The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S has a very slight outward curve to its long edges. This is accentuated by the inward curving silver side panel. Some people have made a lot of this feature, though we aren’t particularly taken with it.
We also felt the handset was let down by its build quality. It feels less robust than other smartphones here. In particular, the backplate is large, thin and very flexible. Keep this phone well away from heavy-handed friends. On the other hand, the Arc S has a very light overall weight of just 117g.
We didn’t like Sony’s placement of the headphone input on the upper left edge of the handset. This phone requires more pocket space than it should, and our headset connector snagged risking damage to the phone and our clothing.
The screen is a generous 4.29in diagonally, but we still weren’t able to reach right across for one handed use. It is bright, sharp and clear. The resolution of 480x854-pixels is adequate for delivery of even quite small text, though we’d have liked the screen to be a little brighter.
Very oddly there’s no automatic screen brightness setting. Instead you have to use the sliding scale in the Settings area to change brightness. This seems particularly odd as Sony Ericsson has talked up its Mobile BRAVIA Engine screen technology which it says delivers improved still and video quality. We didn’t notice a great improvement on other smartphones with good quality screens though.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S sports a very fast 1.4GHz single core processor which we found did not falter under our fingers. The internal memory, though, at 1GB is paltry, and only 320MB of that is free. An 8GB microSD card is provided and this gives adequate storage space.
Sony Ericsson’s Android skin includes its Timescape social media system which captures messages from Facebook and Twitter and presents them in a flick-through carousel. It’s an acquired taste that won’t appeal to all but it is easily ignored.
Sony Ericsson has not always made the best of its smartphones, and some models can be described as frankly disappointing. But the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is thin, light and powerful, though let down by some build issues.
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Sony Ericsson hasn’t always made the best of its smartphones, and some models can be described as, frankly, disappointing. But the Xperia Arc S is a thin, light and powerful Android smartphone, although it’s let down by some build issues.
Orignial review by Ross Catanzariti on the next page >>