Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray review

First impressions of the new mid-range smartphone

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For

  • Speedy
  • Strong audio
  • Responsive display

Against

  • Lack of physical camera button
  • Sluggish to home screen
  • Still not a brilliant range

The Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray hits unexpected heights by showing that size most definitely isn't everything, defying its small size with a powerhouse under the hood.

Going against the current trend of oversized handsets Sony Ericsson’s latest smartphone offering has opted for a compact and narrow display with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray landing with a 3.3-inch touchscreen offering. A mid-range smartphone perfect for those not quite ready to plump for a hefty iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S II powerhouse the Xperia Ray makes great use of Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread mobile operating system with a well-functioning and sleek user interface.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray design

Lining up at just 9.4mm thick the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray boasts a minimalist and lightweight form factor that marks a comfortable and reassuring fit in the hand. Available in black, white, gold and pink colour schemes Sony Ericsson has made the wave compatible with all personal tastes from the traditional and reserved to the outright extravagant.


Despite a predominantly plastic construct the Ray is surprisingly sturdy with little bend or flex in its compact design. With the standard Android touch sensitive back and menu buttons taking up residence on the handset’s fore the only physical controls come in the form of the home button side-mounted volume controls.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray specs

By no means a ground-breaking collection of hardware offerings the Xperia Ray does however push the upper limits of what is expected from the entry to mid-range smartphone. A 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM combine for a surprisingly zippy experience with applications and menus opening and running at an impressive speed. Somewhat disappointingly, however, the Ray is sluggish in returning to the homepage once applications are open.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray performance

With HTC’s recent acquisition of Beats Audio to see a number of smartphones, starting with the HTC Sensation XE, featuring Beats by Dr.Dre audio technology and thus upping the musical expectations of the smartphones market, the Ray plays host to surprisingly strong audio capabilities.

More than capable of acting as your full PMP the Ray’s rear-mounted external speaker produces sharp and detailed output with far less distortion and reverb at the upper ends of the volume scale than can be expected from a mid-range handset.

Whilst the device’s 3.3-inch 854 x 480p TFT display has superbly fast acting reaction times its 8.1-megapixel camera is slightly more frustrating being slow to focus and lacking a physical capture button. Leaving users to tapping the screen to take a snap there is a noticeable lag before images are taken meaning shots of anything that might move or shake is an infuriatingly hard task.

That said, well timed images taken with the Ray are sure to please with vibrant colours and clean, sharp edges a noticeable feature of the camera’s capabilities.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray verdict

Far from the most powerful smartphone on the market, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray does, however, punch far above its weight in the ranks of the mid-range handset. Speedy and simple to use the Ray makes the most of the feature its expected user base is likely to covet with a few extra high-performance treats thrown in for good measure.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray availability: Out now

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray price: £300

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