The Sony Xperia ion is one of the hottest gadgets in the market today, and fortunate am I to own this sexy smartphone. A number of tech blogs have already released their in-depth review, so I’m sharing how I’ve been using this phone for my travels recently. Read more…
First of all, the Sony Xperia ion has an attractive design. Its sleek, sharp corners and its sexy black shell makes it great to carry around wherever. Its recent Red Dot Design Award for Product Design speaks volumes on how this phone really is a stunner.
DISPLAY AND ENTERTAINMENT
This phone keeps me entertained while I’m on the road or up in the air. With its stunning 4.6” 1080p HD display, my Sony Xperia ion can play my movies and TV shows in razor sharp quality, which my older smartphones cannot do because of file size and HD restrictions.
Speaking of its HD display, the phone displays 16 million vibrant colors and is powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine. I’m severely nearsighted, so I’m impressed at how images are way crisper and how words are easily discernible without even having to zoom in.
With its 16GB internal storage that’s expandable with a microSD card, my Sony Xperia ion stores my music collections on the Walkman app and gets me through boring land trips. It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t available yet last summer because I would’ve brought it to the beach for its xLOUD Experience speaker that can play audible, crisp music.
The unit given to me is LTE-enabled, so I cannot wait for Globe Telecom to upgrade soon. In the meantime, however, I’m using the phone with fast 3G speeds from Globe, so I’m able to browse the internet, update social media, and respond to emails whenever and wherever.
Based on experience, I have no problems roaming the phone outside the country. It’s quad-band on GSM, and it supports, as mentioned, 3G and 4G or LTE networks. Switching to a local network on a different country can be a slight challenge though, because this phone uses a micro SIM instead of a conventional one. But no worries, I just use this to roam with one of Globe’s many roaming partners worldwide.
I’d also like to note that this phone, aside from Bluetooth, has near field communications (NFC). I’m quite excited for this technology to flourish, not only in other countries, but also ours because it seems like contactless payments is the future. I can imagine getting into a metro line and paying at a convenience store by just tapping or waving my phone.
For a smartphone to be acceptable for travel, it has to last a long time. Honestly, I’m surprised at how my phone can run on long hours, even with me tinkering with apps, listening to music tirelessly, and sending lots of messages. On regular use, a full charge can last me as much as an entire day, which trust me, is commendable with smartphones.
It’s a given that mobile 3G data can use a substantial amount of battery life, hence I’m prudent on enabling it when I’m traveling. Thankfully, however, I was previously provided with the Sony USB Portable Power Supply, which can energize my Sony Xperia ion up to a full charge when I’m still out. This accessory, by the way, supports other smartphones also, and it is guaranteed to be rechargeable for 500 times.
POWERED BY ANDROID
The Sony Xperia ion runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but according to sources, an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) upgrade is imminent. It’s the first time in my life that I’m owning an Android phone, so I’m surprised how I got comfortable with the interface easily.
With the Android OS comes countless of apps at the Google Play store. Running them is smooth with the Sony Xperia ion’s 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor.
I actually found a lot of free apps that are useful for travel, for instance:
TripIt, which I have been using for a long time already, impressively compiles all reservations and information about a trip, such as airline and hotel bookings. It can even map directions between airports and hotels.
XE Currency allows multiple conversions on one go. It’s very useful when traveling in adjacent countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
Skyscanner is one of my most favorite apps. It can find the cheapest flights between two airports or the cheapest fare to anywhere in the world among different dates even.
Viber saves me money on roaming charges and local airtime. It’s a VoIP app that allows free calls and SMS between Viber users across different operating systems.
These are aside from my usual apps, such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Gmail, and Instagram, and my cure-for-boredom games, Temple Run, Coin Dozer, and Bubble Shoot.
Speaking of Android, I’d like to add that Google Contacts makes my life easier with its sync feature among different operating systems. On the other hand, Google Maps, which utilizes Sony Xperia ion’s assisted GPS, has always helped this lost boy with street maps.
I tend to underestimate my phone cameras for their lackluster performance. The Sony Xperia ion, however, comes with a brilliant 12 MP rear camera with a Sony Exmor R sensor that, in my opinion, matches a point-and-shoot in terms of quality both in daylight and low light settings. Plus, it has an ingenuous 3D Sweep Panorama feature that I use a lot outdoors.
I tried bringing just my phone out to travel, and here are some shots I took:
Those addicted to Instagram will like the camera because the photos come out great:
The Sony Xperia ion is capable of taking 1080p HD videos with the same camera. When we were at Zoobic Safari, I took this video and uploaded it directly from my phone using Globe Telecom’s fast and reliable 3G mobile data. (Be sure to stream the video on 1080p HD.)
Verdict: In all, the Sony Xperia ion, I must say, is an outstanding phone for travel, especially with the features I noted above. Its camera, impressive as it is, can actually be a substitute for a point-and-shoot, so I might actually bring just my phone when I’m too lazy to carry a DSLR. This smartphone is indeed my new travel buddy; I can’t wait to bring it to more of my trips.
The Sony Xperia ion is now available in Sony Concept Stores here in the Philippines. For more details, check out Sony Mobile Philippines on Facebook or their website. Full specifications for this phone can be found on this link.