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Sony Ericsson Xperia arc review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £399
inc VAT

Subtle and practical improvements to Android, a decent camera and a large, colourful screen make the arc tempting, but it may soon find itself outpaced by dual-core models.


Android 2.3, 4.2in 480×854 display

We expected the Xperia arc to be about the same as the Xperia Play but without the gaming controls, and yet its slimness and lightness still came as a surprise. It may be thicker than Samsung’s Galaxy S (Sony Ericsson’s claimed 8.7mm thickness only measures the thinnest part of the phone) but its arced shape feels more comfortable to hold. The curvy design has chrome highlights and the rear of the case transitions from dark blue to a sparkly grey, while the handset feels well made.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc side

The phone is packed with features. You get an 8.1-megapixel camera with an LED flash that can capture 720p video, and it comes with anti-shake and face recognition. Pictures taken with the camera had much less noise than in most other phone cameras, and video was also crisp and colourful. The arc also has a GPS chip, plus Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The battery lasted almost 33 hours in our light usage test, but with moderate use of 3G data, Wi-Fi and GPS you’ll probably need to charge it every night, as with most smartphones.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc back

One of Android’s main problems is a lack of storage; not all apps support installation on an SD card, so it’s wise to opt for a phone with extra internal storage if you like trying out lots of apps. While many Android phones have only around 150MB free for apps, the arc has 380MB left of its 1GB total internal storage, so you won’t be too limited in your use of the Market.

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Price £399
Rating ****


Main display size 4.2in
Native resolution 480×854
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 8.1-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format MP4
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 512MB
Memory card support microSD
Memory card included 8192MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSPA
Size 125x63x11mm
Weight 117g


Operating system Android 2.3
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, AAC, OGG
Video playback formats 3GP, MP4, XviD
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger, HDMI cable
Talk time 7 hours
Standby time 16.7 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 32h 54m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £399
Price on contract £30-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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