Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Every year is a chance to
Reboot...
Restart...
Update...
and
Upgrade yourself!!!

May you all have a wonderful new year ahead!


Happy 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Little Friday Tech Humor : Siri in the Philippines

I'm sure there are countless issues with Siri's accent recognition... specially if you're from other countries... here in the Philippines, we have our own version.

Introducing, Vangie!



Merry Christmas!
Maligayang Pasko!
Joyeux Noël!
Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Typhoon Sendong : PH ALERT


The recent typhoon "Sendong" in the southern Philippines left hundreds dead and even more homeless.  The Philippine Red Cross is accepting donations to help all the victims and rebuild the city.


For those who want to help and donate, click on the link to go to the PRC site.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

You Can't Have Enough Cloud Storage!

Good news to all Sony Ericsson Xperia users... Sony Ericsson has teamed up with Box to offer all Xperia users 50GB of free cloud storage!  This is a limited offer and Xperia users must sign up before the end of the year to avail of their free space.

Simply download the Box Android app and sign up for a new account from a Sony Ericsson Xperia device.  Although you get 50GB free,  you do not get the advanced features of the paid service.  (It's the 5GB free service + 45GB more space)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Meteor Shower...

Gonna try to catch the Geminids meteor shower in a few minutes... Hoping the clouds clear up...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rainy Friday Traffic App... WAZE


Last time, I wrote about the MMDA's new traffic app.  Comes in quite handy for a general view of traffic in the metro.  But sometimes, green/yellow/red doesn't really give you a full picture.  How slow/fast is traffic actually moving?

For those with data connections on their Android or iPhone, we like tweeting or updating our statuses on our current traffic condition.  It somehow saves our sanity.  But what if there was an app that could that automatically... while helping contribute to the traffic data?

Enter WAZE.  A social-networking app specifically for traffic.  Sign up for a free account and get moving!

The app shows actual Waze users that are on the road, and gives their over-all traffic speed on any given road.  No road for where you are? No problem, it can record your route and now will show your new road on the map! Accident? Flood? Wanna share a traffic mishap with everyone else? It allows that too.

It needs a data connection and GPS to accurately map your location and report traffic conditions in your area, you can specify the radius around you (the smaller the radius the faster the updates) and this is done in real-time. The more people are on it, the more accurate the traffic reporting will be! Try it out!






**This post has been brought to you by Smart LTE**
**No LTE signal here in the Fort, HSPA only**

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life in the Fast (LTE) Lane! (Smart Philippines LTE Beta)


For the next two months, this blog will be powered by Smart's new LTE service!  Boasting 40++mbps speeds... let's see what this can little thing can do!!!  Stay tuned for full speed stats in and around the Metro!



Thanks to Smart for making me part of their Beta-test preview of their service!











For those looking for a speed boost NOW, Smart's Rocket Wifi at 20++mbps is available now at all Smart Centers!









This post has been brought to you by Smart LTE!







I feel like I'm in Japan again!
*just a note, this was a WIRED LAN connection*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

4S: Sign-up, Siri, Speed, Santa (iPhone 4S in the Philippines)

Just in time for Christmas!  Don't you just LOVE corporate timing?  Yes, within hours of each other, both Smart and Globe have announced release dates for the iPhone 4S in the Philippines... and the magic date is...

DEC 16, 2011



Sign up now using the links above!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TRAFFIC!!!! -There's now an app for that!-

For most Filipinos, traffic is a way of life. The average Pinoy commute is about 15-20km (or about 10-15 miles) this easily translates to a 45 min commute by car (yes, 45 min) Now, radio traffic reports are pretty useless, telling you that's it's traffic when you're already STUCK IN TRAFFIC.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a system similar to the ones abroad that show the traffic status before we leave the house or office?  Well, the MMDA is slowly rolling out a very competent online traffic status system.

Still in public beta, it has saved me at least 8 hours a week by giving me information on whether to leave now, wait it out, or take an alternate route.

The system is pretty convenient... the traffic info for 9 of the major roads in Metro Manila are now online via:


The apps are very nice to have if you have mobile internet, the website gives further details on any accidents and road work being done, and the Twitter account provides alternate route suggestions.

Great work to the MMDA for this app!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MORE ICE CREAM NEWS!!!!!!! (Sony Ericsson Android 4.0 Confirmation)

The following 2011 Sony Ericsson models have been confirmed for Android's new Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) update.

  • Xperia active
  • Xperia arc
  • Xperia arc S
  • Xperia mini
  • Xperia mini pro
  • Xperia neo
  • Xperia neo V
  • Xperia Play
  • Xperia pro
  • Xperia ray
  • Live with Walkman
Considering that the source code was just released Nov 14, let's hope they won't take too long from the time of announcement til actual release date!  So far, with how quick they've been releasing updates... this looks promising!  Only time will tell.

These are some of the new features users can expect to get from Android 4.0


  • Virtual buttons in the UI, in place of capacitive or physical buttons
  • Separation of widgets in a new tab, listed in a similar list to apps
  • Easier-to-create folders, with a drag-and-drop style
  • A customizable launcher
  • Improved visual voicemail with the ability to speed up or slow down voicemail messages
  • Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar
  • Offline search, a two-line preview, and new action bar at the bottom of the Gmail app
  • Ability to swipe left or right to switch between Gmail conversations
  • Integrated screenshot capture
  • Improved error correction on the keyboard
  • Ability to access apps directly from lock screen
  • Improved copy and paste functionality
  • Better voice integration and continuous, real-time speech to text dictation
  • Face Unlock, a feature that allows users to unlock handsets using facial recognition software
  • New tabbed web browser, allowing up to 16 tabs
  • Automatic syncing of browser with users' Chrome bookmarks
  • Modern Roboto font
  • Data Usage section in settings that lets users set warnings when they approach a certain usage limit, and disable data when the limit is exceeded
  • Ability to shut down apps that are using data in the background
  • Improved camera app with zero shutter lag, time lapse settings, panorama mode, and the ability to zoom while recording
  • Built-in photo editor
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • Refreshed 'People' app with social network integration, status updates and hi-res images
  • Hardware acceleration of the UI
  • Resizeable widgets
  • Wi-Fi Direct

Monday, November 14, 2011

App of the Day : Online Banking (BPI - Philippines)

BPI (Bank of the Philippines Islands) has just released their mobile app for both iOS and Android.  It's a very sleek app with all the online banking functions built in.  Although you could just go to your mobile browser to log in and do your banking, zooming in and scrolling around the full page isn't fun, or fast.

The app installation isn't quite clear though... 

The proper procedure is:

1) Log into BPI Online using your login name and password

2) Go to Other Services > Express Mobile Registration > Mobile Banking

3) Enter you mobile number and click Submit (no need to enter the ATM number)


4) You will receive an SMS with a secure link and verification code to activate your account and download the app (If you already installed the app from the App Store or Marketplace, skip the next step)


5) Click the link and download/install the app.

6) Launch the app and enter the verification code you received via SMS

7) Login using your online name and password.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

iOS Virus

Hacker Charlie Miller has exposed a security flaw in Apple's App Store.  The flaw allows a LEGIT app to secretly download an unsigned, app without the knowledge of the user, or Apple through a backdoor entrance.

Remember, this is a signed, listed, inspected and fully authorized app from the App Store.  The malicious code was not detected by Apple, and the only reason the app was pulled and his dev account cancelled was because he himself announced the presence of his virus in the app that he wrote.

This not only reveals a huge potential security flaw in iOS, but in Apple's App Store model as well.  Any official app could potentially be a trojan horse carrying with it, full remote access to your iPhone/iPod Touch and its contents.

Currently, there is no way of protecting yourself from this type of threat... nor is there any way for the end user to know if any of their apps were actually made with this type of virus built in.

Although technical, this video is a proof of concept showing how he gains remote access into an iPhone that has downloaded the app.

Friday, November 4, 2011

大阪からのご挨拶!


I'm on holiday for a few days here in Osaka, Japan.
Gonna check out all the gadgets here...
so far, no BLACK Xperia ray in the shops...
but there are a whole lot of people with Xperia Arcos...
COOL!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thank You! Salamat! Merci Beaucoup! Vielen Dank!


I was very happy when my blog reached it's first 1000 pageviews per month.

I was very happy when it reached it's first 1000 visitors per month.

I'm now happy again to see that number almost double in all aspects since last month! :)

To the 700 new visitors to my blog, and the 200 new regulars...

Salamat!
Thank you!
Merci beaucoup!
Vielen Dank!
बहुत धन्यवाद!
Stort Tack!
Hartelijk dank!

Friday, October 28, 2011

There's Still Time!!!

To grab this month's copy of C! Magazine!

For my fellow Philippine readers... My 4th article for C! Magazine, head out and get your copy now so you have something to read over the long weekend!  Be safe everyone!

Long weekend here in the Philippines, 29 Oct until 1 Nov... 
yes, that's how we roll...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple Virus Warning!!!!

It's a very wide spread misconception that Macs are immune to viruses (or virii if you're 1337). This is NOT (nor has it ever been) true. There are far fewer viruses that can infect Mac, yes... but they are still out there. The main issue is that the complacency of the end users make them the easier target.

The bigger immediate threat at the moment is a new backdoor trojan that has been detected out in the wild. Named Tsunami, it allows a cracker remote access to your Mac and make it do horrible things (Such as download porn!)

Sophos, one of the leading Apple Anti-virus software providers has detected it and has issued an update for their anti-virus software package. For Mac users that haven't downloaded an anti-virus yet for their Macs, you can get Sophos' free home version here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where Do You Want To Go Today?

Google Maps will help you find the way!

This isn't new to those in the US, but here in the Philippines, GPS Navigation has been restricted to just map and coordinate data.  Google has just recently deployed their Map Directions feature (not yet Google Navigation, but that's coming real soon now that Directions is active) Simply head on over to Google Maps and search for your destination.



Select the appropriate location on map, and click [Direction]







By default, Google Maps will show directions from your current location but you can drag this icon to any starting point and the route recalculates.






The turning points may be dragged to suit your preferred route as well. You may also select an alternate route from a list.



Driving directions will be displayed on the left pane, while the map will show the routes and turning points.





This also works on Android phones!
(BTW, for those geeky enough to know, yes, my title was a Microsoft slogan)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Little Friday Tech Humor

Persistence is key...


My apologies if you don't get the Mario Bro reference... but this is funny!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things To Come : Upcoming Android Phones

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

See? If pressed (and sued), mobile phone design teams don't have to be lazy and can design great looking phones that DO NOT look like the iPhone. That's always been one of the main reasons I like Ericsson / Sony Ericsson, they haven't done an iPhone clone yet.

Samsung and Motorola have announced their new flagship phones.  The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Motorola Droid Razr.  Both phones carry impressive specs.

Motorola Droid Razr

The Motorola boasts being only 7.1mm thick (with a lump measuring about 10.5 mm at the top, near the camera) while Samsung's measures 8.9 mm,  sporting a first-of-its-kind curved screen.

While both phones have 4.3" AMOLED screens, the Galaxy Nexus has an incredible 1280 x 720 resolution making it a true HD phone and one of the few in the 300+ ppi range.  The Droid Razr is no slouch though, sporting a 960 x 540 resolution putting it above most current Android phones which have 854 x 480 displays.

Both will be sporting 1.2 GHz dual-core CPUs as well.  But the biggest advantage of Samsung is that it will be using Google's latest Android version, Ice Cream Sandwich.  Although I'm pretty sure Motorola will be getting the update shortly after since they are owned by Google now.

The next few months leading up to the Holiday season are gonna be very exciting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Android Tip Of The Day: Facebook


Facebook has recently updated their iOS app. It works a lot better and has a much sleeker interface. Android users however, are still stuck with the old version. And no word on when the Android version will be updated. Perhaps they're waiting for Android 4.0 to be released before issuing a major update.

Either way, there's a quicker way to enjoy the new layout of Facebook on your Android device.

Simply point your Android browser to


And log in!

It's not quite as polished as the new iOS app since it's browser based...but it does retain the new look and features. Up until the Android app is updated, I now use this version all the time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray - Accidental Camera Tip

Ok, my movie playback review is long over due (that's still coming up)... but I've been playing with the camera of the ray in more situations and this may interest some readers.

I've found that when a bright light source is hitting the ray from the side (effect is more pronounced if the light source is coming from the left - where the lens is closer to the edge) there's very slight ghosting visible in the photo.  You can simply change the angle you shoot at, cup your hand over the lens, or make a very small/short lens hood.  The X10 Mini Pro didn't have this problem as the lens was recessed further into the body.

I made a crude one out of electrical tape, just to see if it would work.  The cleanest way I've found is to get a cone shape slope as close to the lens as possible (reverse of a regular lens hood) to minimize the visual change in the phone.

Slight ghosting visible on the upper left

With the lens hood, slight improvement

My initial idea was to blacken out the silver ring

Electrical tape

Cut a hole slightly smaller then the silver ring

Tweezers make the job a lot easier

The tape slopes and floats a little above the lens


Extending the lens hood to about 1-2mm improves the effect, I'm guessing a small rubber O-ring would do the trick as well.

Over-all I decided to remove my lens hood despite the effect simply because I felt is was only in certain lighting conditions that it had an effect.  YMMV, so you may choose to improve on this concept or ignore it all together.  Just wanted to share my discovery.

App Of The Day: Handbrake

For great videos on the go with you iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android... use Handbrake!  Yes, it is an odd name for an app... with an even odder icon... but it works great!

One step video conversions to allow easy playback on your iOS or Android device.

Some would prefer downloading an app that plays all formats, but I don't really like wasting storage space with a 15GB movie, when you can't really appreciate 1080p on a mobile screen.

The iPhone 4 preset works on almost all devices, or create a higher 720p preset if your mobile screen supports it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

kik me!

A while back, I wrote about kik Messenger, one of my fav IMs for iOS and Android.  Initially offered on Blackberry as well, RIM got scared and decided to pull it out of App World.

Well, kik has been trying its best to get back into BB... FINALLY, the wait it over!!!

kik is back on Blackberry!!!!!

For everyone out there affected by RIMs BBM outage, download kik and sign up now!!!!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray Review: Part 4 - TimeScape, Facebook and UX

Continued from Part 3

A while back, when I first got my X10 Mini Pro, I commented on the promise, and limitations of Sony Ericsson's TimeScape interface, cool looking but not ready for public use just yet.  Two Android generations later, and Sony Ericsson has learned quite a bit from their past mistakes.

TimeScape w/ Infinity button
TimeScape used to be heavily integrated into their version of Android.  This, in theory, was supposed to make it better, but instead made the interface slow and very difficult to update.  This in turn slowed the development of the X10 family and despite the positive feedback on the phones, the quickly outdated software became a huge ball and chain.  Today, I'm happy to report that TimeScape is more like an app, rather than a core system.  This means that it doesn't bog down the system nor does it hamper software updates.

Running on Android Gingerbread, the new TimeScape looks gorgeous, and allows much better plug-ins like RSS, other Social Networking sites, and email integration via 3rd party plugins available in the Marketplace.  The new widget is also live, unlike the older TimeScape which only showed the newest message, the current one allows you to scroll through messages without having to launch the app.


It now also integrates the Infinity button for messages received from contacts, pressing it will bring up a separate 3D stream of messages from that particular contact.  No need to look through your call history or email history to see your correspondence with someone.

Graphics are a lot smoother, thanks in part to a faster CPU, but mostly to much more efficient coding.  Gingerbread is supposed to have a 400% increase over Eclair, and TimeScape itself has been cleaned up... all these things combined really has improved the over-all user experience (or as Sony Ericsson wants to call it, UX) and enjoyment of using the app.

Facebook integration
Facebook Inside Xperia is another neat (or annoying, depending on your view of Facebook in general) feature.  I'm a heavy Facebook user, so this level of integration is great for me.  What once took 3-4 apps on my X10 Mini Pro, now is all built-in the UX of the Xperia ray.  Contact photos, numbers, status updates, and other important info are all automatically synced and updated.  Your phonebook cards can now contain all the info on that particular person's Facebook page.  Twitter is also integrated, just sign in with TimeScape.

Some people aren't fond of social integration, you don't have to use them.  Just don't log into your Facebook or Twitter accounts.  One caveat is if you're on Google+, unlike Facebook and Twitter, you need to log into your Google account to use your Android phone, Google+ integration is AUTOMATIC, and must be disabled if you don't want your phone to automatically update your status and upload photos.  Or you can just not download the Google+ app.

A few issues: This integration overlaps with Facebook's own app sync... so you will have 2 Facebook apps using up your data connection.  The other is purely aesthetic, the app seems to try to sync even when  mobile data is off, so you always get this annoying red triangle saying "Facebook Sync Failed" when you're data connection is lost, even when the app is set to manual sync.

SonyEricsson has been really slow the past few years... fumbling about for a unique fingerprint to put on Android.  I think they've found it with TimeScape and Facebook Inside Xperia.  Let's hope that future software updates and upgrades won't exclude previous generations so quickly.  For now, good job on the big improvement!  It makes looking through status updates actually fun!  Hahahaha!

Up next - Movie Time!  Video formats, playback, and the built-in gallery

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray Review: Part 3 - Smile! You're On Exmor R Camera!

Continued from Part 2

Since the introduction of the celfone cam, people have documented every single moment of their lives (both drunken and sober) and has caused a boom in digital photography.

The latest generation of mobile phone cams boast specs that exceed most professional cams a few years ago... but do specs tell the whole truth?  Numbers are quite easy to fudge, and test parameters can easily be biased to favor one manufacturer over another.  I've found that most of today's mid-to-high end devices are all comparable to each other.  This review is to give a real-world comparison and evaluation compared to point-and-shoot cameras.

Most phone cam lenses are fixed at around 28mm (in full-frame DSLR equivalent) this gives the most practical field of view for group shots, parties, and roughly 95% of the events people use their phones to take pictures of.

The Xperia ray sports an 8 megapixel Exmor R sensor which is supposed to be excellent in low-light situations.  I'm not fond of using a flash, on any of my cameras... so this was something that caught my attention.  Along with the claimed f2.4, this should make the ray perfect for capturing events at concerts, clubs, parties, candle-lit dinners and other things that happen in the dark...

But does it really work well?  How does it fare against the previous generation X10 Mini Pro?  Against a decent point & shoot camera?

The following marco are shots taken in automatic mode.  Photos were not processed, but resized using Adobe Lightroom, minimal jpeg artifacts were added so that isn't really going to affect over-all photo quality.  **edit: my apologies, I forgot to mention, these are zoomed crops to show both the detail, and flaws of the camera.  Original uncropped photos can be viewed here.**

Panasonic Lumix ZS3
The first shot was taken using my Panasonic Lumix ZS3.  This is one of the better all-around point and shoots on the market with a focal range of 28-300mm and a Leica lens.  It shoots in 720p HD so this will also be the baseline for the video comparison.



Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro
This was taken using my X10 Mini Pro.  As you can see, colors are a bit washed out compared to the Lumix, but general detail is preserved.  A noteworthy observation is that the grill on the car looks more 'detailed' with the X10MP, but it's just heavier post processing on the phone's part.


Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
And finally, the shot taken using the Xperia ray.  Bokeh is slightly nicer on the ray... not by much, but if you look at the car in the background, the rims have stronger lens blur.  Color accuracy on the ray is also closer to the Lumix which is a plus.  I initially thought that the X10MP was sharper, but it turned out to just be stronger sharpening post processing.

With the absence of a dedicated camera button however, it is harder to take a shot with the ray.  Touch focus doesn't always work and can sometimes give a completely blurry shot.  Auto focus gives decent results most of the time, but limits compositional freedom.  Over-all the ray has a better camera, but without a dedicated camera button, it takes longer to take a shot.

Forget the front camera... it's sad.  Washed out and very soft focused.  Flashback to an 80's webcam.  It's there.  But don't expect iPod Touch/iPhone 4 quality video calls.  But there is hope for self-portrait fans.  Sony Ericsson's "Smile Detection" allows you to use the rear camera, then the phone automatically takes the shot when you smile.  Although this doesn't guarantee it's framed properly.

Now onto the video.  The Xperia ray records in 720p HD.  Movies are in the standard MP4 format and trimming recorded clips is possible on the phone itself.  I did find it nice that the phone records in stereo.  Utilizing the back mic for the left channel, and the phone mic for the right channel.  The odd position of the mics does create an issue for users that are unaware that both mics are on.  If you're holding the bottom part of the phone, you may be blocking the "right" mic and thus audio may sound weak.  Because the mics are farther apart than on most point and shoot cameras (like the Lumix ZS3), stereo separation does sound more prominent on the ray.

The following video was taken at night using only automatic settings.  This is how most people will be using the camera on this phone so I decided to make a direct comparison with the ZS3's HD capabilities as well.  Audio on the left channel is from the ray, audio on the right channel is from the ZS3.



As you can see, the Exmor R sensor does an excellent job of low light recording.  Not much noise is added, and detail is quite good.  Focusing is ok, but not great.  Clarity is still better on the ZS3 of course, but I would have more practical use for the ray's shots than the ZS3.  And a little post processing on the Xperia to improve black levels and the shots taken would actually look better than the ZS3.  Audio is decent for a device of it's size.  I didn't notice any weak audio, I suspect that early reports either had different firmware, or were accidentally covering the right channel mic with their hand.

Video verdict?  The Xperia ray is a very capable video recorder.  The Exmor R sensor does work and can be used in very difficult lighting situations.  Make sure you have a lot of storage though because HD video does chew up quite a bit of space.  I can now leave my ZS3 to the dedicated task of just scuba videos.  The Xperia ray will now be my everyday video device.


**A usability tip: There are different camera shortcuts that you can add to your homepage for easy access.  I added the Camera and Video Camera shortcut.  It may not be a dedicated button, but it's a lot easier than scrolling through a menu!**

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray Review: Part 2 - Pump Up The Volume!

After seeing how great the Xperia ray's screen in my Part 1 review was, naturally I wanted to check how good its media capturing capabilities are.  Does the Exmor R camera really deliver?  How's the audio during video recordings?  What about music and movie playback?  Or are they all just marketing stickers on the box?


First up, audio/music playback.  Test was conducted using the ff:


I decided to compare it against my X10 Mini Pro as a reference playback unit.  I used a 256kbps mp3 of Dave Brubeck's famous Take 5.  The results from switching from one playback system to another are:


  • Included headsets aren't great.  Better than Apple's stock earbuds, but not by much.  So I won't bother giving a detailed review of these.  But these choke the sound quality of the ray to about 40% of their capabilities.
  • The Xperia ray's volume is about ¾ of the X10 Mini Pro.  This makes it quite weak, even with efficient headsets.  Although volume levels are loud, some people may feel it isn't loud enough.  Personally I find it's well within the safe db levels of listening even at maximum volume.  I would however, recommend using a headphone amp.
  • Xperia ray has an annoying clicking while NOT playing any media, this can only be heard through my reference K240DFs, not the K324P or the included headphones.
  • The Xperia ray has much cleaner bass frequency response than the X10 Mini Pro, bass notes are fuller at lower frequencies without being muddy or overpowering.  Treble on the ray seems more balanced than on the X10MP, which may make the MP seem 'clearer'.
  • xLoud feature on the Xperia ray only affects the built-in speaker, and not headphone playback (good call!)
  • The X10 Mini Pro built-in speaker is much louder and much fuller than the Xperia ray.
  • Both the Xperia ray and Mini Pro built-in speakers sound 'clearer' than the X-Mini 2, albeit a lot weaker.
  • xLoud feature on the Xperia ray makes ringtones sound just as loud as the X10 Mini Pro.
  • Xperia ray built-in speaker sounds best 1 notch below maximum volume, at maximum volume, you get a resonant buzz from the casing of the phone itself... this resonant buzz is not present on the X10MP, I'm assuming this wasn't by design, but just basic acoustics.  The sheer volume of the X10MP gives the built-in speaker a larger 'cabinet' to work with thus making it sound fuller and louder.
  • EQ has a few presets, I'm not an EQ kind of guy, but they work better than the ones on the iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4 which to me introduce way too much distortion.  The ray's EQ is acceptable... although I would still recommend leaving it flat for the best audio quality.


Over-all, I'd say the Xperia ray has average music playback capabilities.  Nothing bad, nothing great.  I find it cleaner and clearer than the older X10 Mini Pro, but the lack of volume output makes using a headphone amp almost necessary, which negates the convenience of a small phone.  Although using it in the car is quite nice and I prefer the output going into my car headunit.

It won't win any audiophile awards, but then again, neither will any mobile phone... will you be happy with the music playback capabilities?  I would say yes.  Unless you like listening to your music at ear-bleeding volumes, it's quite decent for most users.  It sounds better than the 2nd gen iPod Shuffle, but not as good as the iPod Touch 4.

Final verdict: Average music playback.  Decent frequency response and respectable bass extension.  Low volume output, not a deal-breaker, but some may find it a bit too soft.  The included earbuds aren't isolation buds so they do let in a lot of ambient sound, which drowns out the already weak volume of the ray.  So unless your unit came with the LiveSound headset, I'd seriously recommend getting a better pair of cans.

Next up - Say Cheese!  It's picture time!  The big deal behind Sony's Exmor sensor.

Past Tech Gospels

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