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Hands on: Xperia Ray and Active

Sony Ericsson has unveiled its follow up to this year's Xperia Arc and Play at CommunicAsia in Singapore. Check out our hands-on experience with the new Xperia handsets.

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Joseph Hanlon
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Meet Xperia Ray

Sony Ericsson took to the stage during CommunicAsia in Singapore this week to unveil its second-half line-up for 2011, featuring two new Xperia-branded phones and a feature phone with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Leading the charge in Q3 will be the Xperia Ray, a phone featuring much of the same hardware we saw earlier this year in the Xperia Arc, but this time in a smaller package.

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Mini me

To give you a better idea of the size of the Ray, here it is posing beside its big brother, the Xperia Arc (left).

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Runway good looks

For Sony Ericsson, the Ray is a design-driven model. With a 3.3-inch Reality display, someone could get the smartphone benefits of the Arc without the size of it, if that's what they prefer. It does have some nice design elements too, like the uniquely designed Home key and its metal trim.

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Sharp shooter

Another area of the Ray that remains consistent with the Arc is its camera. The Ray packs an 8-megapixel sensor with the same Exmor-R image processing tech that we saw in the Arc earlier this year.

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Same, same, but smaller

Even in regards to pre-installed software, the Ray is a near-perfect replica of the Xperia Arc but in a smaller package.

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Let's get physical

While the Ray is extremely familiar to us, the Xperia Active is a different kettle of fish altogether. Wrapped in sealed stiff plastic, the Active is Sony Ericsson's first water- and dust-resistant smartphone.

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Hold on tight

Because it assumes you will be taking the Active with you while you are moving and sweating, Sony Ericsson includes a bunch of accessories to keep this phone attached to you. You can see an exceptionally sturdy lanyard in this picture, but there is also an arm band holder included with the handset.

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A chubby phone for skinny minis

At 16.5mm thick, the Active is one of the more rotund handsets around; though, we liked the way it felt with its soft-touch plastic chassis.

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Four-corner UI

One element that we really like about the Active was Sony Ericsson's use of its four-corner user interface, giving users quick access to important apps while on the move.

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Feel the burn

Sony Ericsson packs a few unique exercise apps into the Active for not only measuring how much of an exercise you perform, but also for your heart rate during your workout.

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Txt: gr8 to c u

While some phone shoppers want the very best in screens, processors and apps, others want one key feature only: a QWERTY keyboard. The new Sony Ericsson Txt is a feature phone (meaning no app store) that's ready to test your texting speeds.

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Sleek design

Even though this is a phone with a basic feature set, Sony Ericsson hasn't skimped on the design work. The design is playful and loud, but it has some elegant trim to balance this.

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Fixed views

On the back you'll find the lens for a 3-megapixel fixed focus camera.

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Easy listening

As with nearly all new phones, the Txt comes with a 3.5mm headphone socket.

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What'chu talkin' 'bout?

One element we were pleased to spot was the text correction tool in the messaging window. Too often users of QWERTY phones are left to their own devices when editing text input.

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Docking station

Alongside the handset announcements, Sony Ericsson also showed off its latest accessories. This is a docking station with Sony Ericsson's LiveDock capabilities, allowing you to predefine which app is launched on your phone whenever it is docked in this device.

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Get connected

This is the LiveDock settings screen on the Xperia Active. With LiveDock you can customise your phone's response to a range of accessories, including headphones and the dock we showed in the previous slide.

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