The Sony Xperia ion is projecting itself as a contender in the top-end smartphone segment, competing against the Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X. But will this gambit pay off?
The Xperia lineup has seen some good-looking smartphones. Earlier this year, the company introduced a new design with a domed shape and a thin, transparent panel at the bottom. Although it looked flashy, the strip did not add any value to the phone. The ion ditches the transparent panel though it retains the domed design. The phone’s 4.6-inch HD display makes it really big to hold. However, the menu, home, back and search buttons below do not add up to a fresh look. The plastic-metal back panel is done in red and looks a bit incongruent.
The Sony ion packs in a 4.6-inch HD Reality Display. This fancy term stands for 720p (1280x720) LED panel with a pixel density of 342 dpi. Combined with the Mobile Bravia Engine, this means enhanced sharpness, increased contrast and saturation. Overall, a better experience with images and videos. The display has an excellent viewing angle. But we recommend a screen protector as we could feel a couple of scratches on our newish review unit.
Though their cameras are getting better, most Android smartphones now don’t bother about a camera key. The ion is an exception and has one on the right panel to instantly launch the 12MP camera that captures crisp and bright images. Snaps shot in daylight were impressive, but as soon as came indoors, we could spot some noise. Low light conditions only made things worse. While the default setting was at 9MP with scene recognition, you can choose other modes as in a compact camera, to 12MP with normal mode, for instance. We could also capture full HD videos.
The experience of using this Android-powered smartphone was good but not exceptional. The phone instantly downloaded the web settings and connected us to the Internet for fetching email, downloading apps and browsing the Web. The overall speed was good without any lag. To run the Android Ice-Cream Sandwich OS, the Sony ion packs in a 1.5GHz dual-core processor combined with 1GB RAM. This also explains the steep price tag. This phone is definitely faster than the Xperia S but does not match up to the performance of the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy SIII.