The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a gaming focused Android smartphone launching next week in Australia on Optus and Telstra. Distinguishing it from other Android devices are its 'PlayStation certified' certified status and dedicated gaming controls, including two touch-sensitive 'joysticks', a directional pad and four buttons modelled on the triangle, square, circle and cross of a PlayStation 3 controller. There are also two shoulder buttons
The controls slide out from under the screen, and they make the handset lky compared to a lot of recent smartphones.
The phone's display is largely unremarkable. It's a 4in LED-backlit LCD that has a respectable resolution of 480x854, but it lacks the vibrancy of competing displays like Apple's IPS "retina" screen on the iPhone 4.
The test games we played on the Xperia Play were smooth and fast. A small issue is the fact that PS One games are displayed in a 4:3 ratio, meaning they don't fill the Xperia Play's widescreen display.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play's 1GHz processor with Adreno 205 GPU, along with 512MB of RAM seem somewhat low specifications for a dedicated gaming phone given smartphones like the LG Optimus 2X and Samsung's Galaxy S II sport dual-core processors.
The phone runs the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and includes some Sony Ericsson software such as Timescape, which offers access to social networking and SMS messages and missed calls through one interface.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play has six games preinstalled: Star Battalion, FIFA 10, Madden NFL 11, Sims 3, Bruce Lee and Crash Bandicoot.
Star rating: 3.75/5