usually reserve around 10% of the total capacity of the drive for file management and things like that but when I raised the question, the Sony rep explained as I was holding an older handset (it was branded Sony Ericsson) it could’ve been a development handset.
    However, reading another posting online about the XS, from an entirely different handset, I hasten to add, they have discovered the same ‘problem’. What appears to have happened is Sony have chopped up the available memory and allocated portions of it to ‘system’ storage and internal memory.
    Maybe I’m being a little unreasonable, but people expect 28-30GB of space remaining from 32GB and not the phone to be using almost 25% of the advertised capacity for its own ends. The positive that can be drawn from this is the phone sports a colossal 1.9GB RAM but even so, it’s a bit underhand.
Grumbles aside, it’s a very impressive handset, accompanied by two equally impressive handsets in their own right: the Xperia P and the Xperia U.

The Xperia P immediately captured my attention with its brushed aluminium finish. This handset is a pinch smaller than the S, more akin to the size of the Neo, yet features 16GB of internal memory, which I suspect has succumbed to the same fate as the internal memory on the XS. That aside, it’s a great handset, with a 8MP camera, 1080p video shooting, a 1GHz dual-core processor and loads of other awesome stuff.

The Xperia U lies at the budget end of the scale, and it’s noticeably more plasticky in its construction. Again, don’t let that detract from the features of the phone. Slightly smaller than the P, this handset has a similar size to the Ray, though that handset almost outstrips this phone in terms of features. A 1GHz dual-core processor beats in the heart of this phone, along with a 5MP camera and a very nifty colour schema in the notification bar.

It should be noted all three handsets follow a very similar design pattern, with the notification strip the prominent design feature; the XU is a smaller version of the XP, which in turn is a smaller version of the XS. The only thing that disappoints me about these phones is the lack of expandable memory with MicroSD. That would’ve been the icing on an admittedly impressive cake.

Sony have burst onto the mobile scene with guns blazing. If this is what they can do in a debut attempt, I can’t wait to see what emerges from development over the course of 2012. Quad-core, anyone……..?

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