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on 12 August 2011
I sold my iphone4 to buy the xperia play and i have to say that it's one of the best things iv'e ever done. It's a fantastic mobile and a fantastic games console at the same time....much better than the iphone. It came with in-ear headphones/mic and a 16gb memory card pre-installed (expandable to 32gb) and it also had 6 games already on the phone memory. A must buy for any gamer due to the slide out controls.
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on 13 April 2011
Having been an IPhone user (3GS) for the past two years, i was beginning to find myself feeling more and more unhappy with the device. The iPhone works well at certain tasks, but fails for me in others.

I had a tough choice to make, do i keep my iPhone and buy a tablet, such as iPad or Motorola xoom, or stump for an all in one smartphone that does it all.
I want to browse the internet, play games, watch films, take photos and browse my photos - all of which i feel is rather difficult on the iPhone as the screen is just too darn small to do it well!
I decided on a large screen smartphone, as i couldn't see myself hauling around a tablet all of the time, i want a device that fits in my pocket.
The Xperia Play was the winner for me out of all the available smartphones, due to the fact that one thing i high on my wishlist was to do play games, and play them well, i cannot stand playing games where you have to use a portion of the screen for the directional and action buttons. So with the additional slide down PSP type buttons, no other phone would do!

First off let me begin by saying WOW. This is an incredible smartphone, and completely blows the iPhone out of the water!!

I bought mine on contract and not from amazon, so the box contents may differ from whats on offer here, however in the box comes the device itself, a mains charger, a car charger, which incidently use the same USB cable to connect from the pug to the phone (2 cables included) // A screen protector (fantastic addition, never used one before, but makes the screen fairly fingermark and smudge free) a set of earphones (Untested as i have Bose ones) and a 16Gb micro SD.
The Xperia play overall is a completely new and different experience from an iPhone, and it really is better, faster and smarter. This thing is like a pocket PC - Smooth, with no real lag or wait times switching between apps.
The device has some really neat tricks up its sleeve, for example the way in which you can interact with your contacts (which can be read in and sync'd from facebook)and to view text messages / twitter feeds and facebook updates stright on the home screen menu is great. The user interface overall is lovely to use, very well laid out, and everything is configurable! The addition of physical back, home, menu and search buttons make a massive difference.
No real fat finger problems, when it comes to typing messages or emails, the keyboard is really rather good, yes you hit the odd wrong letter, and the predictive text can be annoying, but overall i'd say its on a par with the iPhone.

The device feels solid, and very well built - its not that much bigger than my current iPhone really, but due to the fact that it is slightly chunkier, it actually feels better in your hand.
The screen being that little big bigger makes a world of difference, webpages are finally readable / browse-able without continually zooming in!
Emails can be read with ease, and HTML email's with pictures are laid out exactly right!
The screen itself is crisp with great resolution - Playing Angry Birds (full version - which is free on Andriod by the way!) is a pleasure!

The gaming, well is mind-blowing - Comes installed with a few games like Fifa10, Sims3 and crash bandicoot. Graphics are amazing, gameplay is just like what you would expect to get from a PSP. Now i have to admit there doesn't appear to be a vast amount of downloadable games specifically for the xperia yet, but given time i am sure we will see some fantastic titles added to the library.

The 5mp camera is spot on, there is also a rear facing camera for apps like skype. Pictures from the front camera are great, very sharp and crisp - Not yet tried the video camera feature yet!

Android marketplace is completely different to the Apple app store, for a start there are millions of free apps, that you would normally have to pay for on the Apple app store, such as Angry Birds.
Satellite navigation comes free as standard, and whilst i have yet to try this feature, i already know from playing with it at home, that it will better the current free version on the apple app store.

It really is a truly fantastic device, i cannot praise it enough, i am really glad i have made the shift from the iPhone. I feel that the Apple only restrictions have finally been lifted and i can now use a phone which doesn't rely on apple apps or itunes for my music.

If you are considering a new smartphone, please do yourself a favour and put an Xperia play on your consideration list.
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on 7 August 2011
I bought the Xperia Play on contract a few days ago, and here is a review of my experiences with the phone, in a neat and tidy bullet-point list. Hope it helps! (By the way, I came from an iPhone to the Xperia Play).

The phone, as any smartphone on the market these days, feels sleek, modern and well built. All of the buttons mounted on the phone, including the volume and main buttons on the front, feel secure and thus unlikely to break or wobble over time. In addition, they aren't too easy to press down on accidentally. The slide-out trademark PlayStation game-pad feels extremely well put together. All of the traditional PlayStation buttons, as said about the other exterior buttons, feel secure and likely to stay put. Build quality is superb on these fronts, but the slide-out feature as a whole, however, feels slightly odd when holding the whole phone. Usually you don't expect half of the phone to slide out when using it. Don't get me wrong, it's secure behind the screen of the phone, but you can't help wondering if, after being slid-out many times, if it'll become wonky! Also, the phone isn't as chunky as some reviewers have made it seem. Yes, the slide-out gamepad does add many millimetres, but on the whole it isn't the size of a brick, and the extra size is worth the luxury of the unique gaming pad.

If you think Sony Ericsson has focused entirely on the gamer's market and ignored what the intrinsic purpose of a phone should be (...a mobile phone, of course), then think again. The Xperia Play is still a brilliant mobile phone. Calling is very simple, as is texting. Web browsing is a doddle, and the 4 inch screen means you don't need spectacles to read webpages. The music player is, again, simple to use with great volume. The battery life, unlike some of its rivals (most notably the iPhone), is surprisingly long. Even after playing a few games that demand a lot of processing power and memory it doesn't require plugging into the mains. One of the up-and-coming standard features on a smartphone these days is a satellite navigation, and this was the iPhone's shortfall (of many). I've been using the Android 'Navigation' sat-nav app and it is brilliant. It operates, processes and informs like no other sat-nav I've ever used, including Tom-Toms. It's intelligent, quick, so simple to use and includes all the usual sat-nav options. Overall you're still getting a top of the range mobile phone which hasn't been swallowed up by its own gaming hype.

If you're the sort of person who enjoys a personal ringtone, wallpaper etc, and didn't appreciate the iPhone's lack of such customisable features, then there's pleasing news to be found in the Xperia Play. It, of course, allows you to customise to your heart's content. Need more be said?

The touch screen technology is, near as makes no difference, identical to the iPhone's in terms of usability. Flicking between screens, switching between apps, touch response - all of these are excellent. Like the iPhone, the Xperia Play doesn't require you to smudge your finger to activate the touch screen, nor is it overly-sensitive. Texting is very easy and, despite the slightly squashed on-screen keypad, the technology still recognises what you're trying to spell (provided you don't have chubby fingers!). It's, on the whole, conventional touch screen technology with very few flaws (if any). The home screen interface is welcoming - it features your social networking updates, a Google search bar and common app shortcuts (text messaging, contacts etc). The app screen is four-by-four (16 apps on a single page), and the app shortcuts themselves are crisp and clear to identify.

It's been well documented that the App Store on the iPhone is fully-loaded with any app you could ever want (apparently), and that the Andriod market is far behind. That being said however, you won't be starved for choice with the Xperia Play when looking for good, free apps. Actually, having just had a look at the range of apps available for free, there are many categories that you'd expect, including Games, Photography, Entertainment, Finance, Sports, Productivity, Socialising, Shopping, Music, News, Lifestyle, Medical/Health and more. People often feel deterred from an Andriod due to the 'lack of choice' they hear from critics. To be honest, this is nonsense - the Andriod market is comprehensive and spoils the user for choice. The apps themselves, like the entire phone, are all fast to open, easy to use and mess around with etc. Top stuff.

A phone isn't a phone without a camera these days! Unexpectedly, Sony have gone down the same path as Apple with a front-facing camera too. The 5mpx camera seems to work well and the pictures are of good quality. The camera also comes with flash settings, colour balancing, focus mode, scene mode, picture quality and colour modes. The built-in recorder captures decent recordings too. Not sure what else to say, it's a modern, conventional camera with more features and functions than expected.

This is, obviously, the phone's party piece. As stated before, the gamepad is solid, well put together and feels secure in its place. I have read a few reviews that claim the gaming aspect is crude and a let-down - a half-arsed attempt. To be honest, it's really good. Let's get something straight - it's a phone, not a PlayStation 3 with a corded phone linked up to it. But as gaming phones go, this is the best so far. The games process and run really clearly and quickly, with no lag whatsoever. The lack of choice when it comes to games optimised for the Xperia Play is an issue admittedly, but give it a few months and the selection will become greater and greater. The games don't feel like cheap knock-offs of the full versions available on the actual PlayStation consoles, but actually feel purpose-made for the Xperia Play. You often find games that are shrunk, shortened and downsized in order to work on a mobile phone, but this isn't the case with this phone - it essentially feels like a real PlayStation experience. The graphics are excellent as well (for the modern takes on games, whereas Crash Bandicoot is, as it always was, a bit 1990's :P). Overall the games are hugely entertaining, graphically brilliant, fast to run and play and keep you occupied for hours, as Sony intended the phone to do.

With any phone, there are going to be a few niggles and complaints, and the Xperia Play hasn't escaped this inevitability:

1) The connectivity to the Internet, the Andriod market, apps such as Facebook etc has been very temporamental. The connection would drop often and you'd have to reload the app to regain the link. I know it's the phone and not my connection because the iPhone connected/connects without issue most of the time. Generally, though, the connectivity isn't too bad.

2) The Xperia Play optimised-games library (games made for use with the unique gamepad) - some games usable with the gamepad are stored on your library, some of them are stored amongst your other ordinary phone apps, which is annoying. Why can't they be in the same place?

3) The analog/joystick buttons' sensitivity on the gamepad. They're a bit too sensitive for my liking and in a lot of games that require them, you cannot alter the sensitivity. Shooting-game fans probably know what I mean - you're trying to run and shoot an enemy, or stand and shoot even, and you're firing all over the place because you cannot control the joystick. It's a pain and puts me off some high-profile games such as Tom Clancy and Battlefield. The rest of the buttons are perfectly fine, it's just the joysticks.

On the whole, the Xperia Play is a really good phone which will keep you busy and satisfied for hours. The thing that impresses me the most is the lack of adapting you have to do to get exactly what you want out of it. With the iPhone, you'd *need* to download certain facilities to have them at all, including sat-nav apps, voice control apps, video camera apps (on previous iPhones), office programmes, instant messaging etc. The Xperia Play comes with a lot of things as standard - it's ready made and ready to go. Add in the gamepad sensation, it's an excellent phone. If you can ignore the shortfalls I listed above, get it.

Oh, and by the way, it's around half the price of an iPhone, with more as standard and more appeal. The iPhone is a fashion item; the Xperia Play is a true experience. Bit of a no-brainer!
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on 1 April 2011
The Xperia Play is an amazing phone. I received it yesterday (Thursday the 31st of March - not from Amazon though) and I love it. As an Android phone it is very slick and does everything that can be expected. As it runs gingerbread (2.3) it has all the latest features. I previously had a Nexus S but this beats it by miles. It is faster, slicker and appears to use considerably less battery. (I have removed a number of widgets from the home screen and customised the synchronisation times.)

The playstation feature is great with the slide out gamepad being just as it should. The buttons are easy to use and feel just right. The pre-installed games (in my case Crash Bandicoot, Asphalt, Fifa 10, the Sims 3, Star Battalion and Bruce Lee) work fantastically well. Obviously the gameplay in Fifa10 on the PS3 is better but what can you expect from a mobile... Crash Bandicoot, originally a PS1 game which I loved, works great and I would say it runs better on the Xperia Play than on my old PS1...

The phone feels sturdily built and the slide out gamepad does not feel fragile. This is in stark contrast to other phones such as the Desire Z where it felt like the keyboard would fall off at any time. Personally I am also a big fan of having the 4 Android buttons at the bottom of the phone (back, home, menu and search) as `real' keys that are raised up rather than the touch variety which seems to have become popular on many Android devices. But I suppose that is a personal taste issue.

The screen is also fantastic. It has a very good resolution and is not very reflective (compared to others). A screen protector came in the box which is always a plus. The only negative bit is that the colours are not quite as vivid as on for example the Nexus S but they are still very good.
The phone itself is quite chunky and is considerably thicker than my previous Nexus S. This will bother some as it won't sit as neatly in a pocket. However, I rather have the gamepad and a chunky phone... but that is a personal choice and if you are not into gaming it is a lot of extra weight, size and features that you will never use.

All in all so far, after a day and a bit, I must emphatically say that the Xperia Play is the best Android phone I have ever had. (And as a phone geek I have had a few - HTC Hero, Desire, Desire Z, SE Xperia X10 and Mini, Google Nexus One and S.) This is thanks to a great combination of a great Android device and a fantastic portable gaming experience!
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on 13 December 2011
Ok so I have recently switched from an iPhone 3Gs to the xperia play and I can safely say that it was a very good decision! What first interested me was the controller part obviously as a bit of a gamer and hating having to use on-screen controls.

It really is a beautifully made phone, in sleek black with metallic sides, the phone is very aesthetically pleasing. The feel of the phone is great as well, I'm a big guy so the weight and size are perfect for me. It feels safe in my hands as the right side is contoured to house the L and R buttons and the volume buttons, this enables a good grip on the phone. I do find the controller part is a little small for my giant hands but that goes with the territory! The slide-out controller is sturdy and smooth, can't fault it at all.

Before I got my hands on the phone after ordering I read a few negative reviews and questioned whether I had made a mistake but as soon as I got it out of the box I knew I had made a wise choice. Coming from the iOS operating system I was a virgin to android and wasn't sure what to expect. At first I found it hard to get on with, not realising the ability to customise to your hearts content, once I got the hang of it I really fell in love and could never go back to an iphone.

The phone's camera is superb for a 5mp. At night the pictures can be a little fuzzy and the flash a little too artificial(although it does make for an excellent torch.) But in daylight it takes stunning pictures and the video recording is also fantastic. Very crisp and the noise cancelling mic does it's job well. I recorded a band called Mr.Woodnote playing in Bristol Broadmead shopping centre with my phone and it looks like it could have been filmed by a HD camcorder. I was actually blown away and so were every one I have shown! Very impressive, another massive tick for the play.

Now onto the so named part of the phone, the gaming. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the wave of great games that have been released that are optimised for the play, after an initial no show launch of only a handful of games. The included games were a good introduction. I found fifa 10 to be very disappointing but thanks to the lads at EA they've been working hard on fifa 12 and it really is incredible for a mobile game. The commentary, the fan chants, the depth, are all outstanding, the gameplay is smooth and slick, you have to use the touch pad controls to run and do tricks but they work well for this game. There is occasional lag but then it is a pretty immense game.

There are a number of other great titles available, many of them free for a time or even just completely free. Titles such as Dead Space, Need For Speed Shift and Hot Pursuit, battlefield which are all optimised for the controller and work well. Now what my favourite part of the phone is that I have put snes, megadrive and n64, psx emulators on the phone and can play all the old classics, on my phone, with buttons! The emu's all map to the controller so it really is like playing the old games. Mario Kart, Super Mario, Zelda anyone? For this alone any retro gamer would be a fool to go for any other phone as this phone really ticks all the boxes.

The battery life is quite good considering how much I put it through, the ability to change the battery is such a great option as I keep a spare in my wallet. I had to have a chunky battery case on my iphone to have less of a boost. The sat-nav is brilliant, kudos for google for making such an amazing app and giving it away for free. Another great thing about android is that I have hardly paid anything for all my apps and games but my phone is jam-packed with so many quality, useful apps without raping my wallet.

A big plus, I mean a gigantic plus is that this phone has glorious stereo speakers. They really pump it out, the best and loudest sound I've heard coming from a phone. With the PowerAMP app you get an amazing music player with everything you could ever want from a music player. I used to use a mini-speaker to boost my iphone but I don't even need it, but if I do use it it comes out louder than the iphone connected to it. Another check in the awesome column for me!

Another great aspect of Android is that it supports the much-contested flash format. This means I've got straight-up youtube and iplayer streams and in browser videos all play perfectly. I have to say well done android and well done sony ericsson, I was weary of going back to sony ericsson after the awful vivaz was talked into my possession on a £35 a month plan. That was a piece of crap, but they have stepped up the plate with the 2nd gen xperia phones, the Arc S looks incredible and would have been my choice if this amazing phone didn't exist.

One final thing I must say is that if you buy this phone you must purchase a screen protector or put the one on if provided. Mine didn't come with one and I didn't order one straight away and the combination of my busy lifestyle, my eagerness to play with the phone and my slight clumsiness the screen had a slight scratch in it after two days. The screen does damage quite easily. It is now pretty beat up because well I've been partying hard, I did drop it and a slight chip came off the top left of the phone but it's barely noticable. The phone is really sturdy and can take a drop.

So I cannot recommend this phone highly enough, end of discussion. Hope you enjoyed this review!
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on 4 December 2012
The idea of the gaming phone is just brilliant, especially love it as you can use old consoles emulators and play good old games using the real gamepad.
Unfortunately the overall quality of the phone is not that great. The internal memory amount is very low and only allow to keep several essential applications installed.
The most annoying thing however is a plastic screen which is full of scratches just after one year of use.
Would love to see the 2nd version of the Play from Sony, using not the cheapest available components.
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on 2 May 2011
This was my first experience using an android phone and I've been using it now for about 2-3 weeks.

The phone looks professional and can turn into the ultimate hand held gaming system, as well as boasting a very high resolution screen which peforms well during the sunlight.
It's very responsive and it hasn't yet frozen. The android market is easy to search through and has plenty on offer.

My only critism is that the battery life is pretty poor but you can expect that from any smartphone.
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on 5 April 2011
I have owned a few android products in the past ie HTC and SAMSUNG including the DELL STREAK and not to mention the truely awful Laggy SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB!!! This SONY XPERIA PLAY is really magnificent and the new updated android system is really fast!
This is the first android sony phone ive ever owned but using this reminded me why i had a passion for all SONY related products a few years back!! The screen is good the build is solid and there is no compromise with what you can do with the phone alone excluding the gaming side of it!! Overall i am very pleased with this phone and it definately wont be going anywhere anytime soon!
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on 8 September 2011
I've just had the phone for about a day, but I'm so impressed I just had to write a review on Amazon.

The phone might not have the latest in terms of specs, but it works just so well as a whole, that I couldn't care less. My previous phone was an HTC Hero, which was pretty buggy and in general a pretty horrible experience for the last 2 years my contract has lasted. This phone, on the other hand, is really responsive, fast and snappy, Sony's UI is really polished and just works. The gaming aspect, including the controls, feel great. And there's loads of games on the Android Market that make use of them, I tried Cordy and it was a pleasure to play, you just can't compare to on-screen controls. Battery life is standard for a smartphone, around a day with heavy use, probably will hold out for 2 days if used less. My work phone is an iPhone, and it just looks so dated and clunky next to the Xperia Play.

Only two little things I'm not 100% convinced about, the screen does seem a bit dim, not as bright as other devices I've seen, and the glass is really delicate, I've already somehow managed to scratch it a little bit, so a screen protector and cover is due, I've just ordered them from Amazon.

Sony's software and support are way better than HTC's, PC companion works great, makes everything easy, and the apps and widgets included on the device all look great and just flow.

If you plan on getting an Android smartphone, I would highly recommend the Xperia Play!
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on 8 January 2013
After purchasing this phone over a year ago now the phone has been extremely good and possibly the best phone i have ever had! within the past 4 months though i have had major issues with the phone, first being the screen went fuzzy and would just freeze for different lengths of time some being half a day so i sent it off to be repaired under the warranty and it was done for free (took about 8 days).

Got my phone back and couldn't be happier, they replaced my screen for me, brilliant! about a month down the line from that incident, same issue starts to happen again, still under my warranty as well as the new repair warranty or whatever it was called, i sent the phone off once again only to be told this issue is not covered by the warranty so now i'm looking at charges of around £40-£50 to repair my phone for a fault that is clearly due to the manufacturing of the phone.

Understanding that this may have been just me being unlucky, although i have heard many complaints of people having the same issue, this phone is still by far a great phone! it can run very high graphic games, its sound is pretty damn amazing, the PSP control system is brilliant and the overall feel of the phone is very smooth and easy to use.
i would easily buy this phone again and just hope i didn't have the same issues again.
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