First look: Sony Xperia NXT S, P and U

Reviews 28 Feb, 2012

Following their announcement at MWC, we go hands-on with three new Xperia NXT Android smartphones from Sony.

Verdict: 

Sony announced three new Xperia NXT smartphones at MWC in Barcelona a couple of days ago and today IT Pro had the opportunity for some hands-on time.

The new Sony Xperia NXT S, P and U Android smartphones (from left to right)

The Xperia NXT S, P and U are a premium, mid-range and entry-level smartphone, respectively. All are ostensibly billed as offering a “connected entertainment experience”, but the S and P models also have features that make them of interest to business users looking to move to something smaller than a laptop for certain mobile tasks.

The new Sony Xperia NXT S, P and U Android smartphones (from left to right)

All three smartphones share an appealing slab-like design with a rounded back that feels comfortable in the hand and the aluminium case on the NXT S and P feels particularly sturdy.

Rather than adopting Apple’s approach of wrapping the radio antennae around the perimeter of the case to improve reception, Sony has instead crammed them into a pod at the bottom end that’s separated from the main smartphone body by a transparent slice of plastic, although this presumably contains near-invisible electronic connections of some description.

All three models ship with Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, but a Sony spokesperson told us that an upgrade to Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will be available early in Q2.

This will, the spokesperson told us, include a Sony skin rather than the stock ICS one provided by Google. This is perhaps a necessity, since all three smartphones have three capacitive Android buttons on (or, in the case of the NXT S, just above) the transparent slice below the screen — ICS has dropped these in favour of on-screen versions.

The quad-band GSM/3G Xperia NXT S has the highest specification, with a 4.3” (720 x 1280) screen, 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, 32GB of user storage and a 12-megapixel camera with backlit sensor.