Sony Xperia Pro Hands On: QWERTY Lovers Rejoice
The Xperia Pro really strikes us as a device tailor built for business professionals on the move. It features a responsive touchscreen, and has a great keyboard.
Being that so few devices these days are debuted with a good keyboard, our attention perked up when we heard Sony had a QWERTY slider in the pipe. The keyboard itself is a real pleasure to use. The keys are well-spaced, and the buttons are raised enough to offer the user satisfying input. While we have a few suggestions as to how Sony could have improved it, we still believe its one of the best keyboards we’ve used to date.
Sony introduced a feature called “Smart Keyboard” where sliding the QWERTY keyboard into place presents the user with a list of convenient options that change depending on which app you’re currently using. In email, for example, it’ll display reply, reply all, or forward an email in a context menu. Sony has implemented a good solution here, and it makes efficient input possible. Text messages are handled quite similarly. It’s completely context sensitive, and isn’t available for every app. In our short time with the device thus far, it proved useful and was well received.
Another unique addition to this phone, software-wise, was the ability to view email in a split-pane view. For example, when looking at an email in landscape mode, you’ll get a list of items on the right, and clicking on one will bring the email up on the left. You are even able to resize the separator, something which we have never had the pleasure of seeing before on a device of this nature. It really gives the user a sense of control, and is a welcome addition.
While we were disappointed that the Sony Xperia Pro doesn’t include the Exmor camera sensor that Sony introduced with the Xperia Arc, it still does take pretty good photos and video. The Exmor sensor really is a step in the right direction, and enables the user to take fantastic photos in a wide variety of lighting conditions. The Pro’s camera certainly wasn’t bad by any means – it just doesn’t measure up to the standard we got used to while playing with the Xperia Arc. We thought this was a “Pro” model after all.
Still, across the board, the Xperia Pro is a delight to use. It’s got all of the goodies we’ve come to expect with current next gen devices: Android 2.3 with Sony Ericsson’s custom user interface on top, an HDMI port, a front-facing camera, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with the Adreno 205 GPU, and Sony’s Bravia Engine to make that 3.7 inch FWVGA display look amazing while displaying photos and video alike. Check out the video for an idea of what this device looks like, and what it’s like to use.
Here at Android Authority, we are die hard QWERTY fans. What we’d really love to see is a dual core, 4.3 inch, QWERTY Superphone. How important is QWERTY to you? Are you happy with a touchscreen, or does having tactile input via a physical keyboard, still matter to you?