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Preview: Sony Xperia SP

Preview: Sony Xperia SP

The Sony Xperia SP is the company's latest mid-range smartphone

The Sony Xperia SP is the company's latest mid-range smartphone.

Sony claims the Xperia SP uses a "precision-crafted co-moulded aluminium frame" which is a nice change from mostly plastic alternatives.

A physical camera shutter key is a good inclusion for those who use the camera regularly. The Xperia SP will be available in black, metallic red and metallic white variants.

The key design feature of the Xperia SP is a transparent panel below the screen. It's a feature Sony first debuted on last year's Xperia S.

The transparent strip isn't just for looks as it displays customisable notifications. Users can personalise these notification lights to alert of incoming calls and text messages and using the built-in Walkman music player means the lights will pulse to the beat of music.

The notification light will also change colour depending on the album art. The transparent bar means the notification lights can be seen when the phone is face down on a desk or table.

The Sony Xperia SP has a 4.6in 720p HD display with a resolution of 1280x720. The screen uses Sony's Reality Display and Mobile Bravia engine technology, claiming to enhance sharpness, contrast and colour saturation of photos and videos.

The Xperia SP is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, has 1GB of RAM and includes 8GB of internal memory. A microSD card allows the memory to be expanded and there's also built-in NFC connectivity.

The Xperia SP is 4G capable for Australia, so it's compatible with the 1800MHz 4G networks used down under by Telstra and Optus.

There's a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with Sony's Exmor RS image sensor, which claims to offer higher sensitivity and less image noise in low light areas than traditional mobile phone cameras.

The Xperia SP's rear camera can capture HDR still images and records full HD 1080p video, but there's no HDR video. A front-facing VGA camera handles video calls.

Sony will launch the Xperia SP with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) but the company has promised it will be upgraded to the latest 4.2 version "shortly after launch".

The Battery Stamina mode feature seen on the Xperia Z is available on the Xperia SP. It prevents applications from running when the screen is locked, therefore saving power of the 2370mAh battery.

Sony hasn't confirmed specific Australia details for the Xperia SP, but the phone is set to be available worldwide in Q2 2013.

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