Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs Apple iPhone 4: Smartphone showdown

Which is the better phone – Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Play or Apple's iPhone 4?
Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Play Android phone has also been dubbed the 'PlayStation phone'

Sony Ericsson's XPERIA Play Android phone has also been dubbed the 'PlayStation phone'

After months of rumours, Sony Ericsson finally confirmed it will launch its XPERIA Play Android smartphone — dubbed the 'PlayStation phone' — in the coming months. Does this gaming smartphone have what it takes to compete with the Apple iPhone 4?

Check out our detailed preview of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play and see our roundup of the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play has a large, 4in multitouch display, a touch-sensitive joystick, a D-pad and four of the PlayStation's famous control buttons: triangle, square, circle and X.

With this in mind, how does the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play stack up against the iPhone 4 when it comes to specifications?

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs. Apple iPhone 4: Specifications

Feature Apple iPhone 4 Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Apple iOS Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread Draw
Display technology Capacitive retina IPS LED-backlit LCD iPhone 4
Display size 3.5in 4in XPERIA Play
Display resolution 640x960 pixels 480x854 pixels iPhone 4
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation XPERIA Play
FM radio No No Draw
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 380MB iPhone 4
Expandable memory No microSD card slot XPERIA Play
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm 119 x 62 x 16mm iPhone 4
Weight 137g 175g iPhone 4
Application store Apple App Store Google Android Market iPhone 4
Processor Apple A4 Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon (1GHz) Unknown
3G networks HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 HSDPA 900/1900/2100 iPhone 4
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Draw
HDMI-out No No Draw
Quoted talk time Up to 7 hours Up to 6 hours 25 minutes iPhone 4
Quoted standby time Up to 300 hours Up to 413 hours XPERIA Play
Adobe Flash support No Yes XPERIA Play
Dedicated gaming controls No Yes XPERIA Play

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Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs. iPhone 4: Design and display

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play may be a smartphone, but its dedicated gaming controls mean that it is as much a gaming device as a communications tool. The presence of two touch-sensitive joysticks, a D-pad and four of the PlayStation's famous control buttons means the XPERIA Play slider is a much chunkier handset than the iPhone 4. At 16mm thick, the XPERIA Play may not be ideal for users who want a smartphone that is easy to pocket. The iPhone 4's stainless steel band (which also doubles as the phone's antenna) is certainly an intriguing design touch, and at just 9.3mm thick, it remains one of the best built smartphones on the market.

The XPERIA Play has a larger display than the iPhone 4 — 4in compared to 3.5in. However, the iPhone 4 still holds an advantage when it comes to its screen thanks to the use of IPS technology (the same used on the iPad. With a high 640x960 pixel resolution (compared to the XPERIA Play's 480x854 resolution), the iPhone 4's screen has been described as a "retina" display, due to the human eye being unable to distinguish individual pixels. By comparison, the XPERIA Play uses an LED-backlit LCD screen.

The presence of two touch-sensitive joysticks, a D-pad and four of the PlayStation's famous control buttons means the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play slider is a much chunkier handset than the iPhone 4.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs. iPhone 4: Software

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play Android phone runs the 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android operating system. Improvements offered by the 2.3 version of Android include a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface.

PlayStation games on the XPERIA Play will be downloaded through the 'PlayStation Suite', an online store for Android phones. Sony hopes the XPERIA Play will be the first of many "PlayStation certified" Android phones to hit the market; Sony will test each device that applies to become PlayStation certified, to ensure the phone will offer an adequate gaming experience.

The iPhone 4 runs Apple's iOS4 operating system. It offers a familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and the consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. If you have never used an iPhone before, you can expect a device that is easy to pick up and use, a well-populated App Store, and excellent multimedia capabilities. The iPhone's iPod integration ensures it remains one of the best music smartphones on the market, while mobile Web browsing is fast and efficient.

Though the streamlined iPhone experience has won many fans, Apple's closed platform means the iPhone 4 doesn't offer the same flexibility as smartphones like the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play. The iPhone has an inferior notification system to Android phones, and it doesn't let you customise and display live widgets on your home screen. By the same token, the iPhone interface and overall user experience are far more polished than what is currently on offer from Android phones.

iPad 2

PlayStation games on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be downloaded through the 'PlayStation Suite', an online store for 'PlayStation certified' Android phones.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play vs. iPhone 4: Other features

Strangely, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play lacks HDMI connectivity, so it can't be connected directly to a television. Sony Ericsson has included DLNA technology for sharing multimedia content. The iPhone 4 can't boast either HDMI connectivity or DLNA but its camera is widely regarded as one of the best on a smartphone, surpassed only by the superb 12-megapixel Nokia N8.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be able to play a selection of original PlayStation (PSOne) games, which will be downloadable through the PlayStation game store. The XPERIA Play will launch with at least 50 games. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be powered by a 1GHz Scorpion processor, and has 512MB of RAM along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. It has just 380MB of internal memory, so all games will be stored on the microSD card.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be released in Australia between May and June, and will be available across all carriers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

What do you think about the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play and the Apple iPhone 4? Tell us in the comments below!

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