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Sony has been hard at work pushing its high-endXperia Z, but that’s not stopped it quietly crafting a superb-looking and hard-working handset.
The Xperia SP might lack some of the specs of its larger brother, but there’s no doubt that its got enough going for it to make it a real consideration for the smartphone buyer that’s not going to shell out a fortune each month.
When you consider you’re getting a phone with a 4.6-inch screen that’s as high-res as theSamsung Galaxy S3, a new version of Android, a 1.7GHz dual core processor and4Gconnectivity, it’s a pretty startling combination.
The battery itself though is fused into the handset, so you won’t be able to swap a flat one out for a fully charged pack, but at least the microSIM and SD ports are easily accessible.
We reckon it’s a tad on the heavy side at 155g but it’s well-balanced so we didn’t struggle too much with one-handed use.
It measures a respectable 130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98mm however the Xperia SP does feel a little chunky as the sides are flat instead of tapered.
That 4.6-inch screen looks as sharp as you’d expect from a phone rocking Sony’s display technology – it might not be as crisp as other high-end handsets from last year, but when you watch any video powered by the Mobile Bravia 2 engine, it’s a real treat, especially when you consider the price.
It has more zip than the lower endXperia L, although some applications such as the camera still take a couple of seconds to load, reminding you that the Xperia SP isn’t quite in the same league as the Xperia Z.
On top of that, the bottom of the phone hosts a translucent bar which glows in relation to the image on the screen, in a similar manner to theSony Xperia Ufrom the days of Sony yore.
The camera, an 8MP option, is another design win for the Japanese firm thanks to the central rear sensor and we were pleased to note it’s rammed up with all the technology (including superior auto mode) from the larger Xperia Z.
As we’ve mentioned the camera app takes a couple of seconds to load up, but once in we found the auto-focus snappy and the shutter speedy allowing us to quickly capture our surroundings.
The two step camera key on the right hand side makes taking pictures much easier, allowing you to hold down half way to focus and then fully pressing to take the snap.
The keyboard on the Sony Xperia SP is a pleasing little feature with a setup wizard greeting you when you first access it, allowing you to customise the layout to suit your style of writing.
Watching video on the Xperia SP is something which should be encouraged as the handset performs admirably during playback with a bright, vibrant screen making movie marathons a real possibility.
Although not blessed with the looks or specs of the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP is a phone that still deserves a raised eyebrow of appreciation thanks to the combination of spec list and likely price.
The body is smooth and feels quality in the hand, and while the screen is slightly dwarfed by the larger chassis, there’s no doubt this is a phone that could fly off the shelves if enough people get fed up with the notion of spending loads of money each month on a handset.
With an impressive screen, Android 4.1 and an 8MP camera, alongside NFC and 4G, this spec list wouldn’t look too out-of-place on a new flagship phone from another firm right now – and with a lower price, that’s an ace notion.