back to article Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson’s first Xperia smartphones could hardly be called stylish but the new 2011 models are a different kettle of fish. The latest, called the Arc S is quite simply gorgeous. Along with the original Arc and the new Xperia Ray, the Arc S may well qualify as one of the prettiest handsets ever made. Sony Ericsson Xperia …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oi Sony

    Oi Sony.

    *THIS* is how you do it.

    You make nice looking phones with all the features most people could want.

    Where the feck have you been for the last 5 years or so?

    (I just hope you haven't left it too late and go the way of Nokia)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Where have Sony been?

      They have been making great products as usual...

      I think the problem is, you have been mislead by certain fractions of the internet that have an agenda to try and sell their sub-par crap by disruptive marketing tricks.... (not mentioning any names Microsoft.....)

  2. spencer


    Wow - I think that may well be the highest ever score for an android handset.

  3. johnnytruant

    didn't quite get one

    I nearly bought an Arc S but in the end plumped for the incredibly tiny (and much cheaper) Ray. But it was a close call, they're both very nice devices.

    I agree that the Arc S is probably the nicest looking phone on the market right now. Good to see SE back in the game.

  4. tmTM

    Still single cores?

    Why are Sony are still shipping phones running last years chipset?

    The Adreno graphics was not that brilliant when it shipped in phones last year, now the same chip is looking very long in the tooth and very much outclassed by the next generation of GPU's other manufacturers are shipping.

    1. thesykes


      Arc S £340

      SGSII £530

      (El Reg review prices)

      would have something to do with it?

      So far I haven't managed to slow my 1Ghz SE phone, so, can't imagine why you think this 1.4Ghz version would be so much of a slouch?

      1. Mark 65

        I'm guessing it may be about the single core not being a slouch now but it will possibly have a shorter tech-lifespan due to its lack of a second core (standard upgrade cycles noted).

      2. tmTM

        Arc S £340

        LG optimus 2x £290

        (El Reg review prices)

        At least consider the entire article you quote before posting.

  5. Danny 14 Silver badge


    if it is true then 36-42 hours being used for a 4.2 screen is simply amazing (from a 1500mAh battery) . My HD gets less than a day and the office s2 about a day.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get it right...

    @ tmTM

    Gingerbread isn't optimized for dual core chips - unlike Honeycomb - so right now using a faster single core CPU is the better option from a performance and power consumption point of view.

    Get facts straight before using keyboard.

    1. tmTM


      It will be, and the software update will unlock new potential.

      Consider the future before posting near-sighted rubbish.

  7. Rob


    ... 90% now that's the Sony Erricsson I know of old.

    My missus is due for an upgrade soon, this is another one for her to add to the list to look at (although judging by the actual look ofthe phone I have a strong feeling this one could win).

    1. Piro
      Thumb Up


      Stylish, well rounded specs, and a SIM free price that doesn't make you want to immediately spit blood.

      I'd be highly tempted to recommend this one.

  8. Alien8n Silver badge

    I'll hold fire on buying one until they've proven that they've fixed the design issue with the USB charger. At the end of the day I want a phone that's going to last at least 2 years, and not just several months before hitting an "out of warrenty" issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The warranty on sony phones bought through the carphone warehouse is 24 months. Not sure about other retailers.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        According to carphonewarehouse any damage to the USB charging socket is "out of warranty". It's a known fault and they're using the excuse of it being damaged by inserting the USB cable to get out of replacing the phone.

        1. Rob

          If it's in the first few months...

          ... then you can cite 'not fit for purpose' which will stand in any UK court. There is certain tech that should last a lot longer than a year even with normal to heavy use and the courts will back that.

          (sorry can't find the reference to the test case that happened in the UK that I'm basing this on).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last

    Nice to see Sony getting their act together and producing a top notch blower. It also looks absolutely fantastic and they haven't had to copy any one.

    Flame on!

  10. Jim 59

    Samsung 1170

    At the other end of the scale, I bought a Samsung 1170 for £20 after El Reg gave it a good review. Bought it 19 days ago, charged it the same day. It still has 3 power bars out of 5.

    Smartphones should have a "noddy phone" built into them. At the touch of a button, your smartphone becomes a crap phone, which can only do calls and nothing else. Won't even alert you to emails. But the power draw is as above. Press another button and it boots fully into super phone / pocket computer mode.

    1. <shakes head>
      Thumb Up

      now that i would love.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Problem is...

      ... it's the large screens that do the battery damage. So you'd have to have a tiny screen built in somewhere else as well as downclock the CPU etc.

      Most smartphones can turn off all the Wi-Fi etc and revert to 2G mode, but what they can't change is the screen, although if you turn down the brightness it helps.

      I get 50% more out of my HTC Sensation after installing and configuring Juice Defender Ultimate.

      1. Jim 59

        Noddy phone

        The built in noddy phone could use an entirely seperate CPU and only a tiny portion of the screen, or its own small screen on the back. Or no screen. It would use the same SIM though.

  11. garblux
    Thumb Up

    camera and battery . good

    I've had one of these for a few days and its a big improvement over my last android phone the htc desire. In particular the camera is better and battery life longer. I have been using juice defender and getting about 24 to 30 hours, and that's with quite heavy usage. After all its s New toy still ;-)

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    Would have been better if the 8GB was on board

    330MB is NOT enough storage for apps. Yes you can move resources out to SD card, but it increases app startup time and has other detrimental side effects. It's still a useful feature but one which shouldn't be required in a modern phone such as this.

  13. OrsonX

    No Front Facing Camera

    Admittedly I've had two (almost prehistoric now) phones with FFCs and never used them. However, in buying a new toy I want the OPTION not to use it! Reading the review I was quite interested until I got to the FFC bit....., darn, I can here Steve's etherial voice beginning to call to me.....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lovely - except for the measly 330MB

    How hard was it to add a gig or two of onboard storage? Would it kill? Would it make it prohibitely expensive?

    I don't think so. Damn shame, on such a nice looking pocket jewel.

    Other than that, I think it's a winner. I played around with its predecessor the Arc, and it was even better up close and personal.

    If my faithful HTC Desire wasn't still ticking along nicely, I would get this one, on looks alone.

    Or maybe I'll just wait around for that Nexus Prime.

    1. Stacy

      Because the Desire has so much space?

      I have a desire, and i love it. It's got a great screen, is quite quick and does the job I want very well.

      That aside If you install more than a couple of apps you suddenly start getting the 'Phone memory low' messages and have to start moving apps to the storage card, or uninstalling apps all together.

      The lack of memory is my biggest gripe against the thing. And it cost me a lot more than that Sony costs...

      That said... It is a beautiful looking phone and I would gladly swap my Desire for it if I was looking for a new phone!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No front facing camera?

    How can one give a phone 90% when it doesn't have a front facing camera, I'm not sure, especially with the proliferation of Facetime on the iOS and the likes of Skype on later versions of Android, before long every phone will be able to do video calling - except this one it seems.

    And it's not like the decision to only go with 720p video, as 720p is still very good and will help save space on the memory card and probably produce lower noise video.

    This is a total lack of a feature.

    The Mrs will not want to have it if it does not have Skype and its the likes of the Mrs and the yoof that this phone needs to attract if Sony Ericsson are to get back on top of the smart phone pile.

    My 2 pence

  16. LarsG


    with Sony is they are not quick to get updates out, if a new Sony phone is introduced with an updated version of android maybe called creamcake 4.04 you will be unlikely to update to they new version unless you buy the new phone.

  17. HeyMickey

    Not Fake

    Generating a stereo image pair from a panorama is a well known trick and is simple as taking two copies of the image and offsetting them a small amount. Not 'fake' in any way...

  18. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Shiny shiny

    Um, so will buyers of this be subjected to derisive 'oh, shiny shiny' comments? Is this breaking the rules that non apple devices have to be 'oh, matte matte'? I'm sure hardcore freetards\fandroids will be disgusted by this phone because of it.

  19. Andy 97

    Certainly a great phone

    As someone that's got access to almost any phone out there (because of my work) I can honestly say that the Arc is very very good.

    Battery life is unbelievable; it lasts all day with that huge bright screen, is light and fast.

    Camera is excellent (as you'd demand from SE). The only downer is no gapless audio playback. out of the box. What a shame if you are a dance music fan, but the number one feature, call quality, is pure Ericsson!

    Enjoy with confidence, what a lovely handset.

  20. Wam

    Front Camera

    Agreed - no front camera's a bad oversight - it only needs to be a cheap low-res affair. Skype works pretty well on android otherwise

  21. Al Taylor

    From the author

    @ HeyMickey. I described it as faux because the image isn't truly stereoscopic, The way the Arc S does it, as you say, is a "trick".

    @ DrXym. My reasoning ran like this - I use an HTC Desire HD and I have a lot of apps on it, all stored in the system rather than on the SD. I loaded up the same apps onto the Arc S and still had 40MB free. When I moved the five largest to the SD card that number jumped to 85MB. On that basis I reckon the average user will get by with 330MB as long as they clean out the various app caches on a regular basis.

  22. Chris D Rogers

    Where's the Apple lawsuit?

    As usual, its digesting how these non-Apple cowboys rip off the Apple design.

    Given this phone utilises 'APPLE WHITE" can we expect Apple to launch a lawsuit to protect its intellectual colour patent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Ben Brandwood

    See - this is why I went back to apple

    Because of this: "On that basis I reckon the average user will get by with 330MB as long as they clean out the various app caches on a regular basis."

    I've had a Desire for the last 18 months, and at the weekend I upgraded to an iPhone 4S. While I am a massive geek the last thing I want to be doing is trawling through my phone, managing app caches, moving things to different storage partitions or rooting it so it stores stuff on SD by default (which then means you can't use the "removable" storage - which most android fans seem to think is a key selling point).

    With an iPhone, if I have 16Gb of storage, then I can put 16Gb [1] of applications on there. I don't have to worry.

    The "average" user has no idea what a cache is, and frankly nor should they.

    I'm keeping the desire to use as a work phone, after formatting it and installing a bare minimum of applications. But still....

    [1] yes, yes, I know 16Gb isn't quite what you get after the OS and the 1000Mb = 1Gb conversions that they use.

  24. Peter Townsend


    Ben, there are several tiny utility apps that empty all your cache's in a few seconds (App Cache Cleaner is my fave) and can even be set to run at regular intervals of a day or a week or month.

    It's basic housekeeping. No "trawling" involved, no rooting. Dumping large apps onto the SD is similarly the work of moments.

    Speaking personally removable storage is handy because I can upgrade the size of my SD card if I need to. Last month I swapped by 8GB card for a 16 - I just copied the contents of the old to the new, slipped it back into my phone and bingo. I'm not sure how many 'droid users hot-swap cards on go. If I ever feel the need to step up to 32GB I can, you however are stuck with 16!

  25. Ben Brandwood
    Thumb Down


    @Peter Townsend

    Oh I fully agree, there is a whole eco-system of utilities out there, and believe me I used all of them.

    My point however, is that unlike the linux box you or I keep at home, the phone is a tool, people pick them up and expect them to work (just as they did before smartphones became commonplace).

    So if I play the role of the "average" user, I try to install "shiny-app-2012", and I get a message "Unable to install" I might get a "low disk space" icon. Then what? OK I can see a list of applications, but it's showing that my memory card has over 2Gb free on it!

    A quick google later, it seems I can move some apps to the SD card - fine but I can't move all of them and I'm still running low on space. Then what? I root the phone to make it store everything on SD?

    None of this is intuitive and from a UX point of view it's a nightmare. A simple google for how to swap up to larger cards when dumping stuff onto it yields gems like:

    "to swap do the following: make a nandroid + ext backup, then copy everything from your old card to your pc, put the new card in the phone, partition it in recovery, then copy everything from the pc to the new card and restore the nandroid backup. done."

    Now for you or me, that's fairly straight forward, but for most people. Fail.

  26. John Sims

    SE Arc S or iPhone 4GS

    My iPhone 3GS recently suffered the "incompatible accessory" message after going for a swim in a cup of coffee (first phone mishap in 13 years!).

    I'm torn between the Sony Ericsson Arc S and staying on the dark side with Apple and getting a 4S.

    Any constructive opinions and advice anyone please?

    I'll post my choice from whichever device you sway me to purchase.

    1. John Sims

      Arc S vs 4S

      I've seen a deciding factor today - someone with a Arc S thats given it a good communication thrashing. When she was showing me through it's different features she came to open up a text message convesation - I was dismayed to see a loading symbol for over 5 seconds before it appeared. Now i've never seen that with an iPhone! On my old 3GS I have never deleted a text and have some massive text conversations. So looks like it's going to be a 4S as I'm an impatient bugger. Ironically i'm going to have to wait for O2 to have some in stock!

  27. Peter Townsend
    Thumb Up

    @ Ben

    Fair point.

  28. Ben Brandwood

    @ Peter

    I must admit, I do get a bit ranty about the shortcomings of the original Desire. I've since played with the newer handsets like the Samsung S II and they are very nice, if not a bit big.

    I do wonder if the internal/SD memory thing is a blocker for some app development though. On iOS the Rage HD game is about 800Mb all in. Clearly that won't fit on the majority of internal memories in the android world. I have seen some apps on android where you download what amounts to a bootstrap which then downloads all the assets to the SD card outside of the market - but that feels a bit kludgey to me.

    @John Sims - iPhone vs Android is one of those things like betamax vs VHS or Vi vs Emacs. People will defend their choices to the end of days.

    My advice:

    1) What are your requirements?

    2) What is your budget?

    3) What is the roadmap for the given device?

    Now if many competing devices satisfy 1) and 2) and 3) is not an issue, then find somebody you don’t like and buy the opposite device so you can keep flamewars up! :)

    Also - have a hands on play with them, I find the larger form factors of the new androids a little too big in my hand so I can't really use them one handed, the iPhone (or cheaper/smaller droids) are much more suited. YMMV.

  29. Anonymous Cowbard

    1/3rd the price of an iPhone

    Get the Arc S on a 12m contract for under £250 all in.


  30. Robert Caldecott


    My contract is up at Christmas and it was a choice between the HTC Sensation/Samsung Galaxy II S or the shiny new Nexus.

    But this ... looks amazing, decent camera, great screen - and a lot cheaper than the others. And would more cores actually matter when I spend most of my time using network apps like FB, Google+, etc.? I think not.

    And there is a CM7.1 port available.

    Very, very tempted.

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