Sony Ericsson Xperia Play review round-up: What the critics say

Xperia-Play-White The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is one of the most talked-about phones in recent memory, after all it's not often you see a smartphone with a slide out gamepad and PlayStation games on board. But the buzz isn’t pure hype, for the first time it’s brought tech experts and gaming gurus together to clash opinions on a single mobile phone. Read on, and see what they have to say.

Bonafide button-basher
Let's cut to the chase shall we? The star of the show is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play’s slide-out gamepad with those instantly recognisable PlayStation buttons. According to the critics, Sony Ericsson has excelled itself with responsive buttons and a familiar PlayStation feel. The controller "is everything you could hope for, with perfect response and easy button differentiation," said Electricpig, which found the touch sensitive thumbpads a more than adequate replacement for traditional joysticks.

The slide-out mechanism is robust too, and an "unqualified success" according to TechRadar's Matthew Clapham. "It's rock solid, moving the pad up or down with a satisfying nick," he said.

Vlad Savov at Engadget agreed, noting how comfortable the 4-inch Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is to hold. "When opened up into action mode, the whole device again feels nicely thought out and we doubt there'll be a hand size that won't be suited by its shape," he said.

Games galore
Of course, super clicky keys would be little use without games to keep you occupied, but you won't have any problems here. In fact, says Electricpig, "with so many great Android games available on the Market right now", you're spoiled for choice.

There are plenty of Xperia Play-exclusive Android titles on offer too, which are "quick to download" says the Guardian's Keith Stuart. The Xperia Play gives you access to PlayStation One classics from yesteryear too, including the "seminal" Crash Bandicoot. "The conversions are very good," enthused the Guardian. Good news for retro gaming fans.

Beefy battery life
The extra strain put on batteries by mobile gaming means some phones tank out after just a few hours of shoot-em-up action, but the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play can run for hours on end, all while fielding calls, emails and messages in the background. A full five to six hours of gaming is to be expected, according to the Guardian. Not bad at all for a phone boasting cutting edge Android slathered with next-gen gaming graphics.

Smartphone skills
Underneath all of this gaming brilliance is a rock solid Android foundation. As such, you can expect all the top notch bells and whistles that you get on any brand new handset running the latest version of Android for mobiles, Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

"Gentle blue hues and translucent windows lend the interface a classy sheen," said CNET UK's Luke Westaway, giving Sony Ericsson's version of Android the thumbs up, noting "It's rather impressive."

Electricpig summed it up simply as “a treat” noting “you get ace features like a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, Flash video and much improved text selection. It’s cutting edge and will keep you in apps for a long time to come."