LAS VEGAS — Sony feels the need, the need for LTE speed. The company just showed us the new Xperia Ion, which is its first LTE device not only for AT&T, but for anyone. It’s got a 1.5-GHz Snapdragon processor and has 16GB of on-board memory. It’ll ship in March with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with Sony’s own overlay, though the company says it will be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich shortly after launch.
We fell in love with the Ion’s 4.6-inch, 1280 x 720p HD display. It’s powered by Sony’s Bravia engine, the same technology used found in the company’s TVs. The display is bright and crisp without kicking back too many reflections. The Ion is a big phone but didn’t feel too big. It’s got a very subtle curve on its backside, which felt natural in our hand, and its weight made it feel like a sturdy, premium device. It felt more solid and less fragile in our hand than another one of AT&T’s LTE phones, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
The Ion also brings a serious camera to the equation with a 12MP Exmor-R CMOS sensor inside — the same sensor used in Sony’s compact cameras. There’s a dedicated camera button and it’ll take a picture in 1.5 seconds directly from sleep mode. You don’t have to unlock the phone first, just hold down the camera button. It’s great for taking quick snapshots on the fly, just as you would do with a point-and-shoot. There’s also a 1.3MP front-facing camera that’s capable of shooting 720p video.
We’re looking forward to putting the Ion through its paces and seeing just how fast it can go. Stay tuned and take a look at the video and gallery below.