|Name||Smartphone: Sony Ericsson Xperia Active|
|At a glance:||Can withstand dust and water,Comes with fitness apps installed,1GHz processor for speed,Call quality is bad after it has been in water|
|Summary:||The Active can't be both rugged and a phone at once.|
The Xperia Active is designed to be an aid to an active lifestyle – it’s got apps to help you with fitness tracking and, to a certain point, it’s ruggedised. In fact, it has an ingress protection rating of IP67, meaning it’s dust-proof and water resistant for up to 30 minutes in one metre of fresh water.
Those are some impressive claims, so I tested them by dumping the phone in a large jar for 25 minutes. Not only did it survive, but the Xperia Active’s ‘wet-finger tracking’ meant that the phone’s touchscreen still worked. There’s no need to dry it right away because you can text, check Twitter and browse the internet straight out of the water.
The Active has two covers – one outer cover to strengthen the back of the phone, and a second inner cover that keeps out dust and water very effectively. Each socket – there’s one for headphones and another for micro USB – is also covered by a rubber panel.
The Active is also very fast, for a $400 phone, due to its 1GHz processor combined with Android 2.3. The display is bright and relatively high resolution at 320 x 480 pixels, given the 3-inch display size.
Call quality is not as bright and shiny, though. I was ready to give this phone a Platinum rating, but there’s one problem that I just can’t look past: the microphone and speaker don’t have adequate protection.
I called two people on their high-end phones on two different networks after the phone had been submerged in water, and both reported that I was barely intelligible, and when a colleague called my own mobile from the Active, I couldn’t decipher entire sentences of his conversation. When the phone had dried out, call quality improved but was still not great.
The Xperia Active is great at lots of things, but terrible at one – being both rugged and a phone at the same time.