While this isn’t the first Sony phone I’ve used, it’s the first I’ve actually enjoyed using. Would I buy one? No! Would I recommend my “techie” friends buy one? No! Would I recommend to my friends and relatives who want an Android phone but don’t want the top end phones? No!

While it’s certainly a nice phone, I’m not sure where this phone fit’s in the Android world.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Responsive
  • Nice looking device

Cons

  • Screen quality is sub standard
  • Gingerbread
  • Sound quality in call is poor
  • Camera quality is poor, reacts badly in low light

What we like

It’s a nice compact little phone and a really clean design which Sony (in my opinion) have always done quite well. It’s got decent battery life although I did find on a heavy use day I was recharging about 4pm before I left the office to make sure I got home with some battery left in the device. It’s very difficult after having tested an HTC One X and owning a Samsung Galaxy SIII to be truly fair to smaller, lower resolutions screens. The screen on the Xperia Sola holds its own though, it’s reasonably crisp, displays pictures well and doesn’t give shadowing when watching video’s or scrolling quickly between menu’s.

What can be improved

I know it’s functional, I know it’s still “mainstream” but why are manufacturers still releasing phones with Gingerbread on them? Seriously? It’s not vitally important to have the latest and greatest but being honest, anyone that buys one of these right now is buying a phone with an OS that’s 2 generations old before they unbox the device. Add to that, the screen is certainly substandard compared to the One XL, The Galaxy S III and even the iPhone (sorry to mention it).

The camera is dreadful, particularly in low or fading light conditions! I found that the video struggled to focus in these conditions too, I’m thinking the camera is probably best suited to well lit bathroom duck face and the odd happy snap if you don’t have a good camera handy.

Conclusion

As I stated in the introduction, while it’s not a bad phone the Xperia Sola is not a brilliant phone that would compel anyone to rush out and buy it. The performance was ok, the sound was ok and the battery life was ok. There’s nothing special about this phone to list apart from it’s looks. If you’re after a physically small phone, this might not quite be small enough. If you’re after good battery life, there’s better options. It’s not got the best screen out there for video and certainly the camera isn’t going to please too many people.

So while in it’s own right it’s a decent phone that packs a decent punch, I’m just not sure who would buy it.

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  • wraith

    I figured I’d type this on my Sony Xperia Sola (hilariously both the previous words came up underlined by the spellchecker), Firstly me let me point out I have a prepaid SIM but WiFi at home make connecting at home no problem and the reason I got this phone was really simple. In a moment of stupidity I threw my pants in the washing machine with my Nokia still in the pocket and it was fucked. Between pays and needing a new phone my pay range was $250. At $200, still on my supplier and bought outright it was undoubtedly the best phone in the several stores I looked in and others knew it too because I had to enquire at three competing stores displaying the phone before I got one where it wasn’t sold out and the one I got it from was the last one I only just got ahead of an Asian couple next to me also asking for it. So how do I feel about it? The camera is not that great and the touchscreen texting can be downright annoying but for the price I’m enjoying it. From calling my friends to checking Wikipedia and YouTube to commenting on websites like this (admittedly a pain in the arsenal to type all this out) it does the job and fairly well

  • diesirae

    why did you compare chip phone to expensive? just think about it all phone/gadgets company they do chip for people who cant buy too expensive phone and for richest multi millionaire they buy latest high quality phone. if you have 2nd thoughts to buy what is the best then go to phone with high quality features and take the risk of the price coz you want that.

  • Terrence Chin

    My brother just got one of these. Camera is pretty bad alright, but it’s very decent and definitely has to be at or near the top of the list for the price.

  • Squeaker

    Sorry, correction to Sola pricing. $279 at MobiCity.

  • Squeaker

    Phil you say it’s screen, camera, and battery life is substandard and you wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Keeping in mind using MobiCity, the Sola is $270, the One XL $599, SIII 16g $599, and iPhone 4S 16g $699.
    So, at the sub-$300 pricepoint, what would you recommend to friends etc?

  • APai

    why would everyone want the greatest phone on earth ? do you realize that this probably would have been a great/ class leading phone 2-3 years back ? the benchmark is pretty high these days. for the price there’s no other phone that comes close, at least in India it is that way. on ebay.in its available for close to AUD250.

  • Daniel Fragar

    I bought one of these to replace my wife’s HTC Desire which has just finished it’s obligatory 2 year term. She didn’t want anything bigger than 3.7″ and any better phone than this is bigger. Can purchase for $250 if you shop around. Floating touch is mostly a gimmick, but occasionally handy as a “hover” function in browser and to alleviate fat-finger syndrome.
    ICS due out in September ….. theoretically.

  • dave

    Its not a Samsung so of course Ausdroid are going to give it a bad review…. that being said i agree get rid of gingerbread already…

    • Phil Tann

      That comment is as well thought out as saying we post things that are controversial for page hits…

      It didn’t get a good review because it’s not a good phone, it’s OK. The camera is sadly lacking and there’s nothing that made me go “WOW”. If you look back through devices, I’ve reviews I’ve given both HTC and Motorola decent reviews.

  • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

    Phil, Any comments on the Floating Touch feature that Sony like to spruik about this one?

    • Phil Tann

      Yes…
      It seems to work well if you’re a metrosexual hipster who wants to show their friends that they don’t need to touch their touchscreen phone. I honestly didn’t feel that it even warranted a mention in the review – hence it’s absence.

      IMHO – Pointless!

  • Greg

    What’s the price-point? Looking at the specs (none of which were present in the review) if they had shipped ICS and its improved experience/performance it could have been a really nice in the mid-range or compact market.

  • j

    It is a Sony. They are so behind the curve. Their phones and TVs are crap. MP3 players don’t sell. Their only decent products IMHO are the ps3 and VAIO laptops

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

      Dunno, I love my Bravia TV and my DVD Player is a Sony as well. For reference I have a Samsung in the Bedroom with a PS3 attached, picture quality wise the Bravia is more vibrant and better flowing in terms of picture quality. Again, Just IMHO.

      • Sarah

        Agreed. My Bravia TV is fantastic. The entry-level Sony TVs might be average, but from their mid-range they’re spectacular. Sony have never been much good at the bottom end of the market.

        I love my Xperia Arc – in full sunlight I can read my screen, which my friend with an S2 and another with an iPhone couldn’t. However, I wouldn’t get the phone in this review – I agree with Phil’s conclusion that it’s too middle-range. It’s not cheap enough to be cheap, and not expensive enough to be sweet.

    • Andy

      I wouldn’t say that. This phone isn’t designed to be a flagship so of course it’s only going to be “okay”. Their TVs aren’t crap… but you’ve got a point in that their MP3 players are lackluster (I don’t see much of a market for them… even iPod sales are falling bad). I’m an Xperia Arc user and it’s been good for me despite being low on the spec side of things. They do seem to be a bit behind on specs and certainly don’t seem to be first to market with tech, but they’re not that bad.

      I think Sony have a big opportunity to create an integrated household offering, which I believe they’ve started with One Sony. They’ve got their fingers in all pieces of household technology; all they’ve got to do is make them talk to each other a bit better and do things that others can’t. Apple have started doing this but they don’t have as large of a product offering.

      TBH I think the Sony phones available now are some of the best looking on the market.