A few months after Verizon introduced their version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, AT&T has it for a bargain $50 with contract. The Xperia Play 4G is a very nice phone for the price, and certainly an intriguing one if you're a hardcore gamer thanks to its Playstation certification and slide-out Playstation controller. This is an Android smartphone that runs OS 2.3 Gingerbread with light Sony Ericsson UI customizations. It's also nearly identical to the Verizon version except for color (deep blue vs. black), GSM rather than CDMA and carrier software bundle. The Xperia Play 4G has an advantage vs. the Verizon version: it has 4G HSPA+, which is markedly faster than 3G EV-DO Rev. A on Verizon. If you use the Internet a lot on your phone, the AT&T version is a better choice, assuming you have equal coverage from both carriers.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 4G runs on a 1GHz single core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 205 graphics, and that's a little disappointing for a serious gaming phone. As with gaming PCs, hardcore gamers want the best CPUs and graphics in the business, and today's more powerful phones run on 1GHz or better dual core CPUs. That said, the Xperia Play 4G plays games very well, and we can't say that in use we wished for a better CPU.
Phone call quality is very good, and reception is also solid. Data speeds were likewise good, and the phone averaged 4.5Mbps down and 1Mbps up using Ookla's Speedtest.net app. The speakerphone is superb, as is in-game audio and multimedia.
Deals and Shopping:
The game controller makes gaming, especially 3D games like first person shooters and even platformers a dream. Touch screens just can't compete with good hardware controls, and Sony Ericsson did a great job of replicating the Playstation controller, right now to L1 and R1 shoulder buttons. Those shoulder buttons are a little hard to reach and operate cleaning, but the rest are perfect. Speaking of buttons, the 4 Android buttons on the front face (used for phone operations, not gaming), aren't the best. They're still mechanical buttons that are too thin and close to the edge, making one-handed operation difficult.
We've just touched on the key points and differences from the Verizon version here. For more info on the Xperia Play, do check out our original review of the Verizon Xperia Play.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 4G Video Review
If you're looking for a gaming phone with a good selection of 3D titles and a real game controller built-in, the Playstation phone has obvious appeal. At $50, if you're not a dedicated gamer but you want a high quality Android smartphone with the latest OS, a sharp 4" display, a good 5MP camera, a 1GHz CPU and 4G HSPA+, it's hard to beat the Xperia Play, as long as you don't mind the thick body.