back to article Sony Xperia Go waterproof Android phone review

The arrival of the Nexus 7 has given me cause to reconsider my next phone purchase. Do I need a 4.6in superphone now I have a 7in Tegra 3 tablet? Surely a small, rugged handset with good battery life, a decent dual-core CPU and plenty of storage for apps would make more sense. An outright purchase price of around £200 would be …


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  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    D'oh! I almost wish I had waited before upgrading, now. Though I'm happy with my new Xperia P, I am a clumsy bugger and its aluminium body is quite slippery against the fingers (nothing that a silicone case won't fix though, when I can find one that fits). Also, I do often find it running low on battery... It seems that I might have been better served by this new Xperia Go model.

    As the Xperia P is my first smartphone I am far from an expert on these things.

    Re ICS, the general vibe on the internets is that Sony are generally good at releasing Android updates for their older phones, even if the 'when' can be a bit vague.

    1. Paul Shirley

      burnt by the Xperia Play fiasco

      Debatable how good they are at updates. One thing is certain though, they're pretty incompetent at getting ICS to run on their 512Mb devices. Waiting for ICS/JB to actually be available is very good advice. As is waiting a couple of weeks to see if it's too broken to use!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: burnt by the Xperia Play fiasco

        Hmm, ICS seems to run just fine on my 512Mb Xperia Arc S, although I have seen that some of the slower devices have problems in this area.

        All generalisations are wrong.........

      2. spencer

        Re: burnt by the Xperia Play fiasco

        ICS update on my Mini Pro 512Mb device is fine.

        Took forever to get the update though.

        1. Joseph Lord

          Re: burnt by the Xperia Play fiasco

          It might have felt like it took forever to get the update. There are other manufacturers where it really does take forever to get the update!

    2. Ramiro

      Xperia Pro ICS update

      The phone is the one with the slide out qwerty keyboard. Upgraded last week. It may be the placebo effect, but things feel faster and the battery seems to last longer. It looks nicer also.

      Updated via Sony Update Service, without a hitch.

      The phone has only 512MB of RAM, and I was *really* concerned that it wouldn't be enough to run ICS smoothly. There have been plenty of reports of degraded performance after the update, but there have also been reports of suceess, so I went for it.

      After installation and a reset (the one that clears stuff but leaves your data and applications in place) at the very least it's certainly not slower than the previous version, 2.3.something. It could be that it's running a different mix of services.

      Sony did take their bloody time getting it out, though.

    3. LarsG


      Still they sell relatively few!

  2. Bassey

    Sounds good

    I'd want to see the screen in person (have been using a SanFran with a 800 X 600 OLED for the last 18+ Months) but this does sound like my new phone come November.

    1. Greg 16

      Re: Sounds good

      I'm just about to leave contract on my San Fran, so I'm half looking too. This Sony looks great - a nice tweak to a San Fran - but at the end of the day I'm still really happy with my San Fran and it has great community support so I can't think of a really good reason to change!

  3. The New Turtle

    Looks like it has potential to replace my HTC Desire when that contract finishes in Dec IF the screen res is actually as good as portrayed.

  4. Bill B

    All very well but ...

    did you drink that beer afterwards?

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: All very well but ...

      Oh yes.

      1. Mr_Bungle
        Thumb Up

        Re: All very well but ...

        Props for the 'phone in the pint' picture Alun, inspired!

  5. spencer

    Quite tempted...

    Quite tempted by this - the screen resolution sounds a bit rubbish, but the idea of a rugged and *small* phone with smartphone features is pretty compelling.

    I'm using a phone with a HW keyboard at the moment, but honestly swiftkey has got to the point where it's pretty usable as the main input device!

    If there's a way to get it for <£200 then I'm on it!

    1. Alan Edwards
      Thumb Up

      Re: Quite tempted...

      > the screen resolution sounds a bit rubbish

      Yep, I couldn't go back to 480x320 after using 1024x600 on the Orange San Diego.

      There is a bigger brother to the Xperia Go, the Xperia Acro S. It's basically a waterproof Xperia S, with a 4.3" 1280x720 screen, but it also has the Micro-SD slot that the Xperia S doesn't have.

  6. Bush_rat


    Looks interesting, I'm currently on a 3GS and to be perfectly honest, I don't need the upgrade, I can barely justify getting a new phone at all, but for £200 and those specs, I'm tempted to say the least.

    As a question to the fandroids, how much "control" will I get from it? Like jailbroken iPhone level, Linux desktop level, windows 7 level. I enjoy my iOS phone, and don't really want more control or need it, but the idea of a near indestructible phone sounds nice.

    1. spencer

      Re: Well

      You get more control as default, like you can choose your keyboard software, the browser you want, the sms app, email client etc. You can store stuff on SD cards like movies, music etc without specialist software also which is always nice. And then if you want more control you can root the phone for superuser access fairly easily because all Sony Phones come with an unlocked bootloader, but that's more if you want to start using your phone for non-phone stuff.

      ( all of this written off the top of my head, happy to be corrected. )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well

        Also, there is a lot more UI freedom - you can choose wallpaper, widgets and even a new launcher (try GO Launcher) to give your phone quite an individual look and feel (enough for people to say 'wow, what kind of phone is that?' when they see it in action - without rooting. Although rooting is normally not that hard and some kind soul from XDA will help you out of the goodness of their heart.

  7. David Paul Morgan

    Almost waited...

    we have the Xperia S on one contract - it is superb, but I opted for cash-up-front and bought a dual sim chinese handset off ebay. One for home/data & one for work/voice (or carry around a horrid little nokia).

    As I'm using my Asus Transformer, the T9919+ shares it's 3g over the wifi and the combo works really well - especially as the chinese handset came with 2 batteries.

    I'd like to get an advanced handset via a service provider, but it's quite hard / impossible to get a decent 'Droid with dual sim in UK.

    Same chinese company (MTK ?) also doing a 5" screen with ICS - looks really smart too.

    I agree too about the ridiculous wait to get ICS on the Xperia S - it's been 'due' since June

    1. Bodhi

      Re: Almost waited...

      ICS on the Xperia S has been out for a while now, I got it on my (unbranded) handset about a month ago. The biggest benefit it brought was the ability to install Chrome, which is far nicer than the stock browser. The new Sony apps are nice though, such as the Walkman player and new photo gallery. Bit strange you haven;t had it yet though, which network is that on?

      1. David Paul Morgan

        Re: Almost waited...

        Still waiting on O2 for the ics update

        Not sure why..?

    2. Ramiro

      Re: Almost waited...

      Yes, I was looking for a dual sim android for my wife, most are really crap.

      The least awful I found, but still haven't made up my mind (and she's partial to a much simpler nokia C2-06) is the Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802, but probably you don't get that in Europe. Dislikes: no web cam, android 2.3 (and samsung doesn't even bother to lie about upgrading.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other phones are available

    Before buying one of these, see also:

    Motorola Defy+ (and Defy+JCB edition)

    Caterpilar CAT B10

    Panasonic Eluga Power

    Samsung Rugby Smart

    Samsung Galaxy Xcover

    Sony Xperia Active

    Casio G-Shock

    Fujitsu Arrows

    Kyocera Digno

    Kyocera Hydro

    NEC 909


    1. ElNumbre
      Thumb Up

      Re: Other phones are available

      I recommend the Defy+ if its anything like the Defy which I've currently got. Reasonably indestructable, pretty quick with a decent amount of ram/rom, plus it will take MicroSD. The only downside is the locked moto bootloader, so when it gets a bit long in the tooth in a few months time, I'm looking around for another hardy phone. Quite liking the look of the Xperia acro S mentioned above - I couldn't go back to elcrappo resolution of this Xperia Go.

  9. Robert Caldecott

    Make sure it's network unlocked

    If you get a Sony phone on a contract directly from any of the big UK providers then there's a good chance the bootloader will be locked which means potential rooting difficulties and no chance of installing custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, etc. Either buy one outright or via someone like Phones4U/Carphone Warehouse - these devices should be unlockable if the need arises. I got burnt with this on my O2 Xperia arc S last year so be warned.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Make sure it's network unlocked

      The bootloader and SIM are *different* locks. CPW sell without the SIM lock, they will still have locked bootloaders. Luckily unlocking the bootloader is pretty easy, just visit the Sony website unlock page.

    2. johnnytruant

      Re: Make sure it's network unlocked

      Possibly the only thing they have in their favour is that Vodafone don't network lock their phones.

      Complete shower of shit otherwise, of course.

  10. JaitcH

    Forget beer proof, is it Monsoon Proof

    Even though nature has been trying to eliminate the Hose Pipe Ban, that and the bbeer test are nothing compared to a real soaker in Singapore, Cambodia or VietNam.

    The toll on unsuitable cell phones is high here, even when wrapped in baggies.

    Some ingenious repair people fix damaged motherboards and reselling as refurbished. Authorised Apple repair shops just bin them.

    I wrapped a laptop in two turkey basting bags, and two zip-lock monster bags and after a one-hour trip I had to dry everything and repack. Monsoons are hard taskmasters.

    So bring on those waterproof/beer proof Androids, they are something Apple don't have.

    P.S. A touch of silibcone grease around the joint faces really improves things, too.

    1. sam bo

      Re: Forget beer proof, is it Monsoon Proof

      "I wrapped a laptop in two turkey basting bags, and two zip-lock monster bags and after a one-hour trip I had to dry everything and repack. Monsoons are hard taskmasters."

      maybe you should have carried it in the car with you - instead of on the roofrack.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ICS fail points docking

    When are El Reg going to start docking an automatic 30% from the score for new phones that fail to ship with ICS?

    1. sam bo

      Re: ICS fail points docking

      So 70 % for the new iphone ?

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: ICS fail points docking

      When it starts to matter?

  12. Ken 16 Silver badge

    Halo launcher

    I'd try the HALO launcher, it gives most of the look, feel and functionality of the ICS launcher.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Halo launcher

      that's Holo launcher

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