The Sony Ericsson Arc has a lot on its shoulders. Arriving with much fanfare at CES 2011, it signalled a new start for Sony Ericsson who has openly admitted that its previous range of Xperia smartphones wasn’t up to scratch.
So what’s new? Pretty much everything and judging by the Arc’s spec list, SE seems to have learnt a hard lesson and is eager to put the past behind them. With the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, an innovative design and some brand spanking new mobile technology, the Arc is fully equipped to set sail for the dizzy heights of success. But does it sink or swim?
The Sony Ericsson Arc is a front runner in the looks department and flaunts a beautifully crafted curved back that is just 8.7mm at its thinnest part and 9mm at its thickest. Despite its wafer-thin body, the Arc doesn’t feel fragile although the plastic casing may suffer from wear and tear over the course of a lengthy contract.
That said, most of the Arc’s design features go in its favour. It’s on the taller end of the smartphone scale at 125 x 63 x 8.7mm but this long tall Sally has managed to keep the weight off and feels incredibly light in hand, tipping the scales at 117 grams. Of course, there are lighter handsets out there but when you consider that its predecessor, the X10, weighed in at 135 grams this is a definite improvement.
The Arc has also been given a screen size boost and now rocks a 4.2 inch TFT LCD job. It might not match up to the iPhone 4′s Retina display, but this isn’t your bog standard LCD screen. The Arc is the first Sony Ericsson smartphone to come fitted with Sony’s Reality Display technology which has been teamed up with the company’s Mobile Bravia Engine to produce more accurate colour management. The results are incredibly pleasing to the eye with pin sharp pictures and deep colours creating a rich platform for viewing your media on.
Power and Operating System
Like the X10, the Xperia Arc gets its power from a 1GHz Qualcomm offering. However, this processor is more efficient than before as it uses up less battery power and handles graphics and video content with ease.
Sony Ericsson assured the tech world that it has learned from its past mistakes and its a case of so far, so good on the operating system front as the Arc ships with the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The manufacturer has put a slimmed down version of its own Xperia user interface over Google’s OS but has separated the two so new Android updates can be rolled out quicker than they have been previously. Word has it that a Honeycomb update (which could be in the form of Android 2.4) is heading for the Arc at some point in the near future, but all should become clear soon.
As for the ‘slimmed down’ Xperia UI, it gives Android more of a chance to shine than before. Timescape, which lists your latest texts, calls, Facebook and Twitter updates in a single stream, reappears in the form of a widget as does Sony Ericsson’s Mediascape app. The best thing of all is that Gingerbread and the hardware have been finely tuned to with each other so general day to day usage will go without a hitch.
Internet: As you would expect from an Android-sporting handset, the Sony Ericsson Arc has a WebKit browser and naturally comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity on board. Added extras like pinch to zoom technology and Adobe Flash 10.1 support, neither of which hinder the Arc’s operation, bring it up to scratch with its fellow Android rivals.
Camera: The Arc comes with an 8.1 megapixel camera which is joined by an LED flash and HD video recording at 720p. It also comes with a hint of Cybershot goodness as this snap happy handset is kitted out with an Exmor R sensor which sets out to enhance the quality of your pictures and videos even in low light conditions.
The Arc comes fitted with a mini-HDMI port and Sony Ericsson tells us a cable will come in the box. As always, you’ll be able to play media from the handset onto your television but this clever little feature also mirrors your entire user interface and displays it on your TV – so if you want to show off your gaming skills to everyone in the room, go for it!
Other tech specs:
- Music player – supports MP3, eAAC, WMA and WAV files
- Video player- supports MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV files
- Up to 512MB phone memory
- MircoSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB
- Wisepilot turn-by-turn navigation
- Google Maps
- MicroUSB port
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Android Market
- 7 hours talk time
The fact that we have zero gripes with the Arc is probably music to Sony Ericsson’s ears. If we had to pick out something, we would have preferred it to have a metal case rather than a plastic one. The Arc looks so good and we would hate to see it age before its time.
The Sony Ericsson Arc has completely changed our opinion on the Xperia range and puts everything that was wrong before, right. The picture quality produced by the Reality Display is outstanding and its multimedia capabilities are top notch. Even in every day usage, it works perfectly with Android 2.3 Gingerbread but still comes with a hint of Sony Ericsson’s personality. If this was a love story, we’d be happily sailing off into the sunset.