It’s the start of a new year and AT&T has new offerings bringing 4G LTE to its customers through two of the carrier’s recently announced Android phones: the first-ever dual-core Sony Xperia Ion and the eco-friendly Samsung Exhilarate.

If you’re planning to buy one of these two when AT&T releases them, you might want find out first what each one has to offer you.  In this article, we provide a quick review and comparison of the Samsung Exhilarate and the Sony Xperia Ion.


Samsung has been among those at the forefront of producing environment-friendly devices.  The Samsung Exhilarate is one of the upcoming eco-friendly Android phones from Samsung.  It is made from 80 percent recycled post-consumer materials. It features eco modes and tools such as the Eco calendar and calculator. This device was certified by UL Environment as Platinum, which is the highest level of sustainability certification.

This new 4G LTE mid-ranged smartphone was recently released at CES 2012 and is heading to AT&T. It sports a black, plastic candybar design with slight curves at the edges and has four capacitive buttons at the bottom of the front. Its back cover is made of textured plastic surface for an easy-grip feel.

The Sony Xperia Ion, on the other hand, is the newest dual-core smartphone from Sony and was also announced recently at CES 102.  Just like the Exhilarate, it is going to be released on AT&T. The phone has a more rectangular design and also has four capacitive buttons at the bottom of its touchscreen. The phone looks bulkier and sturdier with its aluminum back cover. The phone weighs 144 g and its physical dimensions are 133 mm x 68 mm x 10.8 mm.

Display and Camera Power

The Samsung Exhilarate sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with 800×400 resolution. It carries a 5.0-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. With a smaller screen size and Super AMOLED on board, the phone can produce vivid images. These specs are not bad for a mid-range phone.

The Sony Xperia Ion, on the other hand, brings more surprising screen and camera power. It sports a 4.55 inch HD (720×1280) touchscreen with Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine. The screen is scratch-resistant, so you won’t need to worry if it gets tossed around inside your bag.  With its 12-megapixel rear camera, you might want to think of letting go of your point-and-shoot camera.  However, the Xperia Ion’s front-facing camera packs only 1.3 megapixels, which falls short of the Exhilarate’s 2-megapixel front shooter.  Nevertheless, the 12-megapixel primary camera is simply stunning.

Processing Power

With the Sony Xperia Ion’s astounding external features, let’s now dig into the powerful innards of the phone. Although the phone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Sony intends to upgrade it to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich soon. It is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon processor,  Adreno 220 graphics processor, and 1 GB of RAM. It has an internal storage of 16 GB and sports a slot for a microSD card expandable up to 32 GB. The phone is powered by a Li-ion 1,900-mAh battery, which last up to about 10 hours on 2G and about 4 hours on 3G.

The Samsung Exhilarate, on the other hand, also runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. For its internal specs, we have to wait for an official announcement from AT&T. But, we can be sure its specs will be good enough for a mid-range phone because this phone is intended to make AT&T’s 4G LTE more accessible to the budget-conscious.

Final Thoughts

The prices for the Xperia Ion and Exhilarate have yet to be revealed, but we are almost certain that the Sony phone will be pricier than the Samsung phone.  And, for good reason: the Sony Xperia Ion simply has better specs and hardware than the Samsung Exhilarate.

Therefore, if money is not a problem for you, and you want all the bells and whistles that you expect from a high-end Sony phone, the Xperia Ion is a good choice for you to experience the crazy-fast 4G LTE service from AT&T.

If you are on a shoestring budget, or if you are the type who doesn’t want to spend much on a mobile phone, you can still enjoy AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds with the mid-range Samsung Exhilarate without sacrificing performance or user experience.  Plus, you’ll be getting an eco-friendly device.

Click here for a full comparison of all AT&T Android phones.

Which of these LTE-capable AT&T phones is on your wish list for this year?

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Alvin Ybañez
Android is arguably the most flexible mobile operating system. Period. I'm extremely passionate about helping Android users around world get the most out of their Android devices by writing how-to guides and tutorials.