on 16 March 2012
I waited for more than a year for this device. I wanted a smart phone. But I knew that it would never work for me to write emails and messages on a touch display. Also I have some knowledge about muscle memory, how the brain works in learning auto responses like typing on a keyboard. Having a hardware keyboard with a physical layout and resistance in the keys can speed up the learning process 5-10 times compared to a virtual keyboard where the brain has nothing to "grab" on to except for what the eyes can see. After 2 weeks use I was typing with my thumbs without thinking. And THAT is the reason you need a physical keyboard. A touch screen cannot compete with this. After 1 month i could type 5 times faster than the average touch phone user.
But what makes this phone so phenomenally great is the whole package. The keyboard is perfectly spaced, the keys perfectly raised. And this is probably not an easy thing to achieve. I bet a lot of research has gone into this. And it makes a world of difference when writing messages and emails. The phone is incredibly sturdy compared to other qwerty androids like the HTC Desire Z. I have carried it in my pocket with my keys. I have it dropped several times. And I cannot find i single scratch on it. It has a great camera and front facing camera as well. The phone just has everything i could put on a wish list. The screen looks amazing too.
2 things they could improve for the next version. The GPS is unreliable. It only works 50% of the time. And the noise reduction makes people unable to hear what you say in many circumstances. It took me several months before I discovered that the problem was caused by the noise reduction. But these 2 issues are not enough to detract from what I consider a perfect phone really.
on 23 July 2012
Firstly let me just say that xperia pro is NOT upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and it doesn't look this will change. So if ICS is a must for you have to look elsewhere. Sony (PC companion) will encourage you to do it but do yourself a favour and keep the old Gingerbread on otherwise you'll have to send your phone back to Sony's repair centre (that's 3 weeks wait) who will revert the OS to Gingerbread. Yes that's right, they will NOT put ICS on. It's a shame that ICS rollout process is handled so terribly by Sony with even worse customer relations as the phone is excellent with the old system on it...as long as you are willing to experiment with apps that is but more on that later.
OK let's move onto the phone (running on Gingerbread)
It's has been almost a week with xperia pro and so far so good.
I've been with blackberry for almost 3 years and finally decided to leave them because I need more from my phone than just typing and calling (RIM is moving backwards with their product/software development and it's not the same direction I want to go:). Saying that typing and calling are at the top of my requirements list. What this means is that Android experience is new to me. I probably shouldn't count a brief unpleasant experience with HTC Desire S which was terrible, battery lasted half a day of moderate use, unacceptable.
Size and form factor
Out of the box Xperia pro is gorgeous, in black looking very neat and serious although attracting fingerprints a lot (not as badly as HTC Desire S though). Just the right size for me, not too big (S3 / Note) and not too small I can operate it with one hand comfortably which I think is v important. I think this is partially why iphone is so popular (apart from revolutionary marketing); because it's handy. Mobile phone manufacturers are forgetting that mobile phones need to be...mobile, instead they're coming up with bigger and bigger units lasting half a day on battery. Obviously typing is much more comfortable and quicker using landscape mode or slide out keyboard but I can do a lot with one hand i.e. reach every corner of the screen and lock/unlock the phone. Some reviews were complaining about the lock button and I can see why someone can have problems with it since it's quite small and fiddly but I personally don't mind. Yes it could be designed better but hey it's not a deal breaker for me.
USP of this phone and one of the reasons I bought it.
Slide out keyboard works great the sliding motion is firm and smooth, keys are well spaced and a have good grip. Two tinny niggles I have with the keyboard is that letters/digits seem to be printed on keys meaning that they may be prone to wearing out sooner than you wanted them to, and the other is that some additional programmable keys would be very useful i.e. home page button instead of dedicated keyboard language button. Time will show how durable the sliding mechanism is.
One words comes to by mind, gorgeous. Resolution makes text and pictures razor sharp and colours are just right. They are not over saturated like on AMOLED screen which is a good thing to me. Saves eyestrain.
I've done a fair amount of research before I purchased xperia pro as I wanted to make sure that my phone last a day of "normal" use. So, does xperia lasts a day? I'm happy to say it does. I take it off charger at 7am and back at 7pm it shows around 30% during that time I do 3h web browsing / note taking on my way to work, 1h calls, a dozen or so emails being pushed. I would say that the battery last as long as on blackberry 9780 while being a small PC (which blackberry isn't).
My phone came with Gingerbread, but a big sticker on the box said it's ICS upgradable. Unfortunately as I said above it isn't.
I don't know about ICS but Gingerbread in my opinion is terrible. Basically all important things (calling, txt, emails) are not handy. Essential tools are so ineffective and impractical i.e. when you txting previous msgs are hardly visible in preview. Dialer opens on dial pad - seriously, do designers thought customers remember numbers, it should open on last calls or contacts. Thankfully there is Android Market. It took me 3 days to find appropriate apps replacing essential tools that the phone should come with out of the box. There are loads of terrible "time-wasting" apps too. So, instead of my default dialer I have TouchPal, instead Sony's email client I have Google mail, notes; Flicknotes, browser; Dolphin, txt; Gosms pro, JuiceDefender, Liama etc. At some point I started to wonder why people regard Gingerbread as a great system, because I couldn't find one good thing about it. But then it does give you a (bloated with firmware) base for apps so I guess it does the trick. In ideal world I would prefer not to "waste" my time on searching for apps and have a great system out of the box but that's not that easy since everyone wants something different.
Camera is excellent. It's 8MP 4:3 or 6MP 16:9. I prefer the latter. It matches s3 and iphones (and on many occasions Nokia Pureview 808) of this world maybe except missing 1080p recording. Surprisingly good low light performance thanks to Sony's low light sensor. Video recording is 720p, it's smooth which is great. Video plays MP4 up to 720p only so you will need to convert it first. It's a pain but again not a deal breaker
Web surfing is as smooth as silk and as fast as lightning, I'm not even going to compare it to Blackberry. Music coupled with included headphones is great, v clear, much better than in my previous phone Blackberry 9780.
So is this phone perfect? No, it isn't. But no phone really is. It stutters sometimes, and you wanted it to be snappier at times (it may be Android fault in general), it takes time to make the system tailored to your needs but overall it's a great phone and for just under £200 it's a steal.
on 15 February 2012
I bought this phone because I wanted a decent smart phone but I am not a massive fan of touch screen phones so this seemed liked the perfect compromise. The touch screen is smooth and nice to use and the QWERTY keyboard is the best I have ever used. The keys are sturdy and nicely spaced so you never end up pressing letters you don't mean to. The keypad slides out really easily and smoothly - the only downside is that it does feel a little fragile but in reality I have never had a problem. I actually dropped my phone straight onto a concrete pavement and it didn't affect the phone at all.
The battery life is as good as you can expect from a smart phone. With regular usage it easily lasts a day and with light usage it lasts about 2 and a half. A great advantage of this phone is that you can see your phone battery usage so can cut down on the areas which are sucking battery.
The camera is good and clear with all the usual zoom / flash / panoramic features.
The phone is really easy to use. Everything is laid out in a very simple manner (standard android really). Aps easy to download and use.
There are just a couple of downsides. The call volume is good but you need to hold it very close to your ear. Also, it has a feature which cuts out background noise when you speak which is really good but means if you take the mouthpiece more than a few centimetres away the other person can really struggle to hear you. The phone occasionally freezes but only for a couple of seconds which isn't really a big deal.
The main downside is that recently (I've had the phone around 3 months now) the phone has started randomly turning itself off and then on again. Battery is full and I don't even have to be using it and it will just turn off. I don't know if this is just my phone or with all the phones but this is getting to be a problem as it has happened maybe a couple of times a day.
Despite the minor negatives this is a fantastic phone and I am really impressed with it. Great features, light, easy to use with a brilliant key pad. I am surprised this phone hasn't got better marketing as it really is superb.
I bought this phone for the sake of a physical qwerty keypad when my Samsung Galaxy SII was damaged. I get on fine with touch screens but though the physical qwerty might be nice for longer typing/emails etc. I was wrong. It is not just good for longer typing, but I find myself using it for just about ALL typing.
The screen is nice and responsive, like any top notch modern phone and works well. The keys are well spaced and the phone being kept within the 3.7 inch screen size means it is easy to use with two hands, there is no stretching your fingers to reach the opposite sides.
Android and all the usual features are included, which I don't think there is any need to go into here. Sony's UI is nice to use, all works well with no problems with mine.
CAMERA: This is one of the poorest aspects of this phone. The specs sound good but the pictures that result are average at best. Nice bright, sunny days you will get good enough pictures outdoors, but low light or indoors and it struggles to focus, has high noise too.
Overall a good phone for the money. Lots of good points and if you want a modern Android phone with a physical keypad there is no better out there in the UK to date.
on 25 October 2012
Ordered this August 2012 so have had over 2 months of use. First impressions were WOW this is great and the price, what a bargain. It does take a couple of days to setup your own personal home screen but once done it's lovely to use. I can access all my favourite apps and see the data/time/weather, toggle wifi/bluetooth/GPS/screen brightness etc etc all from my home screen.
Keyboard (once you get used to it) is nice to use and is one of the top 3 reasons i purchased it.
Camera i would give it 6.5/10. Does take a little while to focus on an image but if used correctly, works just fine. Not done much filming but for general use, have no issues with it.
However i do find it a bit slippery. Maybe its possible to replace the back cover to one less slippery?
Battery life is good. Low use of the phone can get me through 2 days before a charge.
If you like to play music through your phone, i would recommend purchasing PowerAmp from the Google shop (Play Store). The default music player, although does the job, does not sound anything like PowerAmp. Give the app a try for 30 days.
on 7 July 2012
This is a good phone but buyers should be aware that upgrading to Android 4 (ICS) can cause problems with the physical (slide-out) keyboard. When I upgraded the software on my phone, the QWERTY keyboard was converted to a continental-style AZERTY keyboard. Sony Ericsson agreed to fix the problem but I had to send the phone away to their Service Centre in Kent.
I sent the phone to the Service Centre on 28th June and it came back on 19th July. The keyboard now works OK, but the software has been reverted to Android 2.3.4. Hopefully Sony Ericsson will notify their customers once they have sorted out this problem, so that we can upgrade to Android 4.
on 16 January 2012
Being a physical qwerty keyboard addict, I had looked forward to the release of this handset for some time, and it has not disappointed - the keyboard is a delight to use. Battery life for and android phone is not half bad if you don't keep unnecessary apps running in the background, and I easily get two days from it inbetween charges; plus, it's a bonus that Sony Ericsson have already announced it will being getting an upgrade to ICS, along with others in the Xperia range, in the spring of this year. This is the first review I've written for an item, but the exemplary customer support I received from Amazon in relation to it after purchase, compelled me to do so. I cannot commend them highly enough, and would not hesitate to buy from Amazon again!
on 2 May 2012
I've had my Xperia Pro for two months now and I have to say I'm delighted with it. I had a Mini Pro before and it was the most dreadful phone, the data connection and wifi were awful, sound quality was poor, reception bad and the phone kept rebooting itself for no apparent reason. This couldn't be more different. Phone calls are easy to make and receive, the sound quality is great, the data connection reliable and the phone very stable. It is a nice weight and has a good feel to it, and it looks great. Texting is very easy as you can either use the pullout keyboard or the on screen letters - I have found the Smart Keyboard feature useful as you can type by dragging your finger from one letter to another and the phone guesses the word (correctly 98% of the time). I found the phone very easy to set up and the Sony software very user friendly. I play my music in the car through my phone using Spotify and also listen direct through headphones on the treadmill and the sound quality is good. The other thing I have noticed is that the battery life is miles better than the Mini Pro and even with a fair old bit of use the battery lasts a couple of days. Absolutely no minus points for me, I love my phone!