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Aug 22, 2012

Technology :; Tech Review: Sony's Xperia Go is a Tough but Clunky Smartphone

Sony’s rugged Xperia Go phone can stand up to daily use, and then some. Bang it on a table, sink it in a glass of beer and it will keep working. The Android phone can even survive being left in the snow, an impressive but ultimately useless feature in tropical Indonesia.

But the phone’s resilience comes with a price. Forget about dedicated camera or volume buttons, or a shiny exterior. The entire body of the slim iPhone-sized phone is coated in waterproof plastic, giving the Xperia Go a utilitarian, but ultimately cheap-looking finish.

Removing the phone’s SIM card and battery is also a chore, thanks to the Xperia Go’s tight-fitting seams.

Text-happy mobile phone users might find the touchscreen lacking thanks to a tightly packed keyboard and annoyingly assertive auto-correct, which pops in a large window on the already cramped screen.

The phone’s interface appears dated. It uses the old Android 2.3.7 “Gingerbread” operating system instead of the new Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” system. The Xperia Go utilizes the same user interface as most Sony Mobile smartphones, with a centralized main menu and numerous home screens.

The phone works with 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth connections. It can also be used as a mobile hotspot with its USB connection for PCs.

The screen’s 480 x 320 resolution is clear enough for even the most colorful video games, but the phone’s processor can lag when running graphics-heavy applications.

The rear-mounted 5 megapixel camera lacks the crispness mobile phone photogs have come to expect.

Video is choppy at best and lacks the smooth HD-level quality of more expensive Apple and Samsung smartphones.

The Xperia Go’s battery life is impressive, with a life of 17 hours under normal usage if it is fully charged. The battery is fully charged after an hour and a half.

The phone’s main selling point seems to be its toughness, but the phone is built for survival, not use in extreme conditions. The Xperia Go may survive being submerged in water, but the touchscreen doesn’t work underwater. And without a dedicated external camera button, don’t plan to use it on any snorkeling trips.

The Xperia Go is already available in Indonesia with the price around Rp 3 million.

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