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Is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play the best cheap(ish) smartphone?

Is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play the best value for money smartphone at the moment?

Most Useful Answer CTPAHHIK  Dec. 20, 2011 at 08:22

Regarding Sony headphones. I have Skullcandys that work with BB and DHD, but not with Sony. They work with iPhone for sound, but microphone does not work (says so in description). With Sony (Play, X10 and X10 mini) they do not work at all. I've tried £5 Philips headphones and original iPhone ones and neither one is working. Finally, I took Sony's headphones and plugged them into laptop, guess what, they do not work. Sony hardware only. Looks like Sony will be another Apple very soon.

Samsung Galaxy S was never a great phone. I was contemplating getting one, but WiFi and GPS problems put me off and I eventually got DHD (£200 vs. £350 for Sammy). If comparing Galaxy S and Play I would go for Play if both are in same price range.

I completely agree that for £150 Play is a great phone (was a great phone). I'm glad you like it. I liked it also for about a month. That's how long it took realization to set in that phone is cheap sh*t. Playing aspect is only thing good about it. I'm hoping ICS or XDA guys will fix most bugs and get rid of Sony crapware (pre-installed).

There are hidden expenses that come attached to Play. You need a better keyboard app, as the one from Sony is not good. I'm using SwiftKey (paid), Beautiful Widgets (paid) and different messaging app to replace TimeScape.
In addition, there is £10 - £15 charge to have phone bootloader unlocked without voiding warranty. If you use official Sony method you void your warranty and mess up Sony recovery. There is way to relock bootloader, but it's a hassle when you cannot power on phone. And you cannot use Sony recovery without relocking bootloader.

Right now I would pay again £200 for DHD rather than £150 for Play. On the other hand, there is no reason to do that, as Optimux 2X is £200 and that would be my ultimate budget buy right now.

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14 comments

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 29, 2011 at 13:22

I spent a few days with one recently. For the money (€140-ish here in Ireland) it is a good buy; but even at that price it comes with occasional sluggishness (and I wasn't even playing any heavy games on it) and overall plenty of bugs. It's bulky, looks cheap, and battery life sucks.

phil0011  Dec. 7, 2011 at 15:26

Was just about to buy one - you put me off !
Thanks for the warning !

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 8, 2011 at 07:52

You still going to buy one. There is no alternative. Anything with similar specs will set you off £200.
It's possible that Christmas sale will have some new alternatives.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 8, 2011 at 08:50

CTPAHHIK does have a point. I was a bit harsh. It's crap, but if that is your price range, than it's not the crappiest.

JoeBear  Dec. 8, 2011 at 15:04

Completely disagree - I've had one for about a month now. Never experienced any sluggishness or bugs (apparently the latest official update has rectified a lot of things) and certainly doesn't look cheap - no cheaper than any other smartphone with a plastic battery cover anyway.

As for battery - yesterday I had mine on full brightness with WiFi on all day, I took a few photos and sent them via bluetooth, played about an hour of minecraft pocket edition (worth the 10p on android market...) and listened to about an hour of music through the speaker at max volume - and still had 20% battery left (total time off charge - about 14 hours)

Yes its a bit of a bulky thing - but you can't have everything :)

Even with a budget of £200 what would beat the specs?

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 9, 2011 at 09:28

Hi joebear :)

I don't disagree with you. But after all, the Play was designed to be a £400+ phone. That puts it in the high-end. Not to mention the 10 year hype and rumours...

Bearing that it mind it is a stinker. It's a good stinker for €140. Sure. But not counting the play pad - put it side by side with any other £400+ device, and you gotta admit it feels bulky, cheap and sluggish.
The HP Touchpad was dumped in a similar fashion, but it can hold its head hight next to a Galaxy Tab or Iconia etc...

JoeBear  Dec. 9, 2011 at 10:22

I'm not pretending its better than a SGS2 that's for sure :) and if it was still £400+ then I agree it would deserve a proper kicking review wise.

But at £150 I think its a great phone - and if that's xploder's budget then I don't really think they could do better. A stretch to £250 for the optimus 2x would probably be needed to get a better phone specs wise?...

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 9, 2011 at 11:56

From new handsets Galaxy W should be in £200 range. There has to be some Christmas deals coming up.
From old ones Galaxy S and Desire S.

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 9, 2011 at 12:21

Actually, £250 for Optimus or Atrix is highly overpriced. Both phones were £230 in September. You are paying premium for privilege of having one as both pretty much extinct.

Xperia Play running xxxx.A.0.42 gets sluggish quite often. It freezes up randomly in apps force closes once in a while. There are lots of improvements now compared original 2.3.2 android that it had. However, it's nowhere near HTC handsets with same hardware in terms of performance and quality of software (stability, flexibility, UI, widget, etc).

To make matters worse Sony's Timescape is awful, there are lots of useless applications (either completely redundant or not working properly) that keep running in background, music player is not very good (mind this is a multimedia phone), your need special headphones (anything that is not Sony will not work) and lots of other minor things that make overall experience around £180 mark.

danjlamb  Dec. 20, 2011 at 06:55

i bought one a little over 2 weeks ago and i think it is great.so good that I have sold my samsung galaxy s .you can wear any earphones with this phone i think CTPAHHIK must work for one of sonys rivals.
for the price you will find it very hard to beat

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 20, 2011 at 08:22

Regarding Sony headphones. I have Skullcandys that work with BB and DHD, but not with Sony. They work with iPhone for sound, but microphone does not work (says so in description). With Sony (Play, X10 and X10 mini) they do not work at all. I've tried £5 Philips headphones and original iPhone ones and neither one is working. Finally, I took Sony's headphones and plugged them into laptop, guess what, they do not work. Sony hardware only. Looks like Sony will be another Apple very soon.

Samsung Galaxy S was never a great phone. I was contemplating getting one, but WiFi and GPS problems put me off and I eventually got DHD (£200 vs. £350 for Sammy). If comparing Galaxy S and Play I would go for Play if both are in same price range.

I completely agree that for £150 Play is a great phone (was a great phone). I'm glad you like it. I liked it also for about a month. That's how long it took realization to set in that phone is cheap sh*t. Playing aspect is only thing good about it. I'm hoping ICS or XDA guys will fix most bugs and get rid of Sony crapware (pre-installed).

There are hidden expenses that come attached to Play. You need a better keyboard app, as the one from Sony is not good. I'm using SwiftKey (paid), Beautiful Widgets (paid) and different messaging app to replace TimeScape.
In addition, there is £10 - £15 charge to have phone bootloader unlocked without voiding warranty. If you use official Sony method you void your warranty and mess up Sony recovery. There is way to relock bootloader, but it's a hassle when you cannot power on phone. And you cannot use Sony recovery without relocking bootloader.

Right now I would pay again £200 for DHD rather than £150 for Play. On the other hand, there is no reason to do that, as Optimux 2X is £200 and that would be my ultimate budget buy right now.

JoeBear  Dec. 20, 2011 at 15:22

I use skullcandy FMJ's with my play and they work fine - maybe you had a faulty headphone socket?... Admittedly timescape isn't great, but its easy to ignore, unlike a lot of the other Android custom UI's (I think I'm the only person who dislikes HTC sense...)

+1 on hoping that ICS improves the play a little bit.

Also - Why is the Mobot comment box so tiny?..

CTPAHHIK  Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:24

I have to check which headphones I have as there a lot of different Skullcandys. I know for sure that it's not a headphone socket, cause X10 mini and mini pro have the same problem. As all three phones came with headphone I can interchange them, but cannot get any other brand to work.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:46

It has actually been mentioned in numerous reviews that the Play requires proprietary headphones. The Play i set up for a friend wouldn't work with Sennheisers nor Phillips nor Nokia earphones.

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