Hardware & Design:
Sony Xperia ion ‘s design employs 4.6-inch 720p reality display and mobile bravia engine. Comparing to some of its rivals, it is evidently heavier with its 4.9 ounces weight. The soft-touch plastic rear of the phone has removable bit up top that slides up and off to reveal the Sim card slot and microSD card slot and houses 3.5mm headset jack at the center while the other buttons can be seen mounted in angle on the right side including power, volume and a camera button.
Sony Xperia is mainly comprised out of a brushed metallic material, which unfortunately gets dirty very easily. Nonetheless, its build quality is very good and its back gently curves to your hand giving a comfortable grip in spite of its 4.9 ounces weight.
Unfortunately, the capacitive buttons for the home, menu, back and search are very small. It turned into multiple press when pressing a single button which is very hard to get used to. The buttons are not backlit making it hard to hit them in the dark.
Sony Xperia ion is running Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread again instead of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The homescreen is not much different from Gingerbread, with some custom-made Sony widgets in addition to the standart set. It has neat overview mode for easy viewing and selection with its pinch-to-toggle overview.
Sony also included something called “Liveware manager”. It allows you to launch user-defined apps based on accessory actions like headphones or power cables are connected to the Ion. Sony’s Timescape social app and widget is a social tool with “river of tiles” look that pulls in tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn updates into a vertical stream of social information.
Sony’s Xperia ion has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 720p front-facing camera. The 12-megapixel sensor captures decently in good light. However, there are some noise when captured to low light.
On the other hand, the captured photos’ colors are accurate and vibrant. The camera can be launched directly from the lock screen. There is a setting to turn on tap-to-focus as well as adjust exposure, image stabilization metering, and more.
The Ion can also record 1080p video at 30fps. It tends to take extra moments to get into focus when ready to begin capture. Image stabilization can sometimes be hit or miss.
Performance and Battery:
The Xperia ion is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Most apps are launched instantly and animations played smoothly, without any stuttering. The Xperia ion has surprising battery life. It has 1,900mAh battery which can last through a day with moderate usage. It also has a Power Saver app. You can quickly toggle off radios and data and toggle settings depending on a timer. Unfortunately, the ion’s battery is sealed and non-removable so there’s no opportunity to replace it.
For $99, you can get a lot from Sony Xperia ion. The 12-MP camera, HD display, and and 4G LTE speeds all impressive.
Though it is still Gingerbread underneath (which feels out dated), Sony Xperia ion is a mid-range choice for those who don’t need the greatest OS.