The Water-Proof Hero: Sony Ericsson Xperia Active Review

Sony Ericsson has been consistent in delivering handsets that have a unique oomph to them. The Xperia Active, specially made for the ones who are active all day long, is a very good example.  Water-proof, dust-proof, sturdy, and sporty looks, the Xperia Active gets a thumbs up from me.

So let’s see what this handset has to offer.


  • Qualcomm MSM8250 Snapdragon 1 GHz CPU; Adreno 205 GPU
  • 3.0 inch capacitive display @ 320×480 pixels
  • Sony Mobile Bravia Engine
  • 1 GB (320 MB user available) memory, 512 MB RAM
  • HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP
  • 5MP autofocus camera w/ LED flash and Photolight
  • 720p@30fps HD video recording
  • Dust and water resistant
  • Wet-finger tracking
  • GPS w/ aGPS support, digital compass
  • Li-Po 1200mAh battery
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 110.8 g


The boxed contents are a surprise. You get some extra stuff rather than the usual bundled accessories, which include:

  • In-ear style earphones
  • 2 pair of hooks for your ear-phones
  • Extra White back cover
  • USB data cable
  • Charger
  • Arm-band carry case
  • Rubber lanyard


The Xperia Active is almost same as the size of Xperia Mini and the Mini Pro, with a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display with 320×480 resolution and Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA engine. The display has a brushed metal surrounding it and there are 3 touch-sensitive Android buttons just below the display, so yeah no physical keys unlike other Sony Ericsson Android devices. The back is a removable rubber/plasticy cover and you get two back covers for your moods (white and black). The cover curves up to the sides and also protects the ports below.  Also there is a 5MP camera with a single LED flash, which clicks decent pictures and is capable of making videos at 720p, and a small gap for the speaker.

The right side boasts the volume rocker keys and the camera key all bright in a florescent orange colour lining which highlights the handset’s sporty looks. The power/lock key is on the left side with the same orange goodness. Below are the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack covered by same rubber/plastic back cover which keeps water and dust away.

When you remove the back cover, you find a secondary cover. This cover keeps water from entering the insides of the handset in case you don’t like leaving your handset when you go for swim. Under the secondary cover is the 1200mAh battery, the SIM card slot and the microSD card slot.

The small size of the device is perfect if you are going to be jogging or running as it easily fits in your pocket. And in case it’s too bulky for your training shorts, you can always use the arm band provided with the handset which even lets you control the touch-screen through it.


The handset runs on Android Gingerbread, version 2.3.4 to be precise. Like all the Xperia devices it has the same UI with very nice icons and 5 homescreens. However, the active having a very small 3 inch display, you cannot add a lot of widgets and shortcuts. So Sony Ericsson has added shortcuts on each corner of the screen which can carry four of your shortcuts and are available on every homescreen. It’s pretty handy as you can easily get to your favourite apps easily without having to change the homescreens. And of course, Timescape is also present amalgamating all your Social Media, phone calls and text messages all in a nice flipping layout.

Other than the shortcut corners the UI is the same as the Arc and Play as we reviewed earlier. There is a very cool fitness app included for all active users of the Xperia Active which you can use to record and plan your daily workout and fitness regimes. I am not fitness freak so yeah; I didn’t get to use it much.


The handset is truly water-proof. We soaked the smartphone, immersed it in a bucket of water and even gave it a nice shower. The Xperia Active stood up to all of it and is still running like a charm.

Check out the two videos below of the water tests that we did:


The Xperia Active is quite capable of providing rich multimedia features. The Music player is a delight with a nice layout that changes colour according to the album art of the song that you play. The audio output is also great and very crisp with various equalizer settings that you can play around with. Music lovers can also enjoy FM Radio with the TrackID app that can identify the song playing on your radio station.

The Video player is the usual Android native player capable of MP4 and a few other video formats. It even supports HD video playback. The camera has a 5MP sensor backed up with a single LED flash and clicks pretty good pictures. Low conditions are not met well with. Video capabilities are good as it can record videos at 720p with good and clear audio recording.


The little smartphone is full of surprises and in my opinion is a perfect device for people who just can’t live without working up a sweat. Being water-proof and dust-proof, you don’t have to worry about the conditions where you have to use your handset as it can take them all. The bundled accessories are a delight and are actually very useful.

The over-all look isn’t that bad either; however I don’t see the handset in the hands of an everyday user. An athlete, maybe yes, but someone like me will definitely won’t be getting a device like this. I hope Sony Ericsson targets the more ‘Active’ consumers as this might be a hit among athletes, fitness freaks, and sports persons.