I can’t even go back as far as to pinpoint when I spotted the first piece of news on the Xperia Play with all of its codenames and all the rumors running around it. Codenamed the very first time as the Zeus, then moved on to Sony Ericsson Play Station phone and now finally being announced as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play will be coming out to Verizon Wireless this spring. They did announce it, really, I’m not making this up, SE finally gave hard news on it and people finally got a look at the until now elusive device as well as try out some games made for it specifically or adapted for it.
Jumping right into the specs of the device, you’ll find a 4 inch display which comes at a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels, that’s FWVGA. The processor powering this so called gaming machine of the Android world is a 1 GHz Qualcomm CPU and the Adreno 205 GPU. It will be running, actually it is running, Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the usual SE user interface and some modifications here and there, so not the pure Android experience, but then again, it’s a good thing that it’s finally out and about.
For those which did check out the hands on posted a few weeks back you’ll know that it’s a touch more unusual than your standard Android smartphone because of its slide-out PSX controllers. It comes with a digital D-Pad and as I previously stated the legendary Play Station buttons Cross/ Triangle/ Circle/ Square, two shoulder pads and two touch sensitive D-Pads to act as joysticks. One thing which might not come as a surprise it’s also the first Play Station Certified smartphone out. This means that’s it’s been optimized to run Sony’s Play Station Suite service, which will allow for select Play Station 1 titles to be emulated on this small Android smartphone.
The phone is a touch on the thick side, but then again compared to the Samsung Galaxy S2 what isn’t these days, yet this isn’t much of a hindrance as you do wish something more solid to hold on to when playing your games right? My only real issue when concerning the design of the device is the rather glossy plastic look they went for, which really is a smudge magnet. Despite not sporting a dual core CPU the games tested on the device ran smoothly and there was no lag what so ever when trying out the titles modified for the platform. The full Play Station store is still however not going to be launch until a touch later this year, so you’ll have to wait for a review of their store as it’s not yet up and running and the manufacturer did not give any clear date on when the phone will be coming to retailers and carriers near you, apart from “this Spring”.
So all in all viewed, the device feels good in the hand, the buttons have a very nice and solid feel about them, and despite being somewhat underpowered when compared to most announced devices, it still manages to run games on it without any hiccups. On a more unrelated note the device does come with a 5.1 megapixel camera and an 8 GB micro SD card which will most likely be included in the retail package as well. In case you do enjoy gaming and you plan on picking up a new smartphone, why not hold onto your cash for a little while and get this one. It’s a phone and a mobile gaming platform, so why not hit two birds with one rock. Until next time, it’s time to burn the Cross/ Triangle/ Square/ Circle combo into my thumbs.1