Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Review, The Way It Is
Now this is my personal review for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play! The Long awaited Playstation Phone that was eagerly awaited from the very first rumours that emerged from the labs at Sony Ericsson.
I am new to Android, but having been a user of smart phones and PDA’s (Personal Digital Assistants) for many years and had most of Nokia’s Communicator range as well as PDA’s from Palm OS (Yes am showing my age now!) to the windows mobile platform. Have been aware of the power that was at hand for a long time. What was always lacking was the Gaming eliminate to these devices.
Even now with the power of the iPhone and Android platforms. What was always missing was a great control system, I know many will argue about the touch screen is perfectly fine for controlling in gaming! But the true El Dorado has been real physical controls!
The Xperia Play even before it was launched was not looking like a first class device with only a single core snapdragon, with many Twin core Tegra devices being launched at around the same time. But still carrying a similar price tag. Even when I purchased the phone I was glancing over my shoulder looking at the shiny and faster devices that were/going to be on offer, but after abandoning my PSP and Nintendo DS a year previously and not that interested, the new and upcoming handheld gaming devices. The Play offered me more of what I wanted.
As I stated, am new to Android, previously only having a taste of the OS by using NitDroid on my Nokia N900, coming with Gingerbread 2.3.2, which has now been updated to 2.3.3 and with 2.3.4 on the way in a few months. The feeling of Handset envy really is not a major concern over the next few months. The version SE installed is lightly skinned with out all the silly trappings that some other manufacturer has the need to install on their handsets. The stock launcher is simple and affective, with a recent update that was leaked. There is even now a theme option that was sadly lacking! Have tried many launches but always seem to go back to the stock one. Simple reason is! It just works!
The other factors that make up the phone are also quite standard that have been on most android handsets that have been released over the last 12 months! 5 MP Camera, blah, blah and blah. What makes the Play stand out over the other handsets is when you slip out the gaming pad and then that when the Play seems like true gold.
Real Play station controls; Until used, it’s a like the HD gaming debate from a few years ago. Moving from our x box and ps2’s. None could understand the fuss made of the X box 360 and PS3 using HD. Then we played in 720p and 1080p and never went back. The Play is similar, once you have played with the controls; it’s hard to imagine playing using the touch screen again. No finger slip, no unresponsiveness. It just works!
Now with this what is disappointing is that many games are just Android games that have just had the gaming pad added. Some with no thought in its implementation. The touch pad is not as responsive as you would like. Making (for me anyway!) controlling FPS (First Person Shooters) quite hard to control! If it were not for the stranded auto aim on most of these games, they to me would be UN controllable. The Gaming pad buttons are really true gold where they are used with thought. One example where the physical controls can really be felt to make the difference is an old favourite of mine Galaxy on Fire 2. Having played the first one on S60v3 using the keypad on a Nokia E90 and on a HTC Desire, the pad makes the difference.
The other great aspect of the Play for gaming is emulation. While Sony’s releases have been lack lustre. PS1 emulation with Fpse and the games you want to play is another golden moment. Playing Resident Evil’s with full controls. Using the shoulder buttons to aim has to be experienced to be appreciated, playing Mario 64 with out your fingers obscuring the screen, and little things like that make this phone more than its elements. It will never be a PSP or a Vita.
People who want that kind of experience will buy a dedicated hand held console anyway, but for old gamers like me who don’t have the time anymore to have the entire latest console, which just want a portable gaming device that can also do all those boring phone things when we are away from the Xbox360 or PS3 at home. It truly is gold!
Its still early days yet for the Play but with the likes of Mine-craft soon making its depute on the Play first, the great work from XDA like the recent development to inject our own iso’s into the Play-station App. There are high hopes for its future!
This guest review is by The Mind Buddah aka Colin, and you can find him over at Google+