New Delhi: With the deluge of mid-range Android phones, buyers often get perplexed as to which phone to opt for and many end up buying a phone that is actually a compromise. The launch of the Sony Xperia Sola may just change that.
The Sony Xperia Sola is not only feature-laden but also offers value for money. For a budget of around Rs 20K, the Xperia Sola is a recommended buy.
It is a little different from its brothers - Sony Xperia U, P and S in looks. The phone does not have the translucent band, which is present on the Xperia U, P and S. The translucent band may make the phones look stylish, but its absence (surprisingly) makes the Sola more graceful. While I quite liked the translucent band, I didn't miss it a bit on this phone.
The phone is quite light in weight and is also comfortable to hold. It also has an LED notification light that tell you about the battery status. The green light shows that the battery is fully charged; the red shows that the battery is low; the orange colour shows that the battery is charging.
Contrary to Sony's claims the phone does not seem to have a scratch-resistant screen. After a few days of use, the screen is full of scratches and I hadn't been playing rough.
The phone has a 3.7-inch 854 x 480 pixel TFT screen that offers good viewing angles. It produces sharp and crisp details. The touch is quite responsive and smooth. Reading books on this device is a treat. Thanks to its reality display with mobile Bravia engine. The Bravia engine is believed to enhance sharpness, increase contrast and saturation.
The 5 megapixel camera (with auto focus and LED flash) produces excellent results in both low and bright light conditions. There also a ton of settings for the camera - ISO, exposure value, white balance, smile detection, metering and more. However, the zoom is a bit jerky as in the case with most phones.
The camera also records good quality videos at 720p, which are fairly detailed. The physical camera key disappoints as it requires quite some effort to capture an image. However, the touch button works quite well to snap a picture. What the Xperia Sola lacks is a front camera.
The phone runs Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. Though upgradable to Android 4, Ice Cream Sandwich, you will be left to wonder why the phone isn’t by default loaded with Ice Cream Sandwich. Engineered with 1 GHz dual-core processor, multitasking on this phone is a breeze.
The user interface is pretty intuitive and engaging. The phone offers an internal storage of 8GB (up to 5GB user-accessible memory). You can also expand the memory up to 32GB with a microSD card. The absence of a microSD card slot on the Xperia U was big disappointment, but not in the Sola. The phone has 512MB RAM.
It is a DLNA certified phone so you can share content with other DLNA compatible devices including TVs, mobile phones, PCs, laptops and others over WiFi network.
The phone comes pre-installed with Sony's Timescape app. As I had mentioned in my Sony Xperia U review, Sony's Timescape app looks interesting but is not user-friendly. It collects all communication into one place including email messages, Twitter and Facebook updates and lets users get a snack-size preview of an event before choosing to view the full content. Though the previews look appealing, but the screen looks cluttered.
But being a music lover, I quite liked Sony's TrackID app. It lets you record music from TV or any external speaker and gives the artist and track information.
It has an embedded battery that offers good backup. It can easily survive for more than a day if put to normal use. The Sony Xperia Sola also supports NFC that enables convenient short-range communication between electronic devices.
Priced at Rs 20,449, the phone comes in three colours - white, black and red. But you can easily get it for under Rs 20,000 in the market.
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