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  • SilthDraeth - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I wonder why they chose a Dpad for directional control vs a flat analog slider pad reminiscent of the Nintendo 3ds?

    I would have thought the analog slider pad would have better mimicked the capacitive touch circle control. In fact I probably would play some more N.O.V.A 2 if my Samsung epic had a analog slider pad.

    I wonder, if maybe they didn't do it, because at the time the phone was designed and released, the 3DS hadn't came out, and no one had thought of it yet...
    Reply
  • LordOfTheBoired - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Interesting theory, but there's a problem with it... the PSP had a flat analog slider long before the 3DS did.
    It's also an input that is largely reviled by the fans, and not without justification.

    Though the fans think the problem is that it isn't a "real stick"(actually, two of them) rising high above the face of the device like a home gamepad(specifically, like the DualShock series of gamepads), and to hell with pocketability. See also: the upcoming PS Vita.

    Personally, I think it was just a poorly-considered implementation of a good device.
    The fault as I see it is that it's topped with a convex thumb-piece and the centering springs are fairly high-tension. Though the awkward location doesn't help matters either(I'm pretty sure the slider was shoehorned in late in the system's development and it was intended to be digital-only).

    I'm rather disappointed to know the capacitive disks don't work, as I thought they were a good idea. Especially as it avoided the preference for cardinal directions in dual-spring potentiometer designs(a very strong preference in the case of the PSP's high-tension slider).
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Good idea, terrible implementation. While I'm not a PSP owner,and have only played with them a bit, my experience was that the problems were:

    1) Horribly positioned. My hand cramped up using the analog nub on the PSP while simultaneously holding the PSP with that hand

    2) Concave form factor made it harder to grip

    3) Rough texture was uncomfortable

    4) Spring put up too much resistance

    5) Too small and not enough range of motion

    The 3DS circle pad attempts to address all of these complaints, and while it isn't quite perfect, it's a good enough implementation that it can compete with "real" analog sticks rather nicely. Of course, by giving it good positioning, it makes the 3DS' d-pad uncomfortable to use, but you can't have it both ways. Anyhow, a circle-pad would certainly fit on something like the xperia play. In fact, I wish that the circle-pad was on more devices, but unfortunately Nintendo's patents will prevent that. Hopefully Sony can come up with their own similar slider pad that, if not identical to the circle pad, at least makes the same corrections.
    Reply
  • MacTheSpoon - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    This first gen phone is underwhelming, but I hope they stick with the concept and iron out the problems. The underlying concept of a smartphone with physical game controls seems spot-on. I'd love to play console-type games on my phone using physical controls instead of multitouch. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    The first gen phone is underwhelming and ever single phone after that will follow similarly.

    Why? The Vita. I can't understand why Sony thought it was a good idea to split the Vita and Xperia Play. If you want to compete with iOS gaming, you can't do it with two distinct devices. Sony needs a unified gaming device. They are welcome to sell a wifi version (a la iPod Touch), but their flagship needs to be a phone.
    Reply
  • seamonkey79 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    ^ This Reply
  • Exodite - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Because Sony isn't the same company as Sony Ericsson?

    It's not even a subsidiary, indeed SE is made up from far more of the old Ericsson phone division than it is Sony.

    This isn't in any way, shape of form a 'Sony' phone - Sony doesn't do phones.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Then Sony should do phones. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Not outside Japan, anyway. Reply
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Sony Ericsson is 50% owned by Sony and 50% owned by Ericsson. They make Walkman-branded phones, Cyber-shot branded phones, BRAVIA-branded phones... Sony and Ericsson could clearly have come to an agreement if Sony had wanted to do this all in one device.

    After all, the XPeria Play and Vita are similar architecturally. They both use ARM SoCs (a departure for Sony in a game console), although the XPeria Play is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon with an Adreno GPU while the Vita is using a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 with a PowerVR SGX534MP4.

    In actual fact, the hardware in the Vita is identical to the iPad 2 except doubled (same CPU/GPU, just double the cores each).
    Reply
  • RoninX - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    Maybe they should just release a 3G/4G version of the Vita that makes calls.

    Then you would get by far the best portable gaming experience without having to carry two devices.
    Reply
  • SimKill - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    But then battery life would go to the dogs. Reply
  • etobare - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    There you make it sound as if xperia play didn't have access to android non-xperia play optimized games... i concur with much of the review but that may lead to confusion Reply
  • Mike1111 - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    A gaming smartphone with fewer, more expensive and worse looking games compared to iOS devices? Why even bother. It's a niche market at best. To have a chance in the mainstream market the successor must have PS Vita-like hardware, graphics and kick-ass games. And should Apple ever decide to make an adequate Bluetooth profile available for (analog) gamepads then the dedicated gaming smartphone market is dead anyway. Reply
  • lowlymarine - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I just finished a run of BrowserMark on my Captivate (AT&T Galaxy S) and got a score of over 71,000. Admittedly I'm running at a fairly modest overclock of 1.2 GHz, but unless each one of those 200 MHz are imbued with pure magic, there's no way the likes of the Droid 3 and the Atrix should be doing worse. Similar with Sunspider - my 3193ms result (yes, on 0.9) beats out even the fastest device you've tested. I'm not using Firefox Mobile or something either; this is all with the stock AOSP browser.

    I'm just curious as to why there's the massive discrepancy in browser performance. My Linpack scores are, while still nearly 3 times what you've got for the SGS (largely attributable to the difference between Gingerbread and Eclair, I'm sure), no where near those of the dual-core powerhouses. I know the second core won't really help them on Sunspider et al., but certainly it shouldn't be hurting them?
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Are you using other/newer kernels and roms? They usually add nice boosts to those benchmarks by either having better drivers, better optimizations or just fewer active programs. :-) Reply
  • Vepsa - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    I considered getting a Xperia Play, but I decided against since I kinda like having more than 512MB of RAM on my phone. The bulk doesn't bother me and nor does the SoC since I have the same one in my Droid Incredible 2. If the phone had had 1GB of RAM & 2GB+ of app storage I would have probably gotten it. The only thing that will get more games made for them is if more are sold since its an open API. Reply
  • StormyParis - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Did someone just receive a new digital camera ? Is there an epidemic of photographic logorrhea I'm not aware of ? Are Ars writers paid a lot more for each picture ? Or is it about the page views ?

    One could easily cut half the pictures in the article (first page), redo some (you can put 3 phones in a single picture for comparison, yessir....).

    This article is giving me a feeling akin to PCmag's infamous "slideshows"
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Fixed :)

    We have no internal mandates for picture or page count, sometimes it's easier just to string a bunch of images together rather than toss them in a gallery but I've done the latter here at your request :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Thanks. Am I the only one bothered when there are so many pics in an article ? because, frankly, the numerous screenshots and charts on the following pages also bother me. With Anandtech's already narrow, heavily paginated format, there's lots of scrolling involved already... I find more than 1 pic/page a pain, except when the pics are *really* needed... which they are not, for example, to report a *one-number* test result. It gets even worse when reading the article on my phone or tablet.

    Personally, I simply jumped to the conclusion after a few pages. I find the galleries you put in the first coupl of pages the best trade off: really motivated readers can see all the pictures, the rest of us can read the article without kilometers of scrolling. <ripoff source="Arrested Development ">It's a nice way to satisfy the "buy" crowd and the "curious" crowd, and we're all buy/curious </ripoff>
    Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    One of my duty as an Engineer is to write for others be it technical people or non technical; I write a lot to be honest. But I do spend quite a bit of time choosing and modifying any graphics (charts included) to ensure they are essential in any document. Randomly using graphics is generally not a very good idea. The only reason I know of is to cater to people who love to have tons of graphic and who love to stare at them all day long. Thankfully, I don't care much about these type of people until they pay me or the company to do so, I guess :) hahaha

    I'll take an Anandtech review over any Dailytech "news" article. Now, those are just poorly written, especially by Jason Mick who seem to think the audience is a bunch of kids and resort to the numbering type news reporting.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, August 08, 2011 - link

    Let's try this again :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • vshah - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Are you confusing the two? you mention it has 512mb of RAM, and that when that drops, the phone complains about free space being low. I think you meant ROM, as android will almost never complain about RAM, it will just kill stuff in the background to free up more. Reply
  • vshah - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    also, the large game installs would go to the 1 gig of flash storage, not the 512mb of RAM Reply
  • bdipert - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Great point, vshah, I did indeed intermingle RAM and ROM (aka local flash memory storage) observations. I'll go update the writeup now. Thank you! Reply
  • snajk - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I'll probably get one of these, not for the branded games but for using emulators. My current android works ok at this, but the controls are a pain to use even though I have a phone with a "D-pad". Why settle for a few old ps1 titles when you have all the old nes/snes/genesis/neogeo/mame games to choose from? Reply
  • eallan - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    My main device is a GS2, but i also have one of these.

    They are absolutely perfect for emulation.

    So many super nintendo games, genesis games, even PSX games and N64. I'm pretty sure thats the best use of this phone.

    The dpad and buttons are truly excellent.
    Reply
  • BaCh - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Dear Mr. Anand, you should have spared a few words for its exceptional audio quality, as testified by both Gsmarena and Phonearena. Reply
  • PC_Jones - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    The main reason for me getting a Play was so I wouldn't have to tote around a Wiimote if I ever wanted to play any SNES games on my phone with any accuracy. I'm surprised that the use of emulators wasn't discussed more in this article. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    I'm a retrogamer by heart. The problem with emulation is that most people don't own the games/roms they are using. I'm sorry, this is just the sad case. Retrogamers like myself, and even more hardcore, have games that we do own and setups to be able to play them with nostalgia.

    And while I would love to see a discussion about emulation on any platform it quickly becomes more of a "pirated" scene than anything. I collect classic games, it's sad for me to see people pirating them because they can.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    "Yes, the silver trim is plastic, not metal, ... and minimized the potential for interference-induced antenna sensitivity degradation"

    Do we know that this is ACTUALLY true? Or is this high school EM applied completely inappropriately?

    Obviously it is true that have metal parts in a phone affects the antenna. It's just as true that
    - most phones (from a whole range of manufacturers) ship with large chunks of metal in them
    - Apple's portables (those with which I am most familiar) went through a phase some years ago where the plastic MacBooks had better reception than the metal MacBook pros, but that hasn't been the case for a while. And the limited knowledge I have of Win portables (or various tablets) doesn't have people all stating unanimously "buy xxx [with a plastic cover] because its radio reception is so much better than yyy [covered with magnesium or titanium or aluminum or whatever]".

    I don't have a strong opinion about this either way, but it seems to me, based on behavior across a range of manufacturers that the true state of affairs is
    - if you're an amateur then using plastic is probably best because you can just ignore it BUT
    - if you're a professional (and pretty much every company of interest IS now professional] you just model the entire environment (metals plus dielectrics) as finite elements. optimize the antenna for that environment, and things works out as well as they realistically can.

    [And, OMG, please, if you're a commenter who feels the need to pipe up about "antenna-gate" and "grips of death", ask yourself before you comment:
    - does my comment add anything useful to the question that has been posed? AND
    - does my comment make me look like a retarded 14yr old with poor impulse control?]
    Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    I worked in EM field, and what you state is utter nonsense.
    You can repeat "I'm a professional, very professional, superprofessional" all day long, with "it's magical, it's very very magical" on top of it, but it still won't help you to get EM waves through the metal.
    Reply
  • Surrept - Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - link

    Is this the Brian Klug that was once bitten by a fox. It only makes sense he is on the staff here. Smartest person i've ever met in the field of computers. Reply

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