Sony’s Xperia Acro S is one of the very few handsets that you never have to worry about getting wet. We took this smartphone to a road test to see if it can handle the stress. Check out our full review of the Xperia Acro S after the break.
The Acro S is the flagship in its category. It resembles the configuration of Xperia S but is weather-proofed so it can stand some levels of dust, humidity and even liquid incidents. We managed to dunk it into a bucket of water, subject it under heavy rainfall and threw it around in the park.
Design & Construction
The Xperia Acro S gets additional manufacturing precautions so the design of the body is more solid and air-tight than your regular Xperia handset. All of the external ports are tightly covered with a thin strip of rubber to seal them in place.
It feels a bit chunky because of the additional weather-proofing done on the exterior. The microUSB port, 3.5mm audio port and the micro-HDMI ports are all at the top with their individual sealed cover.
On the left side is the microSD card slot and the SIM card slot, both of which are also sealed in an airtight compartment. On the right side are the power button, the volume controls and the dedicated camera shutter button. At the back is the speaker grills, a secondary mcirophone and the 12MP camera and LED flash.
The design of the body closely resembles the Xperia Ion â€” feels very solid on the hands but a bit chunky. The unit has a unibody design which means the battery is built-in and not user-replaceable (this is the same as the other Xperia handsets).
Like the Xperia S, the Acro S sports a 4.3-inch Reality HD display with a resolution of 720p giving it a high pixel density of 342ppi (one of the highest weâ€™ve seen in a smartphone). The screen is really clean and crisp, the colors are vivid and bright although we wish it can be brighter especially in the outdoors.
The entire front panel is made of glass and there are no physical buttons here except the three backlit soft buttons. In idle, theyâ€™re not lit so sometimes youâ€™d miss the buttons and end up pressing that area around once or two to hit the right buttons.
OS, UI & Apps
The Xperia Acro S uses the same familiar interface as the entire Xperia line. The Timescape UI is simple, fluid although we noticed that some of the usual navigations (like the slide down menu) have been changed a bit.
The collection of native widgets have slightly increased which is on top of the usual Android widgets that are already available. The Timescape UI is actually one of the nicest UI skinned on top of Android by any handset manufacturer. It doesn’t have that much eye-candy as HTC Sense but you can clearly see the Sony influence.
The Acro S comes with ICS 4.0.4 right out of the box which is mostly the standard these days for flagship handsets but we’re hoping Sony would come out with a Jellybean update before end of the year.
You have access to hundreds of thousands of apps, games and widgets on the Google Play Store, most of which are actually free so you’re pretty much settled from that end. Sony also managed to squeeze in a few of its own native apps like the Walkman music app, PlayNow, Connected Devise for remote playback to other devices and the native Back-up and Restore feature. Still missing are the Music and Movie sections which are a country-specific limitation.
Multimedia & Camera
The sound on the handset isn’t as loud as we expected (sometimes it even sounds a bit muffled). This could be cause by the additional protection done on the handset to make it weather-proof.
The FM radio works well but still requires a headphone to be attached to serve as an external antenna.
Movie playback is very smooth, even with 1080p clips, with really crisp and vivid colors.
The 12MP camera on the Acro S is impressive. Still shots are crisp, well focused and is well-saturated. Here are some sample shots we took:
The handset can record up to 1080p videos and produces really clear and sharp footages. Since the unit is waterproof, you can use the camera in not-so-normal instances like in the beach, surfing, or just the swimming pool.
Here’s a sample video clip we took using the 12MP camera of the Acro S:
Don’t forget to tick the 1080p stream before playing.
Performance & Benchmarks
The Xperia Acro S may not have a quad-core processor but just like its other siblings, especially the Xperia S, it performs really well both with normal handset usage as well as in multimedia. The phone is responsive and snappy, handles multi-tasking really well and can decode 1080p videos very smoothly.
Synthetic benchmarks showed good numbers — it score 3,491 in Quadrant, 6,696 in Antutu and 38.4fps in Nenamark 2.
Call Quality & Battery Life
For call quality, the Acros S works just fine — clear and clean reception at half to full bars, SMS sending is fast and timely, audio quality is good. Some of the missed calls and delayed SMS are attributed to the telco that we use rather than the hardware.
Battery life is actually good and we managed to last close to 2 days on a single full charge, thanks to the high-capacity 1910mAh Li-Ion battery. For the most part, we lasted the entire day with above moderate to high usage. With moderate use, two days is pretty much achievable.
The Sony Xperia Acro S separates itself from the pack by offering features that other flagship handset can only dream of — water-proof and dust-proof. It’s he perfect handset to bring to the beach or on a trek to the rapids of Cagayan de Oro, probably even for surfing.
Of course, it can only take so much beating that you still need to take care of it — the water proof capacity is only up to meter and lasts for about 30 minutes.
The Acro S has a good combination of hardware, performance and ruggedness. Suggested retail price is Php26,990 and is available in mall stores nationwide.
Sony Xperia Acro S LT26w specs:
4.3-inch HD Reality Display @ 720p, 1280Ã—720 pixels, 342ppi
Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon 1.5GHz dual core processor
Mobile BRAVIA Engine
Adreno 220 GPU
16GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA
Bluetooth 2.1 w/ EDR
FM Radio tuner
GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS
12MP autofocus rear camera, LED flash
1.3 front-facing camera
1080p full HD video recording, 720p HD front camera
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
Li-Ion 1910mAh battery
126 x 66 x 11.9mm (dimension)
147 grams (weight)
What we liked about the Xperia Acros S:
â€¢ Water-proof and dust-proof!
â€¢ Great 12MP camera
â€¢ Really good display
â€¢ Good battery life
â€¢ NFC support
â€¢ Playstation support
What we did not like about it:
â€¢ Does not run the top CPU in the market
â€¢ A bit chunky
Disclosure: Sony Philippines is an advertiser on this blog and a sponsor of our Geeky Nights show. The review unit was however provided to us by Widget City which sells the Acro S for Php22,000 (see listing here). Widget City is also a banner advertiser.