Sony Xperia Sola Review
Looking at its predecessors, Sony Xperia Sola looks fresh with its boxy design – the back curvature characteristic of its siblings completely omitted. The build and design may seem overwhelming at first glance but it’s actually easy on the hand. It gives a solid feel and a tight grip.
In line with the phone’s 116 x 59 x 9.39 mm dimensions and 107 g weight are powerful features. Powered by the mobile Sony BRAVIA engine, the screen gives top notch image quality.
Just above the screen are the earpiece and the status indicator while below it are the three standard capacitive keys: Back, Home, and Menu. Front-facing camera however is nowhere in sight. The left side is kept neat with just the Power/Lock key while the right side holds a lot of controls -- USB port, the volume rocker and the dedicated shutter key -- making the two sides rather imbalanced. The dedicated shutter key, although appreciated, is difficult to manage. The top side of the phone is as bare as the right side save for the 3.5mm audio jack while at the bottom are the primary mic pinhole and the lanyard eyelet. At the back you will find the 5MP camera along with the LED flash, the secondary mic, and the speaker grille. The phone’s internals are accessible except for the battery which is unfortunately fixed. It is also nice to have a hot-swappable microSD card.
It is quite surprising that a heavily-powered phone such as Sony Xperia Sola comes with Gingerbread. There are five available homescreens but users are not allowed to add or delete any of the five. There is a good number of available widgets for customization purposes, some of which are custom-made by Sony itself. Aside from Facebook events updates, the lockscreen also has a new feature to the delight of music lovers: music player widget. Phonebook system also has deep social network integration. Audio quality is hassle-free. The phone’s messaging and e-mail systems are organized.
Sony Xperia Sola’s 5MP camera does a fine job both in stills and videos with the two also having a similar interface that is manageable. There is a wide array of settings to choose from, some of which are smile detection, geo-tagging, image stabilization and focus. Five capture modes -- Normal, Scene recognition, Sweep Panorama, Sweep Multi Angle and 3D Sweep Panorama -- are also made available. Image quality isn’t perfect but is a little above average. Color accuracy is decent and details are quite good. The phone can do 720p video at 30 fps which is not so much for enthusiasts but works just right for the regular users.
The handheld offers a complete set of connectivity options: quad-band 2G and 3G, 14.4Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA and Wi-Fi b/g/n with DLNA. The browser is user-friendly since it was kept minimalistic and trouble-free. Readability is impressive as well. The catch is its full Flash 11 support which gives a solid performance when playing YouTube videos and running Flash games.