Mobile Phones Guide

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S review

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S - A Second Show

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Thin and light
4.2-inch display with Mobile Bravia Engine
Snappy 8.1-megapixel camera with f/2.4 lens
Capable 1.4GHz processor
Small and impractical physical buttons
Incremental upgrades from its predecessor, the Xperia Arc

Imaging, Battery Performance & Conclusion

Imaging & Other Features

The Arc S comes with an 8.1-megapixel camera with an f/2.4 lens and an LED flash (same as the Arc). All in all, the snappy 8.1-megapixel camera produces sharp photos with vivid blacks and colors. Colors do appear white-washed on a few occasions (like the one pictured here) but overall, the Arc S comes packed with a reasonable camera performance. Like the Arc, the revised model's huge 4.2-inch 854 x 480-pixel screen is equipped with Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine image processing technology to enhance video playback quality. And enhances it does, giving us a rich and bright color display with good viewing angles under bright daylight.

The Arc S also comes with a few additions on the software side with regards to imaging functionality such as 3D sweep camera and screen captures:-


Battery Life Performance

Our final performance test is our regular battery test. This consists of comparing the smartphone to a select group of devices chosen based on their similarities across battery capacities, display sizes, resolution and processing power. Our testing methodology involves testing a video with a 480 x 800 pixels resolution looping under the following conditions:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection remain active
  • Constant data stream via email and Twitter


Specifications/Device Sony Ericsson
Xperia Arc S 
HTC Sensation Samsung Galaxy S II Sony Ericsson 
Xperia Arc
  • Single-core 1.4GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Single-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 4.2 inches
  • 4.3 inches
  • 4.27 inches
  • 4.2 inches
Display Type
  • S-LCD
  • Super AMOLED Plus
Display Resolution
  • 480 x 854 pixels
  • 540 x 960 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 854 pixels
  • 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm
  • 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm
  • 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm
  • 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm
  • 117g
  • 148g
  • 116g
  • 117g
  • 1500mAh
  • 1520mAh
  • 1650mAh
  • 1500mAh


With an advantage of eight minutes, the Xperia Arc did just slightly better than the Arc S. We suppose this might be due to the new phone's more powerful (hence, more battery-consuming) 1.4GHz processor. Given that other factors like battery capacity, dimensions and volume were the same on both devices, results for both power consumption and portability index were almost identical. The Arc was light, thin and had reasonable (but not fantastic) battery performance to begin with, and we were glad that these results were similarly sustained on the Arc S. 

Notably, while rationing the phone for normal day-to-day operations, the phone could last for at least a full day - a pretty standard affair for a smartphone these days.

Arc S the Second?

Like its predecessor, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is fashionable, thin and pretty to look at. To begin with, they both look the same (just that the Arc S has more colors to choose from). Minor recurring flaws make their reappearances on the device, such as the overly small and finger-cramping buttons. While the newer Arc S comes with an increased horsepower in the form of a 1.4GHz processor, benchmark results show that there isn't that great of a difference between the Arc and Arc S. In other words, both smartphones are in their own rights speedy enough for a regular user. Additional add-ons like 3D Sweep Panorama mode (you can only view these photos on a 3D-enabled screen though), and the ability to do screen captures without much hassle aren't features that we can call big improvements over the Arc.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc was priced at S$888 when it was first released. With the Arc S tagged at $788, newcomers to the Arc series will definitely be better off with the updated Arc S. If you already own an Xperia Arc, there's no reason to upgrade unfortunately. If you are looking for performance, it will be between the existing dual-core smartphones or the Arc S - the latter will be an attractive option in terms of offering more value; in fact, some retailers are pricing it just slightly higher than $600, making it an extremely worthwhile purchase. In a nutshell, the Arc S is a decent choice if you are intending to get a new phone with a large touchscreen. The Arc S is now available at all authorized retailers in Pure White, Sakura Pink and Midnight Blue.