Polishing a Turd

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Sony have had a highly fragmented year in their first solo foray into mobiles, with devices released seemingly every week. The 1GHz single core, 512MB RAM Xperia J was released late October as the budget alternative to the flashier Xperia T – the much vaunted James Bond phone as featured in Skyfall, no less.

Packaged in a sturdy plastic shell with some eye-catching chrome trim and the graceful arc to the back of the handset, as per the Xperia Arc, the J is certainly pleasing to the eye.

Though sadly, beauty is only skin deep as my time with the Xperia J has shown me; it’s a handset that essentially doubles as a buggy, near-useless ‘phone’ that would be better used as a paperweight. In fact, if the Xperia J was a prop in Skyfall, it would be wielded by an extra who meets a grisly doom thanks to waiting for the piss-poorly implemented phone to save him.

When you consider just over 18 months ago, Sony (or Sony Ericsson, as it was then known) was peddling single-core 1GHz handsets like the Xperia Arc, with just 512MB of RAM to support it, and attempting to convince everyone it was the market leader, then for them to release the J at the tail-end of 2012 as still attempt to convince consumers it’s a ‘new’ technology, then there’s something definitely amiss.

There’s nothing new about it. In fact, it’s good for nothing. It lags terribly with everything I attempt to do and offers a wildly inconsistent experience compared to say, the Xperia Go (1GHz, dual core). Heck, even the Xperia Ray offers a better experience on ICS (better again on CM10!) and that’s virtually the same phone! Personally I find it a false economy, bordering on a farce, to shoehorn almost two-year old technology into a sleek and shiny ‘new’ handset.

It’s the little things with this phone that really grind the teeth though. The shitty placement of the power button for example, near the top left of the phone, with it being recessed means you’re more likely to hit the volume up button than wake your phone.

The NXT series of phones didn’t have microSD support, so the later models of 2012 had them reincorporated. On the Xperia J, this facility works as it should, with the handset picking up all media stored on the card. On the Xperia Go, this facility works as it should etc. etc.

On the Xperia J, this facility works…occasionally. More often that not, it will populate the media library of the Walkman with a couple thousand tracks from the SD card, then it will wipe the tracks from the library (though mercifully retaining them on the card) for no apparent reason other than it can. Same goes for photos and other media. Even rooting, installing init.d support and a custom script to ‘bind’ the contents of the microSD to the internal memory – all of which worked fine on my tablet, by the way – fails to yield the same results.

Perhaps I’m biased. My experiences this year with the Xperia S, dual core and properly functioning additions like microSD support have met with far greater success than they have with the J. It could be just my handset playing up, or it could be a greater problem. Suffice to say, until a better handset than the Xperia S comes along, the Xperia J will be consigned to the back of the man drawer. And that’s being merciful. Very. Merciful.

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  1. Gutted « Hurf vs Xperia - January 30, 2013

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