The Sony Xperia miro has the same display size and resolution as the Xperia go – a 3.5″ HVGA LED-backlit LCD unit. WVGA screens would occasionally be available in this price range, but we’re not sure the Xperia miro’s GPU would’ve coped with the higher resolution.
The image quality is nothing to talk about really. Contrast looks fine and colors are quite vibrant but there’s nothing you can do about the low resolution. Fine text is where it fails particularly bad – fonts in widgets and icon labels look bad. With no BRAVIA engine on board, you can’t enjoy the software image enhancement Sony is offering on other phones.
Here go the Xperia miro results from our traditional display tests. You can find more about the testing routines here.
The compact and lightweight Sony Xperia miro is a pleasure to handle. The rubbery finish and the subtle chin at the back provide commendable grip. The handset is well put together and the simple finish looks durable.
The Sony Xperia miro runs Android 4.0 out of box, just like most of the Xperia smartphones we have reviewed recently. The interface is still covered head to toe by the custom skin that Sony used to style Android ever since Gingerbread.
The Sony Xperia miro has the usual five-pane homescreen configuration, without an option to add or remove panes. There are four docked shortcuts (two on either side of the launcher shortcut). These are visible on all five homescreen panes and are user configurable: they can be either single icons or folders with multiple items in them.
Speaking of folders, one of the differences is that they’re now displayed a bit differently – they show thumbnails of the first four items in them. Not a major change, but gives you quick peek of what’s inside.
The homescreen does a neat trick called Overview mode. Pinch to zoom out on any of the 5 homescreen panes and a new screen opens up with a cool transition. All active widgets are displayed in a type of floating cloud, and selecting one takes you to the homescreen where that widget is located.
The Xperia miro has some custom-made Sony widgets in addition to the standard set. Those include the Timescape widget (alongside its dedicated app) and a Mediascape-like widget for photos and videos (the actual app isn’t there anymore, the standard gallery is back).
Adding a widget is done through a special scrollable interface which displays all available widgets. To browse through them, you have to scroll up or down and tap on the one you want, which places it on your currently selected homescreen. To remove it, simply hold and drag the widget to the trashcan icon which appears on the bottom of the screen.
The widget selector can be a little tedious if you’re trying to go to a specific widget, but is a great way to see what you have available to you.
A cool new addition to the lockscreen missing from Xperia phones of old is the music player widget, which lets you control music playback without unlocking the phone. You can also enable Face, Pattern, PIN or Password unlock, in ascending order of security.
The standard notification area is present and accounted for, although for some reason it isn’t accessible from the lockscreen as it usually is on ICS (and on other ICS-running Xperia phones).
The visually customized phonebook of the Xperia miro is virtually the same as on vanilla Android and can store extensive contact information. A tabbed interface allows you to access your contact list, recent calls, and info from social networking services.
The phonebook • The quick contacts can save you a click or two • the available options
The contact list can be sorted by either first or last name. There are two contact search options – a dedicated search field on top of the contact list, and an alphabet scroll to jump to names starting with a specific letter.
Quick contacts are enabled – a tap on the contact’s photo brings up shortcuts for calling, texting or emailing the contact.
You can sync with multiple accounts, including Exchange and Facebook, and you can selectively show or hide contacts from certain accounts (you can fine-sift specific groups from an account), or set the phonebook to display only contacts with phone numbers or only contacts that are online.
Filtering contacts in the phonebook
If a contact has accounts in multiple services, you can “link” their details to keep everything in one place. Their Facebook photos and interests (part of the Facebook integration) will show as extra tabs.
Each contact can have a variety of fields (and repeat fields of the same type), there’s an Add field button and the X button lets you remove fields as needed. The fields cover anything from names (including a field to write the name down phonetically) to addresses, nicknames and notes.
Viewing and editing a contact
There is an option to redirect calls directly to voicemail, and custom ringtones are enabled too.
Capable, but quiet telephony
Receiving and making calls on the Xperia miro was trouble-free. Calls were reasonably loud and clear even in noisy environments.
The phone app features smart dialing which searches for matches in both the contacts’ phones and names. The call log is integrated in the dialer – it shows a list of recently dialed, received and missed calls in the top half of the screen and the keypad on the bottom half. Once you start typing, the call log is replaced by the smart dial list. You can hide the keypad the make more room for the call log.
Smart dialing is available only for numbers
Thanks to the proximity sensor, the Sony Xperia miro automatically disables the touchscreen when you lift it up during a call.
We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Sony Xperia miro, and the results weren’t bad. With xLOUD turned off the phone got a Below Average mark but turning xLOUD on turns it into a whole other beast entirely. If you often miss your calls, we suggest keeping this option on at all times. More info on our loudspeaker test can be found here.
||Pink noise/ Music, dB
||Ringing phone, dB
|Sony Xperia sola
|Sony Xperia miro (no xLOUD)
|Sony Xperia tipo
|Apple iPhone 4S
|HTC Desire C
|Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
|Sony Xperia miro (xLOUD)
|Sony Xperia Go
|Sony Xperia neo L
|Motorola RAZR XT910
The usual messaging integration
Text messages and MMS use a standard threaded layout. Each thread is displayed as an IM chat session, with the most recent message at the bottom. You can manage individual messages (forward, copy, delete) and even lock them against deletion.
Search is enabled to locate a specific message in all conversations and you can also activate delivery reports.
The messaging app
Adding multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.) will convert the message to an MMS.
Composing a message • Attaching an image automatically makes it an MMS
Moving on to email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there’s no unified inbox for other email services.
Gmail app supports batch operations and multiple (Gmail) accounts
However, the generic email app can do that as well. It can handle multiple POP or IMAP accounts and you have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online.
The generic Email client has a combined inbox option
Google Talk handles Instant Messaging. The GTalk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.
As for text input, the Xperia miro offers a customized on-screen full QWERTY keyboard. Typing on the portrait keyboard is not as convenient as on some of the larger screens seen in the Xperia line, but is still fairly comfortable.
Flipping the phone to landscape gives you even bigger, easier to press buttons.
Xperia miro keyboard
You can also try the so-called Gesture input if hitting those keys individually doesn’t give you the desired typing speed. It works the same as Swype, and even if you’ve never used Swype input before, you’ll quickly get used to it.
The Album gallery is here
The Xperia miro comes with the new Sony gallery, called Album, which is now available on most Ice Cream Sandwich Xperia smartphones.
It has a whole new interface where images are arranged into stacks of thumbnails and sorted by date. You can also opt to show all of your albums in one place. There are three tabs above the stacks – Pictures, Map and Online.
Pictures is the main tab – you can use pinch gestures to make the thumbnails bigger or smaller. Map reminds us of the iOS gallery, where all pictures with a Geo-tag are shown on a map of the world.
The Album gallery
The Online tab uses pictures from the connected online services – Google Picasa, Facebook, etc. You have options to tag, like and comment on Facebook photos much like you did with the previous Xperia Gallery.
Geo-tagging in the Album gallery
Images in both galleries can be cropped or rotated. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.
Video player leaves much to be desired
Sony has added a new video player as well. It’s dubbed Movies and it too has a completely redesigned interface. It’s connected to Gracenote, which helps you find additional information about the movies you have preloaded.
Watching a video on the Xperia miro
Codec support is almost non-existent – you can play MP4 and 3GP files. DivX and XviD videos were a no go and so were AVI files.
You can download a video player off the Google Play Store with support for more video codecs but chances of getting a video (one not shot with the phone itself) to play smoothly are pretty slim.
Coming to complete the trio of redesigned Sony apps is the new Walkman music player. It retains all the functionality of the older music players but adds a little bit extra here and there.
It is divided into Playing and My music panels.
In the My music section, you can update your album art and music information like album, year, and more. SensMe is included, meaning you can filter your songs by type – upbeat, energetic, mellow, dance, etc. Creating playlists is enabled and you can also view your Facebook buddies’ activity if they too use the Walkman player.
The Now Playing screen offers the standard music controls, shortcuts to the library, “Infinity” key and the song cover art. The Infinity key lets you quickly look up a song on YouTube or browse for the lyrics, among others.
The Walkman music player
Currently, the only available visualization is the album art.
Finally, the Walkman player offers support for customizable equalizer settings, giving die-hard audiophiles the chance to fiddle around with the individual EQ bands.
While the rest of the music player is the same as what we saw on Sony Ericsson handsets, this one adds music controls to the lockscreen. They replace the clock, which might be annoying if you just want to check the time. Still, the clock slides out of view, so you have about a second to see what time it is (or just look at the small clock in the upper right corner).
Music player controls on the lockscreen and notification area
FM radio with RDS and TrackID
The Sony Xperia miro is equipped with an FM radio, which has a neat and simple interface. It automatically scans the area for the available stations and places “notches” on the frequency dial for easier scrolling to the next station. There’s a Force mono option to use in case of poor reception.
The FM radio app • TrackID
The TrackID service is also available and works within the radio app. You can even like a song on Facebook.
Mediocre audio quality
Unfortunately, the Sony Xperia miro shares its audio-related internals with the Xperia tipo. This means that you’d be getting rather uninspiring output, and pretty low volume levels.
When connected to an active external amplifier the Xperia miro got only average scores, and imperfect frequency response. All this combined with the poor volume adds up to a mediocre overall performance.
The good news is there’s little degradation when headphones come into play. Stereo crosstalk rises only a little, but since it was quite high to begin with, you are only left with an average reading. The distortion levels remain under control and better than many other smartphones we have seen, but the rest of the readings are still only average and the volume levels leave lots to be desired.
And here come the full results so you can see them for yourselves:
||IMD + Noise
|Sony Xperia miro
|Sony Xperia miro (headphones attached)
|Sony Xperia tipo
|Sony Xperia tipo (headphones attached)
|Sony Xperia go
|Sony Xperia go (headphones attached)
|Sony Xperia U
|Sony Xperia sola
|Sony Xperia sola (headphones attached)
|Sony Xperia U (headphones attached)
|Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
|Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160 (headphones attached)
|Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus
|Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus (headphones attached)
Sony Xperia miro frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.
Camera is as plain as it gets
The Xperia miro has a 5 megapixel auto-focus snapper and coupled with a single LED flash. It’s capable of producing stills with a resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels.
The camera interface features two taskbars on either side of the viewfinder. On the left you get four shortcuts to various settings, while the still camera/camcorder toggle, the virtual shutter and a thumbnail of the last photo taken are on the right.
The menu key brings up two pages of extra settings – scenes, resolution, smile detection, geotagging, image stabilization and focus mode among others. You can customize three of the shortcuts on the left (the shooting mode shortcut is fixed).
The new camera interface
There are five capture modes to choose from: Normal, Scene recognition, Sweep Panorama, Sweep Multi Angle and 3D Sweep Panorama. In Normal, you pick the Scene settings manually or you can enable Scene recognition and let the Xperia miro take a guess.
The 3D Sweep Panorama is business as usual – you press the shutter key and pan the phone across the scene. The resulting panoramic photo can be viewed in both 2D and 3D (on a compatible TV).
The Sweep Multi Angle is much more impressive – you take a photo in the exact same way, but the result is very different. It produces something like a lenticular card, providing a different perspective when viewed at an angle.
The Xperia miro has the megapixel count to be considered a decent cameraphone but not the image quality to back that up. Images come out overly contrasty with low levels of detail while colors have a bluish tint. Noise levels aren’t too bad, but to achieve them the miro applies overly aggressive noise reduction, which eradicates a lot of fine detail.
Sony Xperia miro camera samples
Overall, the Xperia miro is a major step back from other 5 MP Xperia smartphones like the sola, U, go, etc.
Image quality comparison
The standard test shots from the Xperia miro are in our Photo Compare Tool database. We’ve aligned it against the Xperia sola and the Desire C but you’re free to pit it against the large number of available devices we’ve tested.
Sony Xperia miro in our Photo Compare Tool
Okay video recording
The Sony Xperia miro captures VGA video at around 25 fps, which is all we can expect out of a single-core processor and a 5MP camera.
The camcorder has the same interface as the still camera and some of the same settings.
Switching to camcorder mode
Videos are recorded in MP4 files with a bitrate of 2 Mbps and stereo AAC sound (133Kbps, 48kHz). The resolved detail isn’t great, as expected from a VGA shooter, but at least the videos are smooth. Sadly, once again, the colors are off more often than not.
The Sony Xperia miro has quad-band 2G and dual-band 3G. Mobile data speeds are boosted by 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA.
Local connectivity is covered by Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct with DLNA, USB on the Go support, and there’s also Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP on hand.
The miro comes with Sony’s Smart Connect manager, which can be set to perform certain actions whenever a accessory is connected, or during certain times of the day. For instance, you can set it to start the music application whenever headphones are plugged in, or set the phone to silent at night.
Smart Connect gives you some cool automation options
One of the biggest advantages that the Sony Xperia miro gets from running Android ICS is the updated web browser. This browser has a streamlined interface, incognito browsing and other cool features.
The browser interface is quite minimalistic; all you get is a URL bar with a tabs shortcut. Hitting the Menu key gives you more options – Refresh, Forward, Save to bookmarks, Share page, Find on page, full settings and a couple of more – Request desktop site (no more hunting for that “Desktop” option buried at the bottom of the site) and Save for offline reading.
The web browser has been redesigned
The full settings menu includes some really interesting options. For example, you can set your search engine to Yahoo or Bing, you can adjust text size and the level of which double tap will zoom in.
The browser borrows several features from its desktop counterpart. For example, when searching for something, if the browser is confident you’ll click on a certain search result, it will start preloading that page right away so that it opens faster if you do click it. You can set this feature to work over Wi-Fi only to preserve data.
The other trick is Incognito mode – there’s no global setting, but you can open individual Incognito tabs.
Speaking of tabs, the tab switching interface looks exactly like in the Recent apps list. You can even close tabs by swiping them off the screen.
Quick controls (available from the Labs settings) reveal five controls (New tab, Tabs, URL, Bookmarks, More) when you slide your finger in from the side. Those really improve the browser experience. Another cool feature from Labs is Full screen, which squeezes out a little more screen real estate by hiding the status bar.
The Quick controls
Flash is not available on the Xperia miro. In order to use it and watch Flash videos you’ll need to side-load the Adobe Flash player from somewhere.
Great organizational tools
The Sony Xperia miro comes with a solid set of organizing options, including a document viewer.
The app in question is the OfficeSuite viewer and it has support for viewing document files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF, including the Office 2007 versions). If you want edit as well as view, the Pro version (a $15/€13 update) can do that.
The OfficeSuite document viewer
Reading documents is reasonably comfortable and panning is blazing fast. There’s built-in file browser and cloud storage integration (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and SugarSync).
Tap on the Manage my files button and you get into the full-blown file browser. It can do all the basic stuff (new folder, copy, delete, etc.), plus batch operations, search for files and ZIP multiple files and folders.
The calendar has three different types of view – daily, weekly and monthly. The lower section of the screen is reserved for a list of upcoming events. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The organizer centerpiece – the calendar
The Calendar also pulls info on upcoming events from your Facebook account. Facebook events appear just like regular calendar entries but you can’t edit them on the phone, they are read-only.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized – the buttons are really big and easy to hit. You can expand advanced functions (trigonometry, logarithms).
Regular Calculator • Scientific Calculator
The alarm clock app supports multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. The Alarms app can also work as a desk clock – you have a big toggle for the brightness, as well as weather info and shortcuts to gallery slideshow and the music player. There’s no world clock, stopwatch or timer though.
The Clock • Creating alarm
Finally, the Sony Power Saver app lets you automate certain power saving functions for your device, such as whether to dim the display or disable certain connectivity features when the battery falls below a certain level.
The Power Saver app
Offline Google Maps and navigation
The Sony Xperia miro comes with a GPS receiver, which took about a minute to get satellite lock upon a cold start. You can use the A-GPS functionality to get near instantaneous locks. Alternatively, network positioning will do if you only need a rough idea of your location.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we’ve covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere.
3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.
Google Maps uses vector maps, which are very data efficient. The latest version has an easy to use interface for caching maps – you just choose “Make available offline from the menu” and pan/zoom around until the desired area is in view (there’s an indicator showing how much storage caching that area will take). You can later view cached areas and delete ones you no longer need.
Note that there’s a limit to the size of the area you can cache – you can’t just make the entire United States available offline, not even a single state. We managed to fit New York and some surrounding area before Maps told us the area is too big. Also, there’s no address search in the cached maps and you can only cache map data in supported regions of the world.
Making an area of the map available for offline usage is very easy
You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.
Google Play meets all your needs
The Sony Xperia miro runs ICS, so it has access to most of the latest apps, but the limited amount of app storage means you’ll need to be careful with large apps or move a lot of the apps to a microSD card.
The Store is organized in a few scrollable tabs – categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. The in-app section is untouched though and it’s very informative – a description, latest changes, number of downloads and comments with rating. There are usually several screenshots of the app in action, and oftentimes a demo video as well.
The Google Play Store
There are all kinds of apps in the Google Play Store and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.), so if you wish you could do something more with your phone, odds are it’s in the app store.
The Sony Xperia miro is made exactly by the book – just not sure whose book it is. It seems all major manufacturers have near identical offers in the Android low-end. And while Sony is only catching up, some makers have had the time to perfect the entry-level smartphone concept.
To be fair to the Xperia miro though, it’s on the spot considering the most recent competitors in this price range, and it looks no worse than most – however subjective that is.
The HTC Desire comes with ICS of course and has the same screen size and resolution. It’s marginally more compact though, which is mostly down to less screen bezel – and no fancy status LED. The processor is the same, only clocked lower at 600 MHz. More importantly though, the two are very well built and equally comfortable to use. The current pricing is slightly in the Desire C’s favor.
HTC Desire C
The LG Optimus L5 is based on the same MSM7225A chipset, but costs a bit less than the Xperia miro and comes with a bigger 4″ display. The bigger screen is not a clear-cut advantage though considering the resolution stays the same. The rest of the specs are identical, from the OS version to the imaging capabilities.
LG Optimus L5 E610
As usual, Samsung aren’t short of options in this class either. The Xperia miro finds itself tightly squeezed between the Galaxy Ace Plus and the Galaxy Mini 2. None of them has ICS though – Samsung promised JB updates, but did not say when.
Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500 • Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500
Entry level smartphones will be enjoying increasing demand and no maker can afford to not do anything about it. Starting strong with the NXT line, it seemed one possible route for Sony was to maintain a small but focused portfolio around the upper midrange. Exactly what HTC were doing at one point. Look at them now – they have generations of entry-level droids and are no stranger to dual SIMs.
So Sony too recognized the need to spread its portfolio wider. Entry-level and low-end smartphones are not exciting stuff but they end up in many pockets through carriers. To people in the know, who are willing to go SIM-free, the Xperia U is an absolute no-brainer, offering a dual-core CPU, a high-res screen and HD videos for the price of an Xperia miro.
Sony Xperia U
That’s not how this game is played though and manufacturers know it. They’re keen to bring new players in and entry-level handsets like the Xperia miro are the invitation. Borrowing and mixing DNA from the Xperia go and the tipo, Sony have filled the price gap between the two – and given potential users more choice. As things look though at this point, the choice in the Android low-end boils down to brands, not specs.
Courtesy: GSM Arena