Sony Ericsson’s first foray into the Android market with the Sony Xperia X10 was a flop. Amid very high expectations from an eagerly awaiting crowd, the Sony Xperia X10 just didn’t pack enough oomph to make the waiting crowd say “Oooh” and “Aaaahh.” The result? Failed expectations resulting in slow and low sales.

Sony Ericsson must have learned its lesson and is bent on redeeming itself through a newcomer–the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Will this second try finally succeed? Much buzz has been heard about this new device, and the bustle seems to indicate that the new Xperia is drawing attention as much as the X10 did. Will the Xperia Arc be worth the attention? And, will it finally quench the thirst of Sony Ericsson fans? Today, we at Android Authority are taking another look at the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

Appearance, Design, and Build

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc scores above the rest when it comes to appearance, design, and build. It is made of premium materials, which give the Xperia Arc a very classy appearance. A noteworthy aspect of the Xperia arc’s appearance is its shape, which gives it a distinctive difference from other competitors. “Sleek and sexy”–these were the first two words that came to our minds the first time we laid our eyes on the Xperia Arc. Its concave back plate makes it easy and comfy to cradle it on the palm of your hand. The curved back also makes the Xperia Arc easy to grasp firmly. Although made of hard plastic, the exterior doesn’t look cheap at all. The Xperia Arc is taller than usual, too–but that’s a reasonable expectation in exchange for the thin build and the huge screen.

The Latest Android OS

Xperia Arc runs the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. That it chooses Android at all is, in itself, already a big plus point. But, there’s more. Sony Ericsson has great ambitions for overrunning other Android manufacturers, and part of the company’s strategy is to make sure that the Xperia Arc will always be up-to-date with the latest version of Android. With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) about to come out of the freezer in the next few months, Xperia Arc users can expect themselves to get the update shortly after ICS is served.

Camera and Recording

The Xperia Arc has impressive potential with its 8.1-megapixel camera, yet its inability to perform in low-light conditions gives us a bit of a heartache. Or, maybe we just raised our hopes too high because of the Exmor R sensor onboard?

When the flash isn’t used, the camera produces not-so-pretty shots of subjects framed under dim lighting. It also has trouble catching fast-moving subjects and tarries for a few seconds when switching modes while taking closeup shots. The LED flash tends to wash out colors a bit, although if autoflash is left on, the camera surprisingly produces sharper and cleaner images.

Another mood-killer is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc’s lack of a front camera.

On the positive side, the Xperia Arc comes with camera features that have become standard on most smartphones these days: smile detection, face detection, geotagging, image stabilization, autoflash, and autofocus. Video capture includes noise cancelation technology and a sensitive mic. In terms of HD video recording, the Xperia Arc impressed us with vibrant colors outperforming the quality of other smartphones.


The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc gets big brownie points for its onboard HDMI port. Its presence makes perfect sense, of course, since the phone is capable of capturing HD video. There’s little danger of video stutter or lag on the Xperia Arc because its powerful 1-GHz Qualcomm processor and 512 MB of RAM ensures perfectly synced video when played through an HDTV.

The Xperia Arc also allows Internet connection sharing through its 3G and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. This means you can connect your laptops, desktops, tablets, and other smartphones to the Internet via the Xperia Arc’s data connection.

Battery Life

The Xperia Arc fares much better than the Xperia X10 in terms of battery longevity. With the Xperia Arc’s synced mobile browsing turned on, you can enjoy up to four days of no-charge use–quite impressive, huh?–with plenty of call time and occasional browsing.


The Xperia Arc comes with 1 GB of inbuilt storage. “Hooray,” you say. But, sadly, only 320 MB of that is free for storage use. With so many Android apps being launched everyday and so many things that we can do with a smartphone, more spacious internal storage would definitely be appreciated. However, the Xperia Arc comes with a MicroSD slot that supports up to 32 GB. If that’s any consolation, the expansion storage comes as a welcome feature. Now, if most Android apps could only run off an SD card…


One reason for the Xperia X10’s failure was Sony Ericsson’s big mistake of layering its own software on top of Android. The company has learned from its burned hands, apparently, as this time, with the Xperia Arc, Sony Ericsson made its own software purely app-based. Despite that, the smartphone offers almost all of the standard Google services such as the Gallery 3D, Voice Search, Latitude, Maps with street view, and others.

The Verdict

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is a smartphone that will appeal to both new and power users. Its interface is friendly enough to not intimidate a new user, but is sophisticated enough for a power user. In fact, we think it strikes a more powerful balance than does the iPhone or any other Android device. This balance surely gives the Xperia Arc more plus points, especially to new smartphone users.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc has a distinctive look and appearance, and it stands out from other smartphones. Sony Ericsson could have leveraged the Xperia Arc on look and feel alone–and perhaps succeed unchallenged, too. But, no. Sony Ericsson apparently has its eyes set on substance and meat rather than form. Thus, the ostensible effort to load up the Xperia Arc with exciting features. Of particular note is its brilliant touchscreen and the phone’s almost-instantaneous responsiveness.

The Xperia Arc could command more loyalty, though, if it could only provide more inbuilt storage and a better camera performance. It could also attract more attention if a secondary front camera is added. Apart from that, its HD-capable video camera is one of the best today.

In sum, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is a perfect option for users for whom the phone’s look-and-feel matters a lot. What vibes are you getting from this phone? Let us know in the comments.