Sony Xperia Go review: Sony Xperia Go

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 14 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent design for a rugged phone. Zippy performance. Some handy apps installed.

The Bad Small display. Average battery life. No front-facing camera.

The Bottom Line Sony picks its market well, and creates a good phone for the outdoors type. The screen is on the small side, though, and there are a few common features absent.

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Most phones are for most people. Identifying yourself with a new handset is rather hard to do, which is also the reason why bedazzled Hello Kitty iPhone cases sell so well.

Design

The Xperia Go is a different beast. Sony has a very specific user in mind; someone wet, someone dirty, someone with sweat dripping off their calloused fingers. The Go is a phone for rugged sports lovers, and matches their interests with a ruggedised exterior. The handset is rated IP67, a nature-proof rating which indicates that it can be submerged in up to one-metre of water for up to 30-minutes, and will keep almost all dust and dirt out of the phone's sensitive bits.

It feels like it, too. The plastic wrapper around the Xperia Go has a strangely rough feel to it, sort of like the finest grade of sandpaper you can imagine. It feels good, and more importantly, it has grip, so it is less likely to fly free of your bear-like hands, with the hairy knuckles and dirt under the nails.

The touchscreen plays its role in this sports-loving feature set, with a touch panel that works better with wet fingers than normal smartphone screens. We've tested this feature several times, and it works quite well. That said, it still does the same thing all touchscreens do under water, which is go a bit a haywire. Capacitive touch panels react to water like a dozen fingers on them all at once, and the result is a mostly unusable phone. But then, it's not like you're taking this scuba diving, anyway.

The problem that you may have with this screen is in its size. At 3.5-inches diagonally, the many icons on the screen do tend to get a bit cramped up, and some of the smaller buttons on widgets can be difficult to press accurately.

The headphone socket and USB port are both covered with stiff, plastic flaps to keep out the elements. The phone's SIM card and micro-SD card slot are located in a safer position still, under the battery cover on the back.

User experience and performance

While it's rugged exterior is different from many in the Xperia family, it's software is much the same as the rest. Sony has installed its NXT user interface on top of Android, complete with all of the excellent Facebook integration we've covered in earlier reviews.

There is an important difference between the Go and 2012's Xperia, though. For reasons unknown, Sony has opted for the older Gingerbread build of Android (2.3), rather than one of the more recent versions. This is usually a major no-no for a brand new Android release; however, for some reason, we're just not feeling that way this time. Gingerbread here is a good fit. The experience is fast and fluid, and though we like the look and feel of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean better, there seems to be no real reason to want the upgrade. Sony is promising an upgrade to ICS "in the coming months", but we're not really fussed.

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Where to Buy

Sony Xperia Go

Part Number: 1264-6623

Typical Price: $349.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Service Provider not specified