Google Nexus S vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc – Review

by Jerry D on February 23, 2011

The Google Nexus S looked like a great little phone when it was released in 2010, but it’s been quickly shoved out of the limelight by newer, faster phones. Is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc one of them? And has it got the techno-muscle to beat the second-gen Google phone?

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Connectivity:

The Nexus S is well-specced and includes 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR connectivity. The Xperia Arc, meanwhile, boasts 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP. (1-1)

Size & Weight:

According to the tape measure, the Nexus S measures 123.9 x 63.0 x 10.88mm, while the super-skinny Xperia Arc is 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm in comparison. Overall, the Nexus S is the bigger phone and it also carries more weight than the Xperia Arc. Compare the two and Google’s phone is 129g and Xperia Arc’s’ handset is 117g.

Note the extraordinary waistline of the Xperia Arc. At only 8.7mm, it’s thinner than the iPhone 4. Although it’s not quite as super-skinny as the new 8.49mm Samsung Galaxy S2. (1-2)

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Camera:

Samsung built Google’s Nexus S with a 5.0 Megapixel camera that boasts autofocus, a standard LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus functionality and 720p video recording. There’s also a front-facing camera for video calls.

The Xperia Arc trumps its rival with an improved 8.0 Megapixel lens that has a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The frills include: autofocus, an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and 720p video capture. No front-facing camera though. It’s a tie this round. (1-2)

Screen/keyboard:

The Nexus S features a smart, 4.0-inch touch-sensitive Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The screen has 384000 pixels in total, giving it a rating of 233.25 pixels per inch.

Measuring 4.2 inches, the Xperia Arc’s touch-sensitive LED-backlit LCD is bigger. Compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is a shade better at 233.333. But not so you’d ever notice. (2-2)

Performance:

Speed is crucial and the Xperia Arc uses a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon CPU with an Adreno 205, rated at 1GHz. The Nexus S’s engine is a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 ‘Hummingbird’ processor. Both phones are a good match for each other in terms of speed. (2-2)

Software:

Google’s handset is based on a pure Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) build, which includes support for higher screen resolutions (not used here, sadly), SIP VOIP support, NFC, gyroscopes and barometers and multiple cameras. Sony Ericsson’s phone also uses this version of Android, albeit customised with a few tweaks. (3-2)

Storage:

With 16GB of internal storage, the Nexus S has more space out of the box. The Xperia Arc features 8GB in comparison. BUT… There’s no expansion slot on the Nexus S, so this base memory can’t be extended. You’re stuck with 16GB. In contrast, a microSD slot on the Xperia Arc further boosts the overall memory on Sony Ericsson’s phone to 32GB. (3-3)

Battery life:

Calculating the staying power of phones can be tricky, so we’re often guided by what the manufacturers are prepared to tell us. Google boasts 6.7 hours of talktime for its Nexus S, versus 7.0 hours for the Xperia Arc. The standby times are 427 hours for the Nexus S and 400 hours for the Xperia Arc. We call this round a tie. (3-3)

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Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.

Extras:

Last round… The Nexus S also includes GPS/A-GPS, haptic feedback vibration, a 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, subtly curved Contour Display and integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. We’ve not seen any real applications for NFC yet, but it’s there when mobile wallets and contactless payments start to become more widespread.

The Xperia Arc features GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, a display that uses Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine picture processing, a stereo FM radio with RDS, HDMI port (for displaying photos and videos on an HD TV), noise cancellation and a digital compass. (4-3)

The Google Nexus S wins!

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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