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Tags : performance



Just under a month ago, Rogers launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the world's first PlayStation certified mobile device. The PLAY runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an impressive range of features. It has a 4" (480x854) touchscreen display, and is powered by a 1GHz processor, along with 512MB of RAM. It has a 5MP camera along with a VGA front facing camera for video calling. Sony Ericsson has included their custom UI/launcher TimeScape, which has changed dramatically since the X10 line-up. The most unique feature is its PlayStation style game pad, which can be used for a variety of PLAY optimized games including PS1 Classics. So, how does the PLAY hold up as a smartphone and for gaming?

Beginning with the hardware, the PLAY is very nicely designed. It is a little bit thick compared to most current devices, but that is expected with the full game pad hidden under the screen. It has 3.5mm headset and microUSB ports on the left edge, while the right edge holds the volume and shoulder keys. Even though the casing is made of plastic, it feels relatively sturdy and durable, and the sliding mechanism is surprisingly solid. When you slide out the game pad, the PLAY really starts to shine, bringing that familiar PlayStation feel to your phone. The device fits fairly well in your hands when slid open, but might take a little bit of getting used to. The touchpads meant for use where joysticks or analog sticks would normally come into play, are a nice addition to the controls, though very strange to use at first. Like most gamers know, any new controller design takes some time to get completely accustomed to, and the PLAY's game pad is no exception. Still, it really brought a new element to mobile gaming, one previously found only in devices like the PSP or Nintendo DS. After using the Xperia PLAY, games on touchscreen-only devices seem weak and difficult to play, so beware when trying out your friend's new PLAY.




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The games themselves are entertaining, and the PLAY comes with 6 full version titles built-in: NFL 11, Star Battalion HD, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Crash Bandicoot, Fifa 10, and Tetris. There are 5 more PS1 games available for purchase in Market for $5.75 USD each, and about 50 other PLAY optimized games and apps. Crash Bandicoot ran well and gives a great idea of what PS1 games will be like on the device. The sports games (Madden NFL 11 and FIFA 10) are great fun, and far more complex than you might think, and the other games were just as entertaining and immersive. Unfortunately Tetris didn't make use of the slide-out controls, but it is a simple enough game that the touchscreen is fine.




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As a smartphone alone, the PLAY runs just as well as most current Android handsets. OS 2.3 Gingerbread performs well, and TimeScape doesn't seem to have as strong of an impact on performance as with the X10. The application tray features custom sorting, and there are a variety of widgets pre-installed. There are media widgets that include music controls, shortcuts, and a scrolling image/video wheel. There are also a couple of clock widgets available, all of which can be used on any of the 5 home screens.

Other parts of the device that are worth mentioning include the display and camera. The display isn't very bright when turned all the way up, though it can get you by. To those who normally enjoy very bright and crisp displays like super AMOLED equipped devices may be let down however. The Camera is of decent quality, coming in at 5MP with an LED flash. It actually handles close-up shots very well, though mid and long range photos are of average quality. It can also record video at WVGA resolution, and surprisingly doesn't capture at 720p. Videos recorded with the PLAY are also average, looking great on your mobile screen but mediocre on larger displays.




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Lastly, battery life. The PLAY surprisingly held up very well, lasting longer than many devices in the current market. Even while gaming for a few hours, the battery indicator only dropped a sliver. Unfortunately it still doesn't compare to the life of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 or a few other devices, but considering its large screen and game pad, does very well.

Overall, the Xperia PLAY is a great device. It is a full-featured Android smartphone and really makes mobile gaming possible. Kudos to Sony Ericsson for producing a great, and very unique device! Hopefully they continue to create great handsets that stand-out and bring a new element to smartphones.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is available from Rogers for $99.99 on a 3 year term or $549.99 contract free.


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We let you know several months back that the Xperia X10 from Sony Ericsson had reached the end of the line in regards to OS updates. Stuck at 2.1 Eclair (without multitouch), many Canadians were outraged. Luckily, Sony Ericsson listened to their customers, and have decided to bring Gingerbread 2.3 to the device. Expected sometime in late Q2 or early Q3, the update will lighten Sony Ericsson's presence in the Android OS, and bring with it the many performance improvements that Gingerbread has to offer.

According to Sony Ericsson, the ability to bring Gingerbread to the X10 is newly realized, and comes with their work on the upcoming Arc and Play devices. Great news for X10 owners, now let's just hope that Rogers cooperates and can get the update to Canadians in a timely manner!


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RIM have been slowly rolling out BlackBerry OS 6 to some of the more recent devices they offer, with each individual carrier packaging and releasing the updates themselves. Now, WIND Mobile customers who own either a Bold 9700 or Curve 9300 are in luck, as the quickly growing carrier has officially released the upgrade. For those who own a Pearl 9100, WIND has stated that the new OS "will be available in coming weeks". The update is available now, and can be downloaded/installed using the latest version of Desktop Manager.

In case you haven't been following the changes RIM have been implementing, BlackBerry OS 6 features a number of improvements over OS 5, including the new WebKit browser, new menu and homescreen layout, along with a variety of performance improvements overall.


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Telus customers who use the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate ran into some luck recently, when Android 2.2 Froyo was rolled out for their devices. Froyo, which adds support for Adobe Flash 10.1, also improves browser and overall device performance, and makes improvements on the business side of things like improved exchange integration and added security features. You can get the update by visiting Samsung's website at http://pages.samsung.com/ca/froyo/English/ now.


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We recently let you know that rumours pointed at Virgin Mobile launching the BlackBerry Bold 9780 refresh device on October 21st, and have now received word that Rogers will also be launching the handset, but one week later. Expected on October 27th, the Bold 9780 is a refreshed version of the Bold 9700, one of the most popular BlackBerry in recent years, and offers up memory improvements to help handle BlackBerry 6 without sacrificing room for applications or performance. The other major improvement comes to the camera, boosting it to 5MP. No confirmation on pricing as of yet, but speculation is pointing to somewhere near the $150 mark similar to what we expect Virgin Mobile to be charging for the upcoming device.


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HTC Magic+ owners who are with Rogers have something to be excited about as of yesterday, as the long awaited Android OS 2.1 Eclair update was finally released. The update, which provides more homescreens, significantly better performance, and a variety of new features, was pushed out over-the-air recently, and seems to run exceptionally well.

Do you own a Magic+ that you've upgraded to OS 2.1? Drop by the forums and let us know! Forum


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WIND Mobile has finally launched their first Android-powered device - the Huawei U8100. This device runs Android 2.1 Eclair and features a 2.8" (240x320) touch screen, 3.2MP camera, GPS, and AWS support for better data performance. Possibly the biggest selling point of this device is the extremely low outright price point of $160, making it the perfect smartphone for those who are budget conscious or just starting out with smart phones.


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A few weeks ago, we let you know that Montreal-based iBwave launched innovative new smartphone software that would allow telecom/wireless providers to optimize coverage and network performance indoors, and it seems WIND Mobile has taken notice to their success in the field as well. iBwave has been officially selected by WIND Mobile to help plan and design their indoor/underground network in Toronto's PATH - a 27km indoor/underground network of walkways providing access to 50 buildings and over 1200 businesses. Optimizing this portion of their network is a great move on WIND Mobile's part, as over 100 000 people use these walkways each day.


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Surprise, Bell Canada will launch the Palm Pre in Canada. No price or exacte date for the moment but this is features of the Palm Pre of Bell Mobility. Probably Telus mobility will be too offer this device.

- 3G EVDO Rev. A high-speed connectivity
- Integrated GPS
- Large 3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320x480 resolution HVGA display
- Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
- Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
- Email, including Outlook EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (POP3, IMAP)
- Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)(3)
- High-performance, desktop-class web browser
- Great multimedia experience and performance (pictures, video playback, music), featuring a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
- Bluetooth(R) 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
- 8GB internal memory (~7GB user available)
- USB mass storage mode
- MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
- Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
- Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
- Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
- Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
- Removable, rechargeable battery
- Dimensions: 59.57mm (W) x 100.53mm (L, closed) x 16.95mm (D)
- Weight: ~135 grams



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This is the first time TELUS has presented the annual award, which will provide $50,000 each year in performance bonuses to National Team and other athletes entered by the CSF into major competitions.

"TELUS has a long-term commitment with the CSF to ensure the ongoing development and future success of young boarders across the country," said Steve Podborski, executive director of TELUS Sport Marketing. "TELUS is proud to give our Canadian athletes a boost, and we're happy these cash awards will help our country's elite snowboard athletes focus on winning rather than fundraising as they continue driving for the podium."

Athletes receiving awards include Maelle Ricker of North Vancouver; Jasey-Jay Anderson, Mont Tremblant, QC; Drew Neilson, North Vancouver, B.C.; Rob Fagan, Cranbrook, B.C.; Tom Velisek, Squamish, B.C.; Dominique Maltais, Montreal, QC.; Derek Wintermans, Vancouver, B.C.; Mike Robertson, Canmore, AB; Ryan Hickey, North Bay, ON; Matt Morison, Burketon, ON; Brad Martin, Ancaster, ON; Jeff Batchelor, Oakville, ON; Crispin Lipscomb, Whistler, B.C.; Sarah Conrad, Halifax, NS; Neil Connolly, Whistler, B.C.; Ryan Rausch, Vancouver, B.C.


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