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Sony Xperia Ion 4G LTE (AT&T) Review

Sony Xperia Ion 4G LTE (AT&T) Review

Hardware and Design

When I think about what the Sony Xperia Ion could’ve been I get excited!  But when I realized what actually came to be, I’m underwhelmed and it’s not to say this device doesn’t have potential or has no value, in fact I think it’s a good device .   The hardware is very nice in a aluminum uni-body shell which only allow you to take off the very top of the back of the device. ( like the HTC One S) It is rather thick but since it’s curved it feels good in the hand. On the back you’ll find a microSD slot along with the sim card tray/adapter which is nice.   The screen is very good at 1280×720 it’s very crisp and colorful an among the best screens out there, although I wish it were a tad bit brighter as even on the highest setting it’s really not all that bright.  The left side you a mini hdmi and micro usb ports.  The battery is 1900mah and that is a good thing on paper but in real world use it’s pretty lackluster.  I’ve been able to get some good battery life but it really only “wowed” me one time by lasting close to 17 hours but after that one time I was barely able to get half the time out of it.  All that aside I can pretty much live with, but the ONE thing I cannot live with is the capacitive buttons they are by far the worse buttons I’ve used in quite some time.   Now I’m hoping Sony will have a software fix but I don’t believe the issue is on the software side.

Score 7.3

Performance and Operating System

The performance of this phone is pretty good but since the capacitive buttons don’t respond everytime you press them It’s hard to tell if it’s the hardware or the software.  Yes, I say software because it has get this… Android 2.3.7 which is Gingerbread my friends!  Now I can give the benefit of the doubt but in all reality this phone was announced at CES 2012 in January.  Had this phone came out at the latest April I could deal with it but now since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has been announced it just puts the phone back in time further.  But overall performance is good and I really never ran into any major issues performing many tasks.  The Benchmark tools I ran had this device rated faster then the Galaxy Nexus but slower then the Galaxy S III and HTC One X.

Score 6.8

Camera

The Camera on the Xperia Ion is really nice overall it has a 12mp sensor and it takes very nice pics.  I’ve included sample shots below.

The only issue I really had was with the autofocus as it seemed to have a mind of it’s own and not focus properly without retrying several times, however I fell that’s something that can be fixed with a software update.

Score 8.0

Network and Radio Performance

The Network and Radio performance are good especially with it being a 4G LTE device.  I’ve gotten speeds close to 30Mbps down and 5-7 Up.  Phone calls on the other hand are ok but the earpiece sound is rather bad.  Even with the phone at it’s highest volume I could barely hear someone talking to me on the other end.  But with that being said most people don’t use their phone for making calls but if that is a major thing for you be aware that the volume is really low.

Score  7.0

Conclusion

Overall it’s hard to recommend the Sony Xperia Ion due to some of the hardware and software issues.  And since it’s unknown when these issues will be addressed it’s a tough sell especially since it was announced in January and it still ships they way it is with the only redeeming and attractive selling point left is the $99.99 price tag.   I will say if you do not want to spend more than $99 for an Android phone on AT&T this is probably the best choice due to the fact it’s’ got an HD screen a good camera and LTE.    But if you’re willing to spend more money I’d suggest the HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S III.

Snob Score 7.0

 

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