CNET First Look
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (Verizon Wireless)The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play has a slide-out game pad for more-immersive gameplay, but it has a few failings that won't make you give up your PSP just yet.
I'm Nicole Lee, senior associate editor for CNET.com and this is a First Look at the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. This is essentially Sony's answer to the much-touted and much-hyped PlayStation Phone. This phone does indeed have a slideout gaming pad. As you can see here, the game pad looks very similar to Sony's PlayStation Dual Shock controller. You get the D-pad on the one side here and the usual PlayStation face buttons on the other side. You also get the same select and start buttons on the bottom right here. In the middle, instead of 2 analog joysticks, you get 2 touch-sensitive circles. These circles essentially act as the analog controls. You will use these analog controls to control things like movement and camera viewing angles. As you might expect, the Xperia Play comes with a few games with it. It comes with Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Asphalt 6, a racing game, as well as an old PlayStation classic, Crash Bandicoot. If you wish to get more games for the Xperia Play, you can select the little button down here and that will lead you to a featured list of Xperia Play games on the V Cast app store. As far as the game play experience goes, we do think these physical controls offer a richer game play experience over the usual touchscreen controls of most phones. However, we thought the analog joystick controls just were not as responsive as we would like. We ended up just using these physical controls for the most part. However, not all games are configured to use these game play controls, so make sure you find the games that are meant for the Xperia Play. On the whole, we found the game play experience very immersive using these physical controls. It's definitely much more a richer game play experience than just using the touchscreen controls. Also, on the side of the phone here are the left and right shoulder buttons. The Xperia Play ships with the latest version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3. They did not clutter up the phone with any fancy interface. On the front of the Xperia Play is a very bright and colorful 4-inch capacitive touch display. You get up to 5 customizable home screens. You also get all the usual Gingerbread features. Above the display is a front-facing VGA camera, and on the back is a 5-megapixel camera lens and LED flash. So is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play for you? If you're a serious mobile gamer that wants to take your gaming to the next level, then this does offer a richer game play experience, but there are a few faults. The phone doesn't have 4G LTE and the analog joysticks are wanting. We do think it's a better game play experience than most other touchscreen smartphones, but we don't think it's enough for you to give up your PSP or Nintendo DS just yet. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is available for around $200 with a 2-year service agreement with Verizon Wireless. I'm Nicole Lee, this has been the First Look at the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play.