Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray Android phone
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray review: If you are put off by the large size of many smartphones, the XPERIA Ray's compact and stylish design is just for you
- Excellent thin and light design
- Great screen with high pixel density
- 8-megapixel camera
- Cramped keyboard
- No HDMI-out connection
- Average battery life
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray is an excellent smartphone wrapped in a compact and light frame, a refreshing change from the norm. Provided you can live with its cramped screen when typing on the touchscreen keyboard, the XPERIA Ray offers most of the features of its larger counterpart including a vibrant display, an excellent camera and intuitive software.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
If you're put off by the "bigger is better" trend of many current smartphones, Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Ray may just be the shining light you're looking for. Best described as a smaller version of the company's flagship XPERIA Arc, the XPERIA Ray successfully manages to combine most of the Arc's features in a compact and stylish package.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray: Design and display
The official line from Sony Ericsson is that the XPERIA Ray is a "sleek, beautiful smartphone with a stylish aluminium frame". Although it's easy to overlook this as general marketing fluff, the XPERIA Ray really does have an impressive design. It measures a mere 9.4mm thick and its dark black look and compact frame offers a striking alternative to most of its competitors. It also feels well constructed: the soft feel of the plastic on the rear battery cover along with the aluminium sides give it a sturdy, yet sharp feel.
We particularly like the XPERIA Ray's tactile power/lock key on top of the phone, along with the large home button below the screen. In a nice touch, the light around the top of the home button illuminates — it's white when the screen is on, pulses red when the battery falls below 20 per cent, and flashes green when you have a missed call or new text message. Its unfortunate that this light couldn't be extended to the back and home buttons that sit on either side of the home key: they aren't backlit, and are hard to see at night. They are also unresponsive at times and often take an extra press or two to activate.
The XPERIA Ray has a 3.3in screen that Sony Ericsson has dubbed a 'Reality display'. This sits alongside other fancy display names including the iPhone 4's 'Retina' display, the Samsung Galaxy S II's 'Super AMOLED Plus' display and the 'Nova' display of the LG Optimus Black. Unlike these displays though, the screen on the XPERIA Ray is much smaller in both height and width. Thankfully, it doesn't lose any quality with its downgrade in size: contrast and sharpness are excellent, colours are bright, sunlight legibility is impressive and it also possesses excellent viewing angles. Impressively, the XPERIA Ray's screen has a higher pixel density (296 pixels per inch) than the XPERIA Arc (233ppi), despite its much smaller screen. A direct result of the higher ppi is that text is both sharper and crisper. In a nice touch, Sony Ericsson also pre-installs a screen protector on the XPERIA Ray.
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray: Software and Timescape UI
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Ray ships with the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Google's Android operating system out of the box, and it comes with Sony Ericsson's Timescape UI overlay. Though it doesn't offer the same deep customisation of HTC's Sense (seen on the likes of HTC's Desire S and Sensation Android phones), the addition of Timescape makes the XPERIA Ray a delight to use. Features include five home screens for live widgets, handy folders that enhance shortcuts and a main menu that can quickly arrange apps in various orders including most used, recently installed and alphabetical.
The XPERIA Ray includes Sony Ericsson's Timescape application, which groups social networking and phone communications into a single widget. Each communication event on the phone forms a 3D box that you simply flick your finger up and down the "spine" to scroll through. However, we don't feel Timescape offers anything compelling besides an attractive look: thankfully you can easily remove it from your home screen if you wish. We found the 'Facebook inside XPERIA' software much more useful. It integrates Facebook into commonly used areas of the phone including the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet (LTE) review: The tablet of choice for anyone on Android
- 2 Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth speaker review
- 3 Apple MacBook Air 2015 review: Only better with time
- 4 HTC One (M8s) review: Better value for money than HTC's flagship
- 5 ZTE Blade S6 review: A dual-SIM, 4G smartphone for less than $300
Deals on PC World
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- iPhone 7 rumour rollup: Apple's just going to have all the money, production revs up
- Five smartphones to look forward to
- Oppo breaks into 397 Dick Smith retail stores
- How to stop Apple Music from automatically renewing your membership
- Apple Music makes its debut with iOS 8.4, out now
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- CCDrupal DeveloperNSW
- CCInternal Communications ExecutiveNSW
- FTSenior Account Manager - PR AgencyNSW
- FTTechnical Sales Support Representative - The Worlds largest Search Engine!NSW
- FTMedia and Communications AdvisorACT
- FTAccount Manager - PR AgencyNSW
- CCSenior Drupal DeveloperNSW
- FTPR & Corporate Affairs ManagerNSW
- CCInternal Communications AdvisorNSW