I was fortunate enough to get some hands on time with the recently announced Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray. The Xperia Ray features most of the specifications of the Xperia Arc and in many ways it’s essentially a “Mini Arc”. With the Ray, the screen is smaller at 3.3 inches but, has the same resolution as the Xperia Arc. For some this will be too small but, for others this screen size is practically perfect. Just because it is a smaller phone with a smaller screen, other specifications haven’t been sacrificed. It has the Bravia Mobile Engine Display, which makes the screen look very impressive and it also retains an 8 Megapixel camera with Exmor R. There is one slight change here which, for some will be a deal breaker and that is that, the Xperia Ray has a photo light, rather than an LED on the camera. On the up side of that however, the camera software is newer than that of the Arc and the camera has zoom above 2 megapixel, something which the Xperia Arc is lacking. In the smaller form, Sony Ericsson have also managed to include a front facing camera on the phone, perfect for video calls, or Skype calls.
The handset is slightly thicker than the Arc at 9.4mm but, this gives the handset a nice feel in your hand. The Xperia Ray was nice to hold and felt sturdy. The black model has a matte back like the Xperia X10, which gives you a nice grip on the handset. While the other colors have a shiny back, like the white model of the X10 and the Xperia Arc, Play and Neo. I was able to see the Xperia Ray in both the black and pink model. Normally pink handsets are a bit “in your face” where as the Xperia Ray pink model was toned down a bit, which I think will appeal to a wider range of consumers.
The handset won’t be released until around September according to Play who already have the handset up for pre-order. When it is released I think the Xperia Ray will be a very successful handset and will be a main contender for those who are looking to upgrade around then with some consumers choosing it over the Arc. I think it will be well received and appeal to a mass audience for many reasons:
- The screen size – while some may think bigger is better, many other users want a smartphone with a smaller screen
- With the Ray, you get the smaller screen and form factor without sacrificing features
- It feels good in the hand, very sturdy and comfortable to use
- A lower price point than the Xperia Arc
- Colors available – black, white, pink and gold, all of which are not over the top, in your face (like the Sakura Pink Xperia Arc).
[Photos taken using a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play]