Sony Xperia SP Android smartphone review, rating and UK deals and offers
There are so many smartphones in the Sony Xperia range that you would be forgiven for being confused. However if you don’t want to go to the expense and indeed the size of phone that is offered by Sony’s flagship Xperia Z then we highly recommend the Xperia SP
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Sony Xperia SP
Available in Black
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Latest Android Kit Kat v4.4.3
Superb 4.6 inch HD touchscreen
Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2
Excellent 8 megapixel camera
Fast 1.7 GHz processor
Read our full review here >>>
by Mike Leader
The SP probably comes closest to being considered is a smaller version of the Xperia Z1, although it still retains the translucent illuminated notification strip beneath the screen that the original Xperia and Xperia P displayed.
Though Sony have not officially said so, the Sony Xperia SP appears to be a combination of the S and the P models.
Illuminated notification bar
The obvious difference this time is that the illuminated strip is that the very bottom of the phone instead of at the base of the screen as it was on previous models. Some may dismiss this as a gimmick but we think is rather cool and adds to the appeal of this premium handset.
Different coloured LED lights shine through the glass-like strip to notify you of incoming calls and messages and so on, while the LED changes colour from time to time to match the general colours of the screen. It's a unique and interesting touch in our opinion.
You get plenty of real estate in terms of the screens size of the Sony Xperia SP which measures a not inconsiderable 4.6 inches.
Some of you might consider that the 155g weight is a touch on the heavy side compared to other smartphones on the market - remarkably it is in fact actually slightly heavier than the Sony Xperia Z1.
The Sony Xperia SP does have a genuine solid quality feel about it. We think it's just about the perfect size in normal one-handed use helped by the slightly curved sides and soft-touch rear cover.
Large HD display
That 4.6 inch display dominates the front of the handset and uses a 720 x 1280 pixels and a 319 PPI pixel density, and you will not fail to be enamoured with the results of the HD display which uses Sony's Bravia Reality technology - the same technology that is found on Sony's televisions.
This means that you are guaranteed bright, sharp colours and excellent clarity and this adds to the premium feel.
The Sony Xperia SP features an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, using Sony's Exmor RS technology taken from it's compact camera range together with a front facing camera for video calling. We found that the main camera produced excellent results overall, indoor and out.
Sony have been for the most part offering top quality cameras on their mobile phones for some time now and once again they have produced what is probably best in class. Touch to focus, image stabilisation, panoramic mode and smile shot are all here as well as HDR and 1080p HD video recording at 30 frames per second.
Camera quality has long been a strength of Sony and in this case it is mostly thanks to the use of Superior Auto which automatically and intelligently selects the best scene mode for you.
All you have to do is point and shoot to enjoy some of the best HD photos and videos produced by a smartphone. Video is also enhanced by Sony's impressive stabilisation software.
Sony has included a decent amount of useful apps including Walkman audio player and video player, a photo and video editing app, a satellite navigation app and even its own app store, Sony Select, to complement the hundreds of thousands of apps you can get from Google Play (formerly known as Android Market).
Gratefully, Sony's customisations do not stray too far from android's original interface
Long battery life
One interesting point is battery life which we found to be above average, so if you are used to your smartphone batteries only just making it to the end of the day you will be pleasantly surprised.
Sony's battery saving mode can extend the battery life by switching all background programs off when the phone is not in use
We found that this makes a considerable difference to battery life. This is accomplished as a result of the generous 2370mAh built-in battery. It's a refreshing change for Sony, as battery life has not always been their strong suit
The 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual Core processor ensures that the handset is very quick to respond to your commands, and we saw no signs of lag when surfing the Internet or watching videos.
Once again this confirms that the Xperia SP is a premium quality handset.
4G LTE support is also present so you're ready for blisteringly fast internet access. 8 GB of storage space is complimented with a Micro SD card slot beneath the rear cover, a very welcome addition.
Connectivity gives you everything you have come to expect from a quality smartphone, with dual band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA for watching your videos on a DLNA equipped TV, GPS for satellite navigation and geotagging, A2DP stereo Bluetooth (v4.0), USB, and 3G. It is also 4G LTE equipped.
Overall we rate the Sony Xperia SP as one of the best sub-premium phones around and at it's current price point you are certainly getting a lot of quality smartphone for your money.
Sony Xperia SP UK Price Comparison
(Don't worry, you can change price plans and choose options such as colours before you decide to buy. Other plans are available too)