Sony Xperia TL Hands-on: Is This Phone James Bond Worthy?
A movie tie-in never guarantees success when it comes to smartphones. Anyone remember the special edition Nokia Lumia Batman phone or Samsung Matrix phone from back in the day? But the Xperia TL does bring more goods to the table than corporate synergy. We just went hands-on with this top-tier Android phone for AT&T, which stands out from the crowd with its sharp 13-MP camera and the way it uses NFC.
The Xperia TL has an intriguing black design, which looks slightly curved when we held it up to admire its slim profile. The soft-touch design is easy to grip, but we don’t like that the power button is positioned so low on the right side of the phone. On the plus side, we dig the dedicated shutter button, which powered on the camera fast and fired quickly when we took a few test shots. Sony has also re-made the gallery so that when you pinch to zoom you can see the images reshuffle like cards–a pretty neat animation.
The 720p 4.6-inch display is a mixed bag. While we like how thin the panel is and how close you are to the content, as well as the color accuracy, the viewing angles are narrower than we’d like. The HTC One X+ wins here.
Sony hopes to let you feel like a secret agent with some of the NFC capabilities of this phone. Using special NFC tags sold in AT&T stores, you will be able to launch James Bond-related content with a tap. Once you get sick of that you can reconfigure the tags as you see fit to automate other settings and actions. The real fun starts when you tap the Xperia TL on other Sony accessories. With a brief touch we could throw a song playing from the phone to a set of Bluetooth headphones and a mini speaker.
The 1.5-GHz S4 processor kept things humming along smoothly during our hands-on, and the redesigned Walkman app looks pretty slick. Overall, the Xperia TL looks like it will be a competitive handset, but we’re not convinced Sony has what it takes to steal mindshare and marketshare from the likes of Samsung and HTC this holiday–especially when you’re not getting Android Jelly Bean at launch. Stay tuned for a full review.
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