Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Hands-On and Unboxing [Verizon]

May 25, 2011
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Well what do you know? We got a PlayStation phone in the mail! This device is one of Verizon's newest handsets, it being produced by Sony Ericsson and of course it being the very first and only PlayStation Certified smartphone in the world. It's running Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread, connects to data via Verizon's 3G network, and it comes in a rather unexciting box. It'll sell itself, I swear! Inside the device you'll find more than just guts, you'll find a perfectly usable set of PlayStation controls including flat joysticks, directional pad, and four PlayStation buttons. There's also a start button, a select button, and an extra Android menu button so you don't have to reach all the way up to the side of the display. Left and Right buttons are up top (behind the display when open) and a volume dongle sits in the middle. Lets get our hands on it and see how it goes!

This device has been in production (or at least whispered about) since the beginning of time it seems. A year ago or so we were just starting to hear that the device would be a reality, a PlayStation phone in the works - wow! Then the big news bit came: it would be working on Android - with Gingerbread! The excitement grew and grew! Then we got our first glimpses of the device and wondered where the joysticks where - boy were we fooled! Then it was said to be carried by Verizon, running as a Sony Ericsson Xperia device, and we pulled our spleens out in excitement because it was real, there was really a PlayStation phone in the works!

And now here it is. It's a phone that runs Android Gingerbread, it's optimized to do so, and it's easily the nicest Xperia device in production right this moment. Have a look at our unboxing video and get pumped up because - oh what's that - there's another phone in the box! ALSO note: noticeably absent is the Sony Ericsson boot animation we know appeared on the Euro version of this device (as seen here.) Does this absence point toward some sort of reason why the device was released in the USA last amongst essentially all countries in the world?

Also what I want / need you citizens to do is ask us all sorts of questions about this device - what do you want to know?

We're here to answer all the questions and put this device through ALL the tests!

Stay tuned!

BONUS here's what we saw back at CTIA - now it's time to see what's changed since then:


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  • http://twitter.com/qhartman Quentin Hartman

    I was really excited about this phone until I heard how little internal storage it has. That’s just… well, inexcusable for something that is so completely media focused. I know you can install the apps to SD cards, but I’ve found on my N1 that leads to performance problems and there are some apps that don’t work well when that is done. Since I’m running CM7 on my N1 I’ve started using the S2E feature to install apps on an EXT3 partition on my SD card. That’s an acceptable solution to me since it’s transparent to the applications and seems to perform better than the “normal” sd card installations. One a feature like that is available here I’ll bite, but until then, no thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Have to agree wholeheartedly with this comment.  I was also excited by this, but the on-board storage is woefully inadequate and what makes it worse is that it’s populated with apps you can’t even uninstall from the word go.

      I’ve been burnt by the low on-board storage of my HTC Desire, and having to micromanage apps within the pitiful free space, I won’t be going there again with the Play.  As great as it looks, I think I will ring some more life out of my Desire and my PSP, while waiting for an Xperia Play II to get it right.

      And Sony needs to lower the prices on the PSX games.  They are 15 year old games!  They need to be $1 each to encourage impulse purchases.  A lot of the people who gravitate towards the Play have owned PS1/2/3 and have already bought these games once or twice before.  The low sales numbers on the Android Market backs this up.

      As usual, Sony comes up with a winning idea but finds a was to screw it up.

  • http://twitter.com/qhartman Quentin Hartman

    I was really excited about this phone until I heard how little internal storage it has. That’s just… well, inexcusable for something that is so completely media focused. I know you can install the apps to SD cards, but I’ve found on my N1 that leads to performance problems and there are some apps that don’t work well when that is done. Since I’m running CM7 on my N1 I’ve started using the S2E feature to install apps on an EXT3 partition on my SD card. That’s an acceptable solution to me since it’s transparent to the applications and seems to perform better than the “normal” sd card installations. One a feature like that is available here I’ll bite, but until then, no thanks.

  • Anonymous

    It runs on 3G?  I don’t mind 3G, really, but how can a media device like this run on that band?  Also, it’s a single core.  Could you possible download an optimized game on 3G and test a processor heavy game as well.  I am so afraid this thing will just stutter over time.  Also, how does the internet load and flash play in the browser?  At this moment, I don’t remember what kind of screen it has.  How do games look on it, though?  Are HD games nice looking in comparison as to say…an IPS, Nova, or Super Amoled Plus display?  Does it have one of those displays or is it just Super LCD?