Sony Xperia T review

Sony Xperia T review

T, Xperia T. That's the name of Sony's new flagship and has been available in a James Bond package for some time now.

Just as 007 is the best agent of the British intelligence service, the Xperia T has to defend Sony's honour in the higher segment of the smartphone market. He takes over the baton from the Sony Xperia S we reviewed last spring.

In the battleground, Xperia T faces formidable competitors in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S III, LG Optimus G and the HTC One X+.

To be able to stand his ground, the Xperia T is equipped with a 1.5 GHz dualcore processor and 1GB of working memory. He has a 4.55 inch HD screen and a 13 megapixel camera.

What's with the device?

The box is a square and flat one. There is a stack of paper underneath the unit with warranty and start-up instructions, among other things. In addition, a microUSB cable with adapter plug and an in-ear headset with different sizes of sleeves are in the box. Partly due to the lack of a microSD card, it is not very well sorted, but the headset is of a solid Sony quality.


After Ericsson's farewell, Sony has taken a new direction with her design. With the Xperia T, this means that the top and bottom are barely distinguishable from each other. Especially when the screen is turned off. The exterior of the Xperia T is otherwise quite boring and almost free of any frills.


Beneath the plate that covers the entire front of the camera is not only a frontfacing camera, but also a proximity sensor and an LED light hidden. This light has different colors and is unfortunately hard to see when it lights up. The plastic edge around the screen and part of the camera feels pretty cheap. Moreover, the small raised edge and the screen itself is a huge dust magnet.


There is a slight curve in the back of the device, but you won't notice that in daily use. Although that might be the intention. The soft-touch finish of the background does feel nice.


On the left side of the device is the micro-USB connection. On the right side there is a cover with slots for a microSD card and microSIM card. The cover is necessary because the Xperia T does not have a battery cover. The backside is also sealed. Next to this cover are the power, volume and camera buttons. This grouping of the buttons seems handy, but for right-handers they are just too low and too close together. You have to hold the device a little cramped each time to remove the screen lock.

Sony Xperia T cover

Due to the lack of a battery cover, the device feels fairly solid but it is mainly a pile of plastic. This makes it nice and thin and not very heavy.


We hadn't reported this yet, but the battery hidden inside is an 1850mAh one. With all the good will in the world it is mainly a mediocre battery with the accompanying somewhat mediocre endurance. With a little restraint in use it is possible to get a full day out of the Xperia T. The display and data traffic are of course the biggest consumers of energy.


To improve stamina, there is the so-called 'extended standby mode'. This ensures that data traffic is switched off when the screen is off. Of course, this makes a considerable difference, but it does ensure that no accounts can be synchronized in the background. There is also "Wi-Fi on location". This automatically turns off Wi-Fi as soon as you are out of range of known networks. As a result, the phone does not have to search for networks every time.

Call quality

As with endurance, the bell quality is also a bit mediocre. The sound seems a bit muffled and can't be very loud. As we often see with Android, the phone application forms one whole with the contact list.


In addition, we find a tab for your favorites and one for groups. This does mean that the call overview has lost some of its functionality.


The monitor measures 4.55 inches diagonally, which is a bit of an unusual size. But because the function keys are part of the screen, the aspect ratio is pleasant to use. The IPS screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and is therefore very detailed. In sunlight, the screen is easy to read, but you have to take into account strong reflection and the viewing angle is limited.

The setting options for the display are limited to the brightness and sleep mode of the backlight. Although you can adjust the brightness automatically to the light conditions, it is still possible to set it lighter or darker while this function is on. It gives the user a little more influence but it also sometimes led to the brightness not being set correctly.

For improved viewing of photos and videos there is the Mobile BRAVIA Engine but to see a real difference you'll need to put two Xperia T's side by side.


At the beginning of the test period we received a message that a firmware update was ready for our device. Such a message appears in the status bar and normally you can download it easily. It is recommended to do this via WiFi because updates can sometimes be quite large. Unfortunately we came home from a cold carnival and were asked to connect the phone to the computer and download the program Sony PC Companion. Anyway we have a brother dead from cumbersome PC software but with Android it is already possible to update firmware over-the-air, wirelessly. To make a long story short, a few hours later the program was downloaded and updated and the firmware was installed on the device.


Despite the update, the Xperia T still runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and there are no major visual changes. Only the media applications of Sony got an improved look. Furthermore, as far as we are concerned, the interface remains a bit boring and dominated by shades of grey. Even if you select a different theme, the changes are not far-reaching. There are nice animations and transitions that give it some extra's.


Because the Xperia T has no physical function keys we will discuss in this section the virtual keys available since the arrival of Android 4.0. In fact, they occupy part of the screen and it is up to manufacturers themselves whether they want to use them. From left to right it's a back, home, and multitask button. They move with you when you tilt the device or disappear from the screen when they are not needed. If a certain menu item or application requires it, an extra button consisting of three vertical dots will appear at the top or bottom of the screen. This is the option key.


With the right button you can not only view the most recently opened apps but also open small applications or widgets. Think of a calculator or notepad. Additional applications can be downloaded from the Play Store. Although the link doesn't really work.


Sony has left the original Android reasonably intact and also added some dexterity. Behind the status bar are a number of switches for settings and a shortcut to the settings menu. Unfortunately, they have reduced the number of start screens from seven to five and the helicopter view of the start screens is a messy whole where all widgets are mixed up.


As indicated earlier, the phone book is part of the larger whole of the phone application, or vice versa. Basically, the contact list is nothing more than an alphabetical collection of your contacts, and that's how it should be. The nice thing is that you can synchronize multiple accounts and also change the way it is displayed.


The options make it easy to select from which accounts contacts should be displayed. There is also the possibility to search for link candidates. So that you can link a phone number with an email address and contacts are not listed twice. By default, these contacts are not bundled so you will have to link a lot of them manually if you have more than one account.



Sony's own mail application resembles the Gmail app in many ways and that's nice. An account is easily added, it looks clear and works well. Actually, only push notification is missing. For this you really need to have an Exchange account.


At first we were a bit unpleasantly surprised when a message was drafted. By default, the keyboard is very bare and there are no punctuation and number keys. Fortunately, these can be added via the settings. After that, the keyboard was a lot friendlier to use.


The spell checker can be turned on or off, but the settings screen remains empty so you have no further influence on it. With the specific keyboard settings you can still change a few things.


In addition to normal typing, there is also the possibility to create words by sweeping and dragging across the keyboard. We already knew this from Swype, which comes on some Samsungs and this version of Sony can't match that yet. Especially word recognition sometimes falls short.



In addition to Bluetooth and WiFi, Xperia T can connect to a whole range of other techniques. Near Field Communication (NFC), for example, is becoming more and more common and is gradually becoming more practical. In addition, there is DLNA to connect to media devices, Smart connect to automatically perform actions when you connect an accessory and Xperia Link to share the internet connection with an Xperia tablet.


The Xperia T comes standard with two internet browsers. There has always been a browser in Android that got better and better with time, but now we also have the Chrome browser. Why they are both on the device is a mystery to us.

The browser of Ice Cream Sandwich has a very minimalistic design including an automatically disappearing address bar. In terms of functionality, the two browsers obviously overlap to a large extent. With both you can browse in multiple tabs and they have to do without Flash, because Adobe has stopped supporting Android. Furthermore, you see that more and more desktop functions are penetrating into mobile devices.


The Xperia T's physical camera button gives good feedback and has a short response time. It can be used to open the camera from the lock screen and it can be set to take a picture immediately. Although the camera has 13 megapixels to offer, it still has to make do with a bit dated and limited interface. That does not alter the fact that the camera functions reasonably well.


Shooting photos with 13 megapixels is only possible in a 4:3 aspect ratio. For the normal 16:9 aspect ratio, the maximum number of megapixels is 10. The usual range of settings is available, up to and including smile recognition. In auto mode, the camera adapts well to the conditions. Focusing can be done by tapping the screen.


Although the detail is not excellent, the photos are otherwise of okey quality. Contrast and colors, although slightly oversaturated, look good. The LED flash is on the small side and therefore not very powerful. We had expected better from a 13 megapixel one. Doesn't alter the fact that this camera is bad.


The video settings obviously show a lot of similarities with the photo camera. Videos of the Xperia T have a maximum resolution of 1080p and can be filmed with a continuous autofocus. The images are stable and of reasonable quality.

Existing programs

In addition to the applications covered elsewhere or standard Google apps, programs calendar, alarm and clock, backup and recovery, civil alarms, downloads, EA games, Facebook, movies, FM radio, Google+, help, settings guide, McAfee security, movie studio, NeoReader, news and weather, notes, OfficeSuite, PlayNow, calculator, Sony select, Timescape, TrackID, Update center, Walkman, Wisepilot for Xperia and YouTube on the Xperia T.


As indicated in previous reviews, manufacturers often choose to install another load of apps on a device that you have not used as a user. EA Games, PlayNow and Sony select are actually disguised portals to the Google Play Store and you don't really have a thing for it. Fortunately, you can easily remove these and a number of other apps.


For Wisepilot for Xperia you only get a 30-day trial for full functionality. After that you will most likely switch to similar features of Google Maps Navigation.



Although EA Games and PlayNow are installed on the device, there are no games on it. They are therefore widely available in the Play Store.


The Sony Xperia T certainly doesn't have the allure of a movie hero like James Bond. It lacks really convincing strengths, which makes it more of a grey mouse. When it comes to image and camera quality, the Xperia T scores high and can compete with the best, but if we look at the whole package, it hasn't been able to convince us.

Even when you work with the Xperia T for a bit longer, you will still be annoyed by the dust that is constantly present on the screen and the peculiar grouping of the buttons on the side. There's a lot to argue about taste and some will find the design sleek, but in that area a number of other devices perform better as far as we're concerned. Maybe his slightly more reasonable price can convince people.

Mentioned products

Questions and answers about this Sony T review