The 3.5" Sony Xperia Go next to the 4.3" HTC One S
Design & Handling
Just because a phone is IP67-certified doesn't mean it has to look like a beach toy. The Xperia Go is case in point with a stylish, modern design that has managed to stay thin and lightweight. The nicely finished soft-touch body comes in a choice of white or black. In other words the look could appeal to anyone, sporty or not.
We recommend sticking with the black body, as the white one we tested was sensitive to marks and smudges that aren't easy to get off.
The resolution is borderline for a 3.5" screen (the Motorola Defy Mini has the same 480 x 320p on a 3.2" screen), leaving the pixels easily visible to the naked eye. We were hoping for higher definition than that, if only to not have to zoom in every time you want to read text...
Of course, smartphones like this are generally made for people who don't spend all day surfing the web, watching movies and playing video games. The more hardcore mobile crowd is certainly at no loss for 4-inch-plus screens with sky high resolution, like the iPhone 5.
But thanks to the waterproofing you can easily navigate through the menus and features, even in the rain.
Interface & Navigation
As for the operating system, you'll have to settle with Android Gingerbread. And let's just up and say it, Gingerbread is aging. Rapidly. The newer Ice Cream Sandwich is much more practical. Sony is planning an update, but hasn't announced when. As is, the system would certainly be a downgrade for anyone who's already used to ICS (not to mention the even newer Jelly Bean), but if that's not your case you may enjoy the simple, user-friendly interface and numerous customisation options, such as alphabetical sorting for apps.
On top of the usuals like the Timescape social network aggregator, Sony has included a bunch of sports- and outdoors-oriented apps for rugged lifestyles. And, of course, you can download any others you need on Google Play.
We never had the slightest problem using this phone. It runs without a hitch, even with several apps running at the same time. Applications open, close and download instantly. Much of this is thanks to the 1 GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM.
Defy Mini, the Xperia Go easily wins the competition.
Don't expect to film your escapades in 1080p, as the Xperia Go only goes up to 720p—and even then with middling results. The image never really skips or hiccups, but the sound is pretty atrocious. And the second you start to move while filming (which is hard to avoid when you're underwater!) everybody watching gets seasick.
The audio interface is well-designed and the audio out gives clean rendering, commendable for a smartphone, but not mind-blowing, either. Same goes for the speaker, which provides good sound quality and volume, for a phone.
Obviously, with the screen's low resolution the web browsing experience could be greatly improved. The browser is responsive when loading pages, but you have to zoom in to comfortably read any small writing. The only people who will be happy with the online experience on the Xperia Go are people who don't do much mobile surfing. If that's not you, you might want to look for a display with higher resolution.
Using Wi-Fi and 3G intensively throughout the day, the Xperia Go can last from morning through night, but not much longer.
- Small, lightweight
- IP67-certified (waterproof & dustproof)
- Good sound quality
- Takes decent photos for this price range
- Screen resolution
- Android Gingerbread: How long until the ICS update?
- White body sensitive to marks and smudges
This reasonably quick and nimble smartphone has one big advantage: it's waterproof and dustproof. Whether on the beach, on a mountain, in the woods, at the bottom of your pocket or in the depths of a rucksack, the Sony Xperia Go is a good choice for outdoorsmen and -women who aren't interested in buying a bigger, more powerful, more expensive device.