updated 12:55 pm EST, Wed January 26, 2011
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play tested quickly
Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play was given its first detailed hands-on in the West today. The PlayStation phone is now known to be relatively fast and runs a 1GHz (likely second-generation) Snapdragon that should handle better than most. Despite early tests, Engadget found that it now hits 59FPS in Qualcomm's NeoCore benchmark and can even tie the 43FPS of the dual-core LG Optimus 2X in NenaMark.
While native games weren't an option, the test discovered that the PSP Go-like controls mapped directly to regular Android navigation and could even be assigned to work in an emulator. The device won't properly play games that need secondary shoulder buttons but, through the dual optical pads, should replicate a game that would need analog sticks.
The use of Android 2.3 keeps the regular interface quick. Sony Ericsson is using the new layer from the Xperia Arc, which is less visually elaborate than on the X10 and focuses more on functionality. A unique home screen pinch gesture replicates Apple's Exposé on mobile by letting users see every widget on a single screen and tap a widget to visit that screen. Software may be rough as the device so far lags with the feature in use.
A horizontal apps list can be sorted by different criteria and has an iOS-style option to manually rearrange the list.
Apart from the clear design changes, much of the hardware is cosmetically similar to the X10, including the four-inch LCD and even the long-lasting 1,500mAh battery. The camera reaches five megapixels rather than the eight of the Arc but is sharp and vivid. It might not share the same back-illuminated sensor as it doesn't handle low light. Some camera features, like HD video and a custom camera app, were missing.
The Xperia Play is virtually confirmed to get an unveiling on February 13 at an event before Mobile World Congress and may be released as soon as March. Its own price, carrier deals and other details aren't known, but a North American release is virtually necessary given the aims of competing with the iPhone.