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A second pass at the Xperia Play (photos)

Three days after the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play made its debut at Mobile World Congress, CNET revisits the long-awaited device for a second look.

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Kent German
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1 of 10 Kent German/CNET

Gaming on the go

Three days after Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play debuted at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, CNET takes a closer look at the long-awaited "PlayStation phone."

Gaming controls on the Xperia Play are mostly comfortable and intuitive. It's not the prettiest device, though, and the circular touchpads can't quite compare with the joystick you'd find on a standard PlayStation controller. The touchpads are responsive but a bit slippery, and the sensitivity appears to vary. On the upside, the the phone doesn't feel top heavy when held in the gaming position.

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2 of 10 Kent German/CNET

Screen resolution

Sony Ericsson typically succeeds with its displays, but the Xperia Play is a mixed bag. The 4-inch screen supports 16.7 million colors, but I would have liked to see a higher resolution than 854x480 pixels. Gaming graphics look pretty good, though Sony Ericsson might have kicked it up a notch.
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Direct light

On the other hand, the screen shows up relatively well in direct light.
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Shoulder buttons

The Xperia Play offers one set of shoulder buttons for game play. Fortunately, when the handset is open there's enough space to press the buttons without your fingers hitting the sliding face.
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Game icons

Icons for the individual games are displayed on a separate page in the main menu. You can move them around as you wish.
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Social side

The Xperia Play has a slightly modified version of Sony Ericsson's Timescape application. It's a little cleaner than on previous Xperia handsets, and it still shows all your messages and social media alerts.
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7 of 10 Kent German/CNET

Mediascape app

Sony Ericsson's Mediascape app replaces the standard Android media player. It has an attractive design, and I like how it surfaces a lot of options on the main screen.
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Media player in action

Here you can see the media player in action. It supports album art, and the player controls are large and conveniently placed. At the bottom center is the control for Sony Ericsson's Infinity feature. Pressing it will take you to a list of all media associated with that artist.
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Virtual keyboard

There's no physical keyboard, so you'll need to use the virtual keyboard for all text entry.
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Phone dialer

The phone dialer features large buttons and plenty of shortcuts. The size of the numbers and letters should be sufficient for most users.

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