As soon as I heard of its announcement, I knew it was that perfect device that just needed to be in my pocket. It would finally solve my problem of always carrying my iPhone 3G and PSPgo everywhere I went. After a while we found out it wasn't really a PSPhone - Just a Playstation Certified phone that was pretty much your standard Android device with a Sony branded gamepad that slides out from underneath. Sounds pretty lame in theory doesn't it? In reality though, it couldn't be far from the truth. More to where the gameplay shines later though.
The Xperia PLAY is my first Android phone, after being an iPhone 3G user for the last 6 months. The iPhone had its downsides and upsides, but all in all I was quite content with it. It wasn't until the iPhone's battery failure of late that forced me to look at other phones available. The Xperia PLAY was a phone I always wanted, but it seemed every review I read/viewed never really thought of the phone positively. The reviews and price kept me wary that my dreams of owning an Xperia PLAY anytime soon wasn't going to happen. My constant ignorance on the matter paved through though as it wasn't long until I ended up purchasing a used Xperia PLAY on eBay for $385AUD.
I've been in pretty bad form though when it's come to buying portable gadgets lately. Most of the time I'd just be there staring at the gadget/portable game console and just staring at it saying, "Now what do I do?". I didn't get that negative feeling from the Xperia Play though. From since I purchased the Xperia PLAY to this current moment, I just haven't been able to get it out of my sights. It allows me to play my favorite apps I was playing on my iPhone (Like Angry Birds for example), has amazing compatibility with emulators and best of all, wait for it... wait for it... No iTunes! Remember the days when you used to download an mp3 song online and then send it to your SD card via your PC/Laptop by simply dragging and dropping? Well that is possible with Xperia PLAY, and all Android phones for that matter! No longer are there the days where I could only send a song from a certain PC of mine rather than the more convenient option of sometimes using another PC I own. Sorry Apple fans/users, just saying it how it is.
Onto what the Xperia PLAY is really about now- Gaming. In terms of physical power, the Xperia Play doesn't offer any more than any other current Android phone on the market. Actually, if anything, it's quite low end in terms of power compared to the high end Android phones which are running on dual core processors at the moment. The Xperia PLAY makes up for it though by adding one simple feature that no "real" gamer can live without out - Buttons! Yep, buttons. The Xperia PLAY currently has very little 'Xperia Play Optimized' games, and games like Bruce Lee definitely aren't going to sell Xperia PLAY's that's for sure. There are some hidden gems though, like the Xperia PLAY optimized Age of Zombies game. I've played this game on my iPhone before, and it was slightly slower and of course you were forced to use the touch screen with virtual analogue sticks to move your character. With the PLAY, the speed of Age of Zombies was perfect while using the touchpad analogue sticks on the gamepad made me look like a pro!
But we all know why we really want the Xperia PLAY - Emulation. Emulation on the Xperia PLAY is awesome! As mentioned, the Xperia PLAY is far from being the most powerful of Android phones, but it doesn't stop it from being able to run PS1 and N64 amazingly well. Every PS1 game I've played on the Xperia PLAY using FPSE (A PS1 emulator) have all ran at 95-100% with the only issues ever really arising was sound bugs every now and then. Practically every other emulator based off a console made before the PS1/N64, as expected, works amazing and perfect. Assigning buttons from your gamepad rather than your touchscreen is an ease, and playing emulators via buttons rather than tapping virtual buttons on a touchscreen is what makes the Xperia PLAY awesome and splits it apart from other Android phones and Apple branded devices on the market.In the end that's what makes a device these days, splitting it apart from the logjam of other similar products.
On to the phone side of things - As a phone it's pretty standard. It doesn't provide anything less and it doesn't really provide you anything more. I personally found using an iPhone 3G for the phone features to be more convenient with the little things than the Xperia PLAY, maybe it's just me but I found using an iPhone to make calls a whole lot more quicker.
The speakers on the Xperia PLAY are absolutely amazing. I've never heard something so loud and crisp on a portable device as I have on the Xperia PLAY. Playing games and hearing music without headphones is now a joy.
If you are looking for something new, have money to spend, a fan of emulation and gaming in general then the Xperia PLAY is for you. I haven't been able to get it out of my sight yet and don't plan to. It's a phone with that 'WOW!' factor that doesn't seem to fail to impress when showing it to friends and family.