Sony Ericsson XPERIA ARC preview at JayaOne, Petaling Jaya on 26 March 2011

Posted on March 27, 2011

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I was one of the 30 attendees to the preview and “unofficial launch” of the latest Sony Ericsson Android smartphone the Xperia ARC. The event was organized by the local MobileFest club with Sony’s Eric , Product Manager of Sony Ericsson

Facebook link of the event : http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=199568440067726

Venue : The Bee, 2A-G, Block K, Jaya One No.72 Jalan Universiti, Section 13 PJ

Official Agenda :

3:00pm – Arrival & Registration (Please be punctual!)
3:15pm – Welcoming speech by MobileFest & briefing on program run down
3:20pm – Introducing Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
3:40pm – Product demo, Q&A
4:00pm – Tea break, light & easy and mingling the MobileFest style
5:00pm – End

First thing – thanks to the organizers for the free flow of drinks and food served during the event. I did not expect so much food variety and should have gone on an empty stomach !!

The event was so un-Malaysian as it started on time. Samuel Tan bootstart the occasion saying he is a non-Androider and gave a short welcome speech to Eric and his team. Eric’s presentation was short and simple. I felt he should touch some details on the hardware specs but he didn’t. Well I supposed he assumed that most of us who attended had already did our own homework and research about the ARC. Instead he went on to demonstrate several key features befitting in his words “the flagship product ” of Sony Ericsson Android smartphone. He highlighted the hardware features, brillant display with its Bravia Mobile engine, its simple and easy HDMI connection to a 40″ LCD ( on photos, games and video ) and lastly Sony Ericsson’s proprietary Exmor superior sensor detection under low light conditions. As this event was just a unofficial preview and not a official launch, he was not in a position to give us any more information on pricing and any possible tie-ups with local telcos. However Eric indicated the launch will be in early Q2 and the package with lots of accessories will be at a ” very, very good” price. He did leaked that the HDMI cable will be included.

We were than given the opportunity to have a unrestricted hands-on test of the available 6 units. While clearing the lectern, the units were accidentally dropped on the floor but all survived without any problem

My impressions :

Form Factor : Very slim and light. The build looks classy ( especially the Black color version ) with its slight curved design . Build quality I’d rate it a 9/10. The plastics used looks glossy and will be a fingerprint magnet. The specs read 117 g which is lighter than the Galaxy S ( 119 g ), HTC Incredible S ( 135 g ), Google Nexus S ( 129 g) and HTC Desire HD ( 169 g) . However I find the back cover a bit plasticky and it’d be better if it could be similar to HTC Incredible S soft textured finishing.
Below the display are the same three hard keys as on the X10 – a back button, a menu key and a home key . In this age of modern design, the ARC’s use of hard keys seems to be a retrograde in design.
Removing the battery reveals the microSD slot, the SIM slot and the second microphone pinhole, used for active noise cancelation. The battery capacity is 1500 mAh and it’s said to last for up to 430 hours of stand-by or up to 7 hours of talk time.

Display : The 4.2 ” 854 x 480 pixels 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen was dazzling bright and clear. I compared it with the available Galaxy S ( SuperAmoled), Galaxy SL, HTC Incredible S, HTC DHD ( SLCD) and would say it does not lose out to the competition. Sony’s Bravia Mobile Engine is designed to improve the image quality by increasing contrast and sharpness. One won’t feel embarrassed showing off the display even against the Apple iPhone 4. However I do not quite like the default icons design – just look too minimalistic.

User Interface: A very much great improvement the previous Timescape UI in previous models. The UI was slick, smooth with no noticeable lags. It runs on the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The ARC is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon together with Adreno 205 GPU. It is reported that the ARC score at least a 1500 on Quadrant ; this is clearly reflected in its smoothness and quick launch of apps and swiping across screens. Eric said updates to the firmware will be through OTA or installation using the PC suite

The 8 mp camera : I am a noob on camera usage. Even a 10 mp camera will perform as a 3 mp in my hands. However Sony Ericsson’s camera quality is well renown and I am quite sure with its 8 megapixel it will be one of its key selling points. My impressions on the camera menu screen – seems to offer so much more options and shortcuts , it looks just complicate to me. Eric demo the Xperia’s proprietary Exmor R sensor technology – it was indeed impressive that under very low light conditions the images were captured . Eric said the ARC will take superb photos with clarity on foreground and background under low light conditions. Most of us tested our phones on the Exmor box and all came out disappointed as we only see black screens on our phones. I did not test video recording but at the reported 30fps and ability to record up to 1080p , the Arc has another winning point here.

How well the ARC be accepted will be determined strongly by its price. Selling the phone just based on its well endowed multimedia features is insufficient. Most of us Android smartphone users usually take our units above the limit which the manufacturer wishes. These limits are theming, kernel changes, over-clocking, rom enhancement etc. In addition, Duo core Androids and other higher specs single core Androids are expected to be released after April ( example Galaxy S II, Optimus 2X, Optmus 3D, Motorola Atrix, htc Evo 3G GSM etc ) . It will be a tough battle for the ARC to face these other models.

The event ended at about 5 pm with a group photoshot and the compulsory shot of some of  the attendees gadgets

View more photos of the event at : http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=14968…70924&aid=42315

Photos in this post thanks to  MobileFest’s photographer

A video from GSMArena about the ARC UI :