Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc Review

by on May 8, 2011
in Android, Gadgets

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc – the phone with curves. It is the most gorgeous device from Sony Ericsson. I have always liked SE because of their designs, sound quality and most of all, their camera lens which they use in their smartphones.

First, Sony Ericsson came out with the famous Cybershot phones with amazing camera quality – and not just camera, they had the best music quality as well. And now, with the XPERIA Arc, they have raised the bar again with the amazing Exmor R photography. It the same lens which is used in several Sony Cybershot cameras i.e DSC-TX7.

Let’s begin with the review now and see how this phone performs in other features as well.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc Review

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc was announced at MWC’11 this year along with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play and a couple of other phones. This is the latest flagship device from Sony Ericsson, which is also the successor to XPERIA X10. Talking about the X10, Sony Ericsson managed it quite well to mess up that phone with a very late launch, delayed OS upgrades etc. But we hope they don’t do the same with the Arc.

Here are the technical specifications of the device:

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Specifications

  • Display: 4.2-inch LED-backlit LCD display (480 x 854 pixels), BRAVIA Mobile engine
  • Processor/GPU: 1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
  • Camera: 8 MP camera with autofocus, Exmor R, autofocus, LED flash, no secondary camera
  • Video: HD video recording at 30 fps (720p), continuous auto-focus
  • Memory: 512MB RAM, 320MB internal memory, 8GB microSD card included, microSD slot upto 32GB
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, microUSB, HDMI out
  • Other: Flash Player 10.2 support, A-GPS, FM Radio, 3.5 mm jack, accelerometer, Document Viewer, Facebook/Twitter integration, TrackID music recognization
  • Battery: 1500 mAh Li-Po
  • OS: Android 2.3 with Sony Ercisson XPERIA UI.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Design

XPERIA Arc has those curves that we have been waiting to find in a phone. It’s really slim and curvy. This phone is only 8.7mm thin, that is just 0.2mm more than the Samsung Galaxy S II and way thinner the XPERIA Play. It weighs only 117g.

Arc is flat from the front, but all curvy at the bottom. On the front side, you can see sensors at the top, along with the Sony Ericsson logo. Unfortunately, there is no secondary camera included included in this device. I personally think SE should have included that in the XPERIA Arc, now that Google has also released video-calling to Google Talk. On the bottom front, three are three keys: Back, Home, Menu.

Back side of the phone has a noise-cancelling second mic, 8 megapixels camera and an LED flash.

On the sides, you can find the microUSB port, volume controls and the dedicated camera key on the right side, and the 3.5mm audio jack on the left. Mic is at the bottom of the phone.

Top of the Xperia Arc has a HDMI out and the power button.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Display

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc comes with a 4.2-inch large LED-backlit LCD display, powered by the BRAVIA Mobile engine. This is one major improvement over the display found in the XPERIA X10 – and even in the XPERIA Play.

BRAVIA Mobile engine on the XPERIA Play isn’t really better than Super AMOLED on the Nexus S or Galaxy S (full review), but in some cases it is. Super AMOLED still has the best contrast and vivd colours, but when it comes to using the phone out in direct sunlight, BRAVIA engine beats out Super AMOLED.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Processor/Speed

Under the hood, XPERIA Arc is powered by the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU. I honestly think this phone was worthy of a dual-core processor, but oh well. Overall speed is good. Considering the amount of modifications Sony Ericsson has done to Android, this phone does not feel slow at all. You will notice a very slight lag when you pinch-to-zoom on the homescreen and all the widgets show up on your screen.

When compared to the XPERIA Play, Arc certainly is way faster. Playing games on the XPERIA Arc is also a smooth experience, thanks to the Adreno 205 GPU in the phone.

A small benchmark test between the Google Nexus S and XPERIA Arc also proved that the Arc is certainly the faster one here. Benchmark screenshots were not possible due to a colour bug with Sony Ericsson XPERIA devices.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Camera/Video

This is where the XPERIA Arc leads all the other Android devices – till we get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy S2. The Exmor R in the XPERIA Arc is a sure treat for whoever decides to get this smartphone!

Camera is really good with lightening fast shutter speed. XPERIA Arc has a 8 megapixels camera at the back, but unfortunately, folks at Sony Ericsson thought a secondary camera won’t be of need in this phone. I guess they were not aware of Android 2.3.4 bringing video-calling to Google Talk.

Photo quality is good. For a while photos seem to be washed out, but after a little tweaking in the settings and colours, photos got perfect – just the way we wanted. You can see a few sample shots I took with the XPERIA Arc below. Click on the image for the full-resolution photo.

The XPERIA Arc is capable of recording 720p HD videos.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Body/Build Quality


Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc is very identical to the XPERIA X10. The only difference is that it’s much more thinner and is slightly bigger in size and not to forget the curves at the back! You can see our XPERIA Arc vs XPERIA X10 comparison here! It has a 4.3-inch screen, but the phone doesn’t feel big in hands at all.

The phone has a plastic body, more like the Galaxy S kind-of (also Galaxy SL review). But the point to be noted here is that it doesn’t feel cheap plastic when holding the phone.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Connectivity

XPERIA Arc offers several connectivity options such as Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, HDMI out and microUSB support. You can use the HDMI out to connect your phone to a high-definition TV and watch photos, videos or just for the heck of it, even play games on the big TV screen from your phone!

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Battery

This phone is powered with a 1500 mAh battery that provides talktime of 7 hours on 2G and 7 hours on 3G. Standby time is of 430 hours on 2G and 400 hours on 3G.

Thank you Rutaba Yaqub for helping out!

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc: Photos

For more reviews and comparison, hands-on photos/videos of Sony Ericsson XPERIA series, see links below:

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