Sony Ericsson is launching four new Android 2.3 smartphones on the New Zealand market, and all will be available by the end of October.
Three of the phones are in the Xperia family of phones - the Xperia Mini Pro, Xperia Active, and the Xperia Ray - and the final model is the Live with Walkman phone, designed specifically with music in mind. All the phones have relatively little onboard storage capacity, but support microSD cards up to 32GB.
The new additions will mean there have been five Xperia phones released this year in New Zealand, as the Xperia Arc and Play were launched in April.
The Xperia Ray, which is already available, is intended to be a smaller, more budget-conscious version of the Xperia Arc. It has a 3.3-inch, 480-by-854 pixel display and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, plus an 8MP rear-facing camera. It can record video in 720p at 30 frames per second. We'll be reviewing the Ray for December-January issue.
The Xperia Active is designed for fitness-conscious users, as well as users concerned about damaging their phones. It comes with a pedometre and fitness apps pre-installed, and is water resistant and dust proof. It can be left in up to one metre of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, according to Sony Ericsson.
The Active has a 3-inch display with a 320 x 480 resolution, and 'wet finger tracking' - meaning the touchscreen works just as well when your hand, or the phone itself, are wet. PC World had the opportunity to test this when visiting the Sony Ericsson offices in Auckland, and it does work as advertised.
Like the Ray, the Active has a 1GHz processor and can record 720p video. however, the Active has only a 5MP camera.
It also has a metal loop on the bottom of the phone for a lanyard or belt clip.
The Active will draw comparisons to Telecom's existing Motorola Defy, which goes for $799. The Xperia Active's RRP will be $399.
Xperia Mini Pro
The Xperia Mini Pro is the latest version of the Xperia X10 Mini Pro, which PC World reviewed in September of last year. Sony Ericsson has upped the screen size from 2.55 inches to 3, and bumped the resolution from 240 x 320 to 480 x 320 pixels.
Like the other new phones, it has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Unlike the other phones, it has a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard for those people who either type and text a lot, or simply prefer the tactile response of actual buttons.
Live with Walkman
Live with Walkman is an entry-level phone with an emphasis on music and is aiming for a youth audience. PC World again had the opportunity to test Sony Ericsson's claims here, and the sound quality of the Live with Walkman is indeed better than all the smartphones we tested it against, including some in SE's own Xperia range (full review to come in our November issue).
The phone has a dedicated button that opens the Walkman app, and volume controls that work even when the screen is locked. It has a 3.2-inch screen with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution, and despite its lower, $399 price, it still runs on a 1GHz processor.
Prices and carriers
Live with Walkman - $399 from Vodafone
Xperia Active - $399 from Telecom
Xperia Mini Pro - $499 Vodafone
Xperia Ray - $699 from Vodafone