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Sony's Xperia Ion continues the design tradition started by earlier Xperia models. The phone's massive 4.6-inch (1,280x720-pixel) HD resolution screen is pretty and you have plenty of room to customize the home screens as you wish. Four touch controls sit just below the display on the phone's glossy surface.

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The Ion casts a very trim shadow, but it still has a solid and comfortable feel.

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On the left spine are a few controls and the Micro-USB charger port.

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Apps in the main menu are arranged in a grid design. After pressing a convenient touch control you can delete icons and rearrange them.

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When arranging the apps, you can select your own order or list them alphabetically, by the ones you use most, or by the titles you recently installed.

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The lens for the LED flash and the lens for the 12-megapixel camera are on the handset's rear side.

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The camera viewfinder surfaces a lot of controls up front, including the camcorder switch and the flash option. There's another camera around front for self-portraits and video calling.

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A second camera menu opens even more editing options.

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The virtual keyboard has a familiar design. Above the huge space bar and common punctuation controls are three rows of large alphabetic keys. You'll have to click through to a second keyboard for numbers and symbols.

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The music player takes cues from Sony Ericsson's User Experience (UX) interface. You can flip through tracks by swiping the screen.

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You can organize your tunes in several ways.

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The music player is hooked into YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google. What's more, the Xperia Ion supports the Sony Entertainment Network, which includes the Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited content streaming and rental services.

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The Xperia Ion also runs Sony's Timescape interface, which organizes your calls, texts, and e-mails into a flowing list of cards.

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The Xperia Ion is PlayStation-certified for your gaming needs.

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Up top is the 3.5mm headset jack.

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