Using Sony Ericsson Arc to cover the Royal Wedding

We liked the Sony Ericsson Arc so much – loaned to us by Three – that we decided to put it through its paces – on wedding-day. The question was, for a whole day of intense, outdoor media coverage, could the Arc outperform the iPhone 4?

SE-Arc

Screen

The huge 4.2-inch touchscreen is huge – which meant viewing the route map for the procession was easy.

The humble LED-backlit TFT, it doesn’t have the pizzaz of the AMOLED – however, the 480×854 resolution meant that we didn’t miss the iPhone’s outstanding Retina display – a surprise to us.

It was equally poor in bright sunlight, though. When will anyone fix this?

Camera

The 8.1MP resolution takes a great photo – rivalling that of the iPhone. The reason for that is the Exmor R CMOS sensor. It’s back-illuminated to take smoother, better-quality shots in low light than normal phone cameras. For darkness, it even outperforms Apple’s offering. And in normal light, it’s no slouch either.

It also comes with Smile Detection technology – which automatically snaps when a smile gets big enough (i.e. anytime anyone glanced at Pippa Middleton). Video recording is 720p.

Internet

The web-browser was snappy – partially due to the 1GHz processor, and partially due to Three’s excellent coverage in Hyde Park.

We have to hand it to the network (who lent us the phone), Three lived up to anything the Arc could throw at it. We didn’t have an Arc on another network to compare with, but we noticed that Spotify streaming was surprisingly consistent, unlike our experiences on some other networks.

All the media-rich Flash content for the wedding loaded without a hitch – although sometimes the interface could be a pain, Flash Mobile still isn’t perfect.

Speaker

The Xperia Arc failed the “playing phat tunes in park” test. It’s loudspeaker works fine, it’s just a bit unrefined and muffl-y. The iPhone has it here – despite Sony’s music pedigree.

Form

It’s very thin – which is refreshing. Despite the huge screen, there’s no bulk, making the Xperia pocket friendly.

The plastic case feels a bit cheap, however, which really takes away from the whole experience.

On the plus side, it does make the device incredibly light – a helium balloon compared with the weight of the iPhone. You’ll hardly notice it in your pocket – which left us free to carry more Will & Kate flags

Battery

The battery-life is average. After a full day of Royal activities, it limped home, complaining about its tired legs and sub-10% remaining power.

Conclusion

If the iPhone didn’t exist, then the Arc would be our mobile of choice. The camera is great, it’s light, powerful, has Flash. The only issue is the speaker – but who really uses the loudspeaker function, anyway?

If it were a straight choice between the two… Well, it’s impossible. Sorry.