Cape Town - The Sony Xperia P might be smaller than the premium devices from Samsung, HTC and Motorola, but it's no lightweight.
The Sony smartphone sports a 1GHz dual core processor which makes the Android experience smooth and there are no lags in the display, even when one has gone a bit berserk on the Google Play Store, downloading apps.
The main selling point of the phone is its 8 megapixel camera, pushing it to the top of the pile in the market. It produces high definition images and video, even though low light shots do grain significantly. The secondary camera is 1.3 megapixel, making even those look-at-me photos decent quality.
There is LED flash for those taken-in-the-pub shots and light for video.
The display is healthy at just 10cm, and holding the device has a more comfortable feel for smaller hands than the massive Samsung Galaxy SIII or Motorola Razr. Scratch resistant glass covers the display, which gives some peace of mind as to worrying about replacing it after a mishap.
The Sony Xperia P runs the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system which is disappointing, but it is upgradable to 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and the device has 32GB of storage and 1GB of RAM.
Worryingly though, NTT DoCoMo of Japan announced on Tuesday that the mobile operator was halting the Ice Cream Sandwich update for Xperia devices.
One of the distinctive features is the transparent Home, Menu and Back buttons located at the bottom of the phone. Overall, the build quality is excellent and the metal body gives an elegant feel to the flagship from Sony Mobile. It weighs in at 140g.
There is also the "quick launch" camera function. Even when the device is asleep, a long press on the recessed camera button launch the camera.
The device also supports NFC (Near Field Communications) but supporting infrastructure is key for the roll-out of this technology that allows payment from mobile phones.
The Xperia P is part of the NXT range from Sony and sports what the company calls its "four screen interface" allowing content consumption on phone, laptop, TV and tablet.
Loading content onto the device is easy because of the universal USB cable, but there is no micro-SD card slot to expand memory.
The battery performance was acceptable and the device was easily able to run for more than two days on one charge with average use. Sony has also eased the uninstall functionality of the device with two clicks to remove apps.
Sony is fighting for a bigger Android market share and the Xperia P delivers a crisp user experience and, while no-one could say the phone is cheap, it's cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X.
Overall, the handset is elegantly designed with a slightly edgy feel making it more suitable for formal or business environs. Attention to detail at higher end features will make the Xperia appealing.
The Xperia is equipped with a camera which is easy to use and takes crisp, high definition photos. The external 'snap' button delivers an authentic camera touch.
Optimal design around the Android platform ensures seamless exploration of menus and app features, with full touch screen.
The onboard technology places the user at the cusp of the future...
Think virtual credit card as well as the ability to store information for access to buildings and transportation tickets.
Overall, the Xperia is surrounded by an aura of seriousness and an ability to deliver on its hi-tech, solid image.