The first thing you will notice about the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray is its size. In a market dominated by large Android smartphones, the Xperia ray is rather unique. Of course, the small size makes it easy to use and store - the Xperia ray can easily slip into one's front pocket or even in a women's dinner bag.
The review unit we received has a pink shell which makes it look rather feminine. But not to worry as it also comes in other colours, namely black, gold and white.
Since it is a compact smartphone the obviously downside will be the screen size which is only 3.3in. Some may find the screen a bit too small to play games while others may find watching videos a bit of a hassle.
Although it was good enough for browsing webpages but one can't help but wish for a bigger screen for a better experience.
Despite its size, the Xperia ray's display is sharp and vibrant. Sony Ericsson says it is powered by its mobile Bravia Engine which makes it great for viewing photos and watching videos.
The display is also made from scratch resistant mineral glass so you don't have to worry about it being scratched easily.
Snapping photos and videos with the Xperia ray was a fun experience. The front-facing camera on the smartphone makes it easy to snap self-portraits in VGA resolution.
For more serious photo taking there's the 8.1-megapixel rear camera which works great and has lots of cool features such as face detection, scene detection and smile detection.
You even get three options for smile detection - big, normal and faint smile. How cool is that?
Although it doesn't have two cameras the smarphone has a feature called 3D Sweep Panorama which allows it to capture 3D images.
However, you will need a 3D TV to view them.
Other standard features include geo-tagging and red-eye reduction.
The camera can also shoot 720p HD videos and can be easily uploaded to YouTube to share them with family and friends.
The Xperia ray, which is powered by 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, is fast.
Launching apps is almost instantaneous and there is no lag generally. You can download tons of app from the Android marketplace and the phone comes with a 4GB card for storing them.
For text input, the phone has a virtual keypad. It wasn't easy for me to type messages as the screen is small and the keypad is very tiny. I would have much prefferd a physical Qwerty keypad instead.
One of the nice features of the Xperia ray is its built-in radio tuner which allowed me to listen to my favourite radio station while waiting for friends. Also, the bundled earphones were pretty decent for listening to music.
In terms of battery life, the Xperia ray lasted a whole day of usage which mainly consisted of surfing the Web, watching videos on YouTube and downloading applications.
Overall, the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray was a fun smartphone to use even for a non-Android fan like me. It is fast, has a great camera, the screen is beautiful and comes with a nice pair of earphones.
On the downside, the Xperia ray's small screen makes it difficult to use the virtual keypad. If you are looking for a compact Android smartphone, the Xperia ray is definitely one of the better ones.