BBB — big, beautiful box

Well lookie what we have here! The kind folks over at Sony Ericsson Australia just happened to have a handful of Xperia Play handsets in the country and shot one over to the CNET team to take a closer look.

We haven't had much hands-on time with the Play at the time of taking these photos, but we do like what we've seen so far. The design of this new handset is well thought out and Sony Ericsson has paid special attention to making it as easy as possible to find new games on the Android Market.

While you're at it, check out a full list of compatible games here .

Sony Ericsson shirks the trend to package its phones in skinny boxes, instead opting for the same style of box we instantly recognise as coming from this company.

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What did you expect?

OK, so no surprises when you raise the lid; inside is one brand-spanking new Xperia Play.

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Great screen, bad photo

This photo doesn't do the bright 4-inch LCD justice. A decent screen was always going to be an essential part of a "PlayStation phone".

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PlayStation Certified

That's right kids, this isn't a PlayStation knock-off, in fact we were told that the handset was actually designed by the PlayStation design team with gaming in mind.

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That's a paddlin'

In keeping with the PlayStation design, the Xperia Play has two shoulder "paddles" with the volume controls squeezed in between.

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Play time!

Easily the best part of this phone so far is the excellent games browser. Similar to the XMB design on the PlayStation 3, the menu is fast and cool-looking. Plus, Sony Ericsson has included a dedicated search button that searches the Android Market with the phrase "Xperia Play optimized", which digs up any apps whose developers have implemented the unique control scheme.

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Sydney FC FTW

Here is a quick glimpse of the menu screens in FIFA 10.

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Game on

And finally, a look at a game in action.

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