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Exclusive: Sony Ericsson Xperia Play UK edition hands-on pics

Here is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. And we have it here in Recombu Towers, ready for review. We turned on the power, setup our Google Account, Gmail and SIM card details, and we were off.

This is the initial wallpaper screen, and being Android, you’re free to customise to your heart’s content. Sony Ericsson’s custom UI, as seen on the Xperia X10 is presnt and correct here, but has been given a major facelift. Everything works really smoothly on the Xperia Play.

Aside from anything Apple releases, there hasn’t been a product launch in a long time that’s had as many leaks, spills, trailer videos and announcements. Now finally nearing the phone-shop finish-line, we’ve finally got our hands on it.

Being a PlayStation phone, it’s got gaming chops aside from the slide-out control panel. (More on them in a bit.)

It’s powered by both a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and features an extra Andreno 205 GPU to make sure all those Android and PlayStation games are zipping along smoothly.

Although the phone has slide-out controls, it’s pretty petite, which is a plus. It feels reassuringly solid too, but not too weighty in the hand.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so you should be able to play and make use of all the latest Android games and apps as well. At the moment it’s running 2.3.2 (so not strictly the latest version). Note the VGA camera on the front above the Sony Ericsson logo for video-call joys.

Click on for more pictures of the Xperia Play.

Here are a handful of Xperia games, optimised for the Xperia Play controls and processors. From left to right; Bruce Lee (a Tekken-style fighter), FIFA 10, Star Battalion (a space shooter a la Lylat Wars) and The Sims 3. Tap on more games for the Android selection, several of which are also optimised for the Xperia Play.

You can navigate through menus with both the capacitive touchscreen and d-pad controls, depending on preference.

Here’s Crash Bandicoot, PS1 staple, and the only game currently available with PlayStation branding. The PlayStation suite is curiously absent, the “more games” bar directed us back to Android Market.

Unusually for a Sony Ericsson Android phone, all four of the Android keys are present on the Xperia Play. From left to right there’s Back, Home, Menu and Search. These are context specific, but make sure you can get to where you want to in a flash.

Here’s the control pad. As you probably know by now, there’s a digital keypad with those four PlayStation buttons opposite. In the middle, those bug-eye circles are actually analogue pads, mimicking the analogue-sticks found on the PSP and PlayStation controllers. There is an L and R shoulder button on each side, resting behind the screen.

There’s also a menu button there on the left (below the d-pad). Start and select are there over on the right.

Oh hello there old PlayStation loading screen. Haven’t seen you for a while. Oh, the waves of Nostalgia. We’re loading up Crash Bandicoot.

Finger-wagging anti-piracy message. Ah, the days before broadband internet and emulators.

When a game has loaded you can tweak dispaly settings and the like from the menu key. 

Options include controller settings, where you can turn on analogue controls, if the game is compatible. Sadly Crash Bandicoot wasn’t.

There’s also an option to contort the PlayStation screen to fit the widescreen loveliness of the Xperia Play. Zoom does what it says on the cover, while Full Screen mode stretches the picture to the edges. There’s also a soft reset, incase you get the rage, while you can use other parts of Android and return to where you’ve left the game.

Here’s the standard Android icon app launcher. You know the drill; any Android apps you download can be found here.

Here’s the bottom edge. We’re surprised by its relatively slim profile, especially for a slide-out phone.

Here are them there collar buttons, L and R, and the volume rocker in the middle.

Here is the headphone socket and microUSB port, ready for charging or data connection with your PC.

Here’s the 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. You can hold the phone with controls out, and still take pictures without your fingers getting in the way.

And then we dismantled it. On the far right is a sleek leatherette (esque?) case to protect your phone. On the right side note there’s somewhere to hang your keys or dangley things. They love that in Japan, it should be huge there.

We’ll have review on the site once we’ve had a few days to play around with it. Stay here for more videos, comparisons and our thoughts on the Xperia Play throughout the next few days.

Thanks and kudos to Tesco Mobile for lending us the phone. We’ll take good care of it!


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