Phone Upgrade: Sony Xperia Go

Eight years after I bought my first smartphone, I finally upgraded. I had initially thought about getting a entry-to-mid-level Android phone that costs less than PHP7,000 while saving up for the iPhone 4s that I wanted. However, I realized that I won’t be able to afford that any time in the near future, so I decided to go to the mid-level to high Android phones.

Xperia go attracted me for a few reasons: First, it’s waterproof and dustproof. It may not be a deal breaker for some but I don’t mind having this as an extra (knowing me, it’s going to come in handy). Second, I like the Xperia interface a little better than the skins of other Android handsets. Lastly, while it costs a little more than my original set budget, it was still reasonable.

Online reviews give the Xperia Go an average of 3.5 stars. Among the gripes these reviewers have is that the screen is small for today’s standards (3.5 inches), not to mention its quality at 480 x 320 pixels (you can see the specs here). Some reviewers didn’t like the material the phone’s back was covered with, while others bemoaned that internal storage was only 4 GB.

Frankly, I think we’re all just spoiled and want the biggest and fastest in every handset and still keep it at a low price. Anyway, here’s my take.

  • Phone size and material – The size of the Xperia Go is just right for me. I have small hands, therefore big screened phones like the Arc S or even Samsung Galaxy S II is too much for me as a mobile phone. The Xperia Go is about the same width as my Sony Ericsson P800, but much thinner, making it easier for me to handle. The phone’s rough exterior prevents the phone from slipping through my hands, which is nice. It also has a notch at the bottom that you can use to sling a lanyard through, which is helpful if you would be bringing this phone out to your activities.
  • Screen size and resolution – It may not be that big, but it works fine for me. Photos display great, with or without the Bravia Engine. The YouTube app loaded my video pretty fast, and there was hardly any buffering. The quality isn’t as good as it would have been on a laptop, but it works. Let’s see how it works with a subtitled show later.
  • Android OS – Another gripe reviews had with Go was that it came with Gingerbread and not ICS. Since Sony said they’ll be rolling out updates on their handsets soon, I’m not really worried. Plus, ignorant that I am of Android stuff, I don’t really see the difference yet.

    One thing I would want to have though, is the ability to sort the apps on the App Screen into folders. I can put apps on the home screen and sort them, but everything else is scattered when you open the main app page. Running a launcher may help, but I wish it would be a native feature.

  • Battery – Off the box my battery lasted for a little more than 8 hours, with me taking a few pictures & using WiFi. It’s first charge lasted over 20 hours, which is pretty good considering that I was online, downloading apps, using the camera and making calls the whole day.
  • Camera – One of the biggest draws of the iPhone 4S for me is the camera. Xperia Go comes with a 5MP camera, which is now considered mid-range. Colors seem a little bright, and blowing up the photo shows you some distortion. It doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone’s camera (I am obviously biased right?), but for on-the-go photographs and posting to social media sites like FB or Instagram, it does its job well.

I won’t go into the technical details. Overall, the phone has performed great for my use. It’s small and handy, it’s got great response time (though there’s some moments when it lags, but no biggie) and it’s not attention grabbing (I got the black one). I’m not the going to say that the Xperia Go is the best phone ever, but it fits my needs and I’m pretty satisfied with it.

Other thoughts:

  • I like the fact that it supports Tagalog, so when I type messages, I can easily pick words that I use regularly.
  • Keyboard isn’t as bad as I thought, bsed on the reviews, but since I don’t have anything to compare it with, I’m pretty happy.
  • I wish Sony Xperia has a theme where I can change from dark background and light text to vice versa.
  • WiFi works great, but I’ve yet to try using it as a hotspot. I’m using Globe with this phone and somehow it doesn’t connect to it’s 3G. I copied settings off Drew, who has an Xperia Pro (when I try to download settings from Globe they say it’s not compatible with my phone) but I still can’t connect. Boo.

I have yet to dunk it in water though.

Photos to follow.