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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

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 Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Available now
6th January 2011

The new flagship phone in the Sony Ericsson range, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc follows the recent trend of making Android devices progressively bigger, sporting a large 4.2" display in a handset design that manages to inject quite a lot of character and style into the mix.

The predecessor to the Xperia Arc, the XPERIA X10, was a bit of a disappointment in practice. The Arc looks much more promising on paper, and in theory it is exactly the sort of thing that many Android customers are looking for.

The main feature is the 4.2" display which has a 480 x 852 pixel resolution, and uses Sony's BRAVIA Engine to give what Sony Ericsson called a "Reality Display". Although really this is just another TFT LCD screen when it comes down to it, however the display on the old X10 was generally very good in use. The Xperia Arc supports multitouch too (unlike the X10), and the physical panel itself is designed to be both shatter proof and scratch resistant.

Apart from the display, the next most obvious feature is the shape. This is not your normal black slabby phone, the Xperia Arc has a noticeable curve (presumably this gives the Arc its name) and is just 8.7mm thick. Weighing just 117 grams, the Arc is about 15% lighter than the X10 although it does have a slightly bigger footprint. Available colours at launch should be "Misty Silver" and "Midnight Blue".

On the back is a 8.1 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, plus geo-tagging. Camera enhancements include smile detection, and an image stabiliser, touch focus and Sony's Exmor R technology to help with low-light shots. The Xperia Arc is capable of 720p HD video recording, which can be output on the phone's HDMI port. There is no front-facing camera, which seems like a bit of an omission.

It doesn't come with masses of built-in memory, but Sony Ericsson do include an 8GB microSD card in the standard sales package which can be upgraded to 32GB, which is plenty. The processor is a 1GHz Qualcomm CPU which is certainly  Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc competitive with other high-end Android devices out there. As you would expect, the Xperia Arc is a 3.5G phone with WiFi support. The battery is a fairly standard 1500 mAh cell which is what most rival devices have.

Other features include GPS (some phones will be bundled with Sony Ericsson's Wisepilot turn-by-turn navigation), DLNA support, a 3.5mm audio socket, Bluetooth, and an FM radio.

The Xperia Arc will run Android 2.3 out of the box, a significant improvement over the out-of-date operating system that the  Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc X10 shipped with. Of course, you get all the usual Android software with it plus Sony Ericsson's own enhancements.

Sony Ericsson say that the Xperia Arc will ship this quarter, but there is no guidance on price. The similarly specified HTC Desire HD retails for about €550 SIM-free, so we would expect the Xperia Arc to be a similar price.

This is a critical device for Sony Ericsson who had a pretty poor 2010. In order to make the Xperia Arc a success, Sony Ericsson will need to deliver it on time and with the minimum of bugs.. something that they've struggled with in the past. We also expect to see several other Android devices coming out soon from Sony Ericsson who seem to be following the Motorola strategy of concentrating on high-end smartphones to turn their fortunes around.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc at a glance


Q1 2011


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 +
UMTS 900 / 2100 or 800 / 850 1900 / 2100




4.2" 480 x 852 pixels


8.1 megapixels


Tablet device
125 x 63 x 8.7 / 117 grams



Memory card:











Android 2.3

Battery life:

7 hours talk / 16 days standby (3G)

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