The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the first phone by Sony Ericsson that claims to be a dedicated gaming phone and uses the PlayStation franchise. It boasts proper hardware gaming controls which could be enough to convince hard core gaming fans to splurge on this unique smartphone.
The Xperia Play has a 4” screen, making it bigger than most smartphone screens. Its dimensions are 119 x 62 x 16 mm, so it can’t be comfortably used with just one hand. It seems to have been made for two-handed use, similar to the PlayStation controller. It weighs 175 grams, which is a bit heavy, but the build is sturdy and it feels good when held in both hands and you’re ready to “Play”.
The phone features a LED backlit LCD capacitive touch screen which can display 16M colors at 480 x 854 pixels. The display is good, but it’s not very bright, even at the brightest level, so sunlight legibility may be an issue in this device. The phone is in a top-slider and the slide is quite good, assisted by springs and locks in place for gaming. In an open position you can see the gaming buttons. The gaming deck is designed to imitate the Sony DualShock controller used with the PlayStation console. The d-pad and four gaming buttons are all there. Touch-based controls are in place for the analog joysticks while the L & R buttons are on the top when the phone is held in landscape orientation.
The Xperia Play has all features present in standard Android smartphones. It has an accelerometer sensor, multi-touch input, 3G, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, b/g/n WiFi and the phone can also be used as a WiFi hotspot. A 3.5 mm jack, stereo speakers and microUSB port are all there along with a 5MP sharp shooter with an LED flash. It’s powered by 1GHz Scorpion processor with Adreno 205 GPU. The phone comes with Timescape UI and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s no smart dialing but messaging with predictive text is great.
The Xperia Play is one of the most expensive smartphones on the market, retailing for $549.99, thanks to its unique gaming deck and its ability to run PlayStation games. Game enthusiast should be reminded though about the recent hack of Sony PlayStation’s global network. Such security fallouts can happen in the future and your personal data maybe stolen.