This small, light, stylish smartphone runs Android 2.3 on a 3.3'' screen and its 8 Megapixel camera has a CMOS Exmor R sensor that can also shoot 720p HD video. The whole thing is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor. Is it a realistic replacement for the Xperia Arc?
DesignSo it might be made entirely of plastic, but the Xperia Ray still manages to have a reasonably elegant exterior. At 100 g, it's light and not too wide and so it's easy to hold. But how did it go down with the ladies in our office? Well, the fact that it's relatively discreet, and certainly a million miles from the world of ultra-bulky XXL handsets certainly won it some praise. But for us, at least, this is definitely a unisex smartphone. Either way, we like the size.
At first sight, the build quality seems decent enough, but upon closer inspection, we spotted three small problems. First of all, the case feels a little fragile at the back. Of course, you don't take it off every day-although you do, however, have to remove it, and the battery, before you can get to the memory card-but the cover is so thin that it's worryingly flexible. Secondly, if you're scrolling quickly you can get your thumb caught on the edge of the screen. Thirdly, there's no protection for the charging port, so dust and any other unwelcome intruders won't have a hard time getting in.
To use the whole screen, you're better off with the keyboard in landscape mode
Interface and navigationUsing the Xperia Ray is childsplay thanks to the very handy interface that Sony Ericsson has developed to accompany Android. There is direct access to your social networks and your favourite contacts through an aggregator, and multimedia files are also included. It might not be as advanced as the Sense interface found on HTC's smartphones, but Sony Ericsson's interface is well thought out and backed up by a range of specially adapted apps that can be downloaded from the Android Market.
You can get easy access to your messages and social networks
An excellent cameraphoneWe'll cut straight to the chase: the Xperia Ray is an excellent cameraphone. It has an 8 Megapixel camera with a CMOS Exmor R sensor, and is fast both at taking photos and saving them. The resulting images are a treat to look at, and are both clearer and sharper than those produced by the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. They contain plenty of detail, especially at the centre of the frame, but there's a little bit of electronic noise in darker areas. Not only does it beat the Arc, but the Xperia Ray is also better at taking photos than the Samsung Galaxy S II, which also has an 8 Megapixel camera. That's especially true in tricky conditions like when light levels fall. The Xperia Ray is a great camera to have in your pocket, and the perfect tool for capturing a few snaps while you're on the go.
There's also easy access to multimedia content via one of the homescreens
Browsing the web is a pretty workaday experience, and anybody used to having a larger display will feel a little constrained. That said, pages load quickly, the zoom is accurate and scrolling through pages is nice and smooth. Sites with a lot of animation or Flash content can take a while to fully load.
We used the phone itself and most of the multimedia features, and left the WiFi turned on around 75% and our Xperia Ray lasted a good day and a half. That's not very long at all, but is unfortunately about average for today's smartphones.
- Form factor: good size for its weight
- Great photos even in low light
- Responsive with smooth inteface
- Easy to use
- Plastic case feels very delicate
- Finish seems a little rushed and could do with some more attention
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is THE cameraphone to have right now. If you're looking for a reasonably-sized smartphone with a great camera, then this is the one for you. It's responsive and has a great interface, so it's just a shame that the exterior could do with a little extra attention.