Xperia Play on Verizon Review Roundup: Not Quite There

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, otherwise known as the PlayStation Phone, is one of those smartphones that has attracted a lot of attention and many people have been waiting for its US arrival. In the last few days we’ve told of the US release on Verizon and today we thought it was time to give you an Xperia Play on Verizon review roundup of what the experts are saying.

As a brief recap we’ll remind you that the Xperia Play runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 1GHz processor, comes with pre-loaded games, has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera and front-facing VGA camera. It also of course features that slideout gamepad that is going to make this handset such a draw for gaming enthusiasts. For full product details head to the Verizon product page here where you can also see the price of $199.99 on the usual two-year contract.

The first review we looked at was by Marin over on IntoMobile who immediately notes the bonus of the Xperia Play being released on Verizon running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The review looks in depth at the hardware, build quality, software including some of the pre-loaded apps, games, benchmarks, music, camera and more. Plus points were deemed to be usable software, tasteful design, decent games, the broad variety of apps and the “near stock version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.” The negatives included the fact that it felt rather bulky when using as a smartphone, had awkward joysticks and that the camera wasn’t so great. Also playing games was a big drain on the battery life.

In conclusion although the phone was felt to be unique it didn’t convince. Android 2.3 was seen as a bonus but time is felt needed to see if more games come out that are optimized for the Xperia Play. The ultimate verdict appears to be that if you just want a phone for casual gaming, the Xperia Play may fit the bill, but otherwise you may be best to wait for an improved version further down the line.

The next review we looked at was from Jonathan S. Geller of BGR who talks about the innovative device devised to bring “serious gaming and a powerful handset to the masses,” but asks whether the positives outweigh the negatives. The display of the Xperia Play comes in for particular praise, which Geller describes as better than any qHD displays, noting that he prefers it to the display on any other Android handset. Connectivity issues on Verizon Wireless were pointed out though it was noted that the unit being used was a review unit. However Geller also said that other Verizon Wireless devices being used in the vicinity had higher signal levels. Overall the reviewer was impressed with the processor, Android Gingerbread, the hardware gamepad and said that the Xperia Play “is one of the most enjoyable game-focused smartphones I’ve every used.” That said there were reservations about it not being quite the finished article and irritations included the Verizon connectivity issues, the power button, and the fact that it was a bit chunky. Geller advises the same as the previous reviewer in the end, that the Xperia Play could be a good enough choice if you’re an enthusiastic gamer, but that otherwise this model seems more similar to a concept and therefore it could be best to wait for the next version.

Another review we looked at comes from Hayley Tsukayama over on The Washington Post who had been pretty excited about this gaming phone. It was noted that the Xperia Play was not good enough to substitute for your PSP or DS although for a combination device it was better than anticipated. Although the Xperia Play was said to be a cut above other gaming/phone devices it was felt that better games would be the crux to its success.

Finally Kyle Fitzgerald over on SlashGear has put the Xperia Play through its paces and noted how small the handset felt, in contrast to our earlier reviewers. However the bottom line was that this smartphone doesn’t excel at either being a phone or a gaming system and in the end was a bit gimmicky with the fun wearing off rather quickly. If your ultimate target is having it for use as a phone then the conclusion is that you’d be better off with a regular handset or alternatively if you really want it for mobile gaming a Nintendo 3DS, or Sony NGP when released, would be a better option.

All-in-all it seems that the Xperia Play is a solid enough handset but that maybe it would have been better to hold back the launch of such a unique device until it was a more polished all-rounder with better games available. We’d be interested to hear what you think of the reviews. Have you already purchased the Xperia Play and are you pleased with your device? Would you still purchase the Xperia Play after what the reviewers have to say? Let us know with your comments.

  • Anonymous

    It is a nice handset and a piece of hot cake for the gamer lovers. The looks are good and the feel and touch of the phone are classy.