Sony has been hard at work pushing its high-end Xperia Z, but that’s not stopped it quietly crafting a superb-looking and hard-working handset.
The Xperia SP might lack some of the specs of its larger brother, but there’s no doubt that it’s got enough going for it to make it a real consideration for the smartphone buyer that’s not going to shell out a fortune each month.
Sony predictably wouldn’t give us a price or release date for the Xperia SP, but word is that it will come at the lower end of the cost spectrum, meaning it could be available for just £20-£25 per month.
When you consider you’re getting a phone with a 4.6-inch screen that’s as high-res as the Samsung Galaxy S3, a new version of Android, a 1.7GHz dual core processor and 4G connectivity, it’s a pretty startling combination.
And while it might not have the dust-proof unibody of the Xperia Z, the SP does have that most rare of commodities in a removable battery cover, under which lurks the 2370mAh battery (weirdly) and also a cheeky surprise in the shape of a microSD slot.
The Xperia SP feels impressive in the hand, thanks to the smooth plastic cover (which comes in red, white and black) which actually feels a lot more premium than the price would suggest.
The quickly-becoming-iconic Sony power button is on offer on the left-hand side of the phone, and is placed perfectly for the thumb or index finger to rest on when holding the phone. It’s also joined by a dedicated camera shutter button – ticking off another big plus for the design of the Sony Xperia SP.
That 4.6-inch screen looks as sharp as you’d expect from a phone rocking Sony’s display technology – it might not be as crisp as other high end handsets from last year, but when you watch any video powered by the Bravia 2 engine, it’s a real treat, especially when you consider the price.
On top of that, the bottom of the phone hosts a translucent bar which glows in relation to the image on the screen, in a similar manner to the Sony Xperia U from the days of Sony yore. It’s not a deal-breaking feature, and you’ll probably not notice it half the time, but given it can also be used for notifications, it’s not a bad thing to have.
The camera, an 8MP option, is another design win for the Japanese firm thanks to the central rear sensor – we didn’t get a chance to test out the snapper during our time with the phone, but we were pleased to note it’s rammed up with all the technology (including superior auto mode) from the larger Xperia Z.
Although not blessed with the looks or specs of the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP is a phone that still deserves a raised eyebrow of appreciation thanks to the combination of spec list and likely price.
The body is smooth and feels quality in the hand, and while the screen is slightly dwarfed by the larger chassis, there’s no doubt this is a phone that could fly off the shelves if enough people get fed up with the notion of spending loads of money each month on a handset.
With an impressive screen, Android 4.1 and an 8MP camera, alongside NFC and 4G, this spec list wouldn’t look too out of place on a new flagship phone from another firm right now – and with a lower price, that’s an ace notion.