We were hanging out at the GDC 2011 conference yesterday and got some more time with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and we got a bigger look at its gaming powers.
The Xperia Play is the first PlayStation-certified smartphone and it will pack a slide-out dpad for gaming. The cool thing about it is that when it’s closed, it still looks like a solid smartphone.
The Xperia Play will likely be the first carrier-branded Android phone to launch with Gingerbread. It will have the Sony Ericsson user interface on top and the company told me that is has been working on Gingerbread optimization for a while now.
There’s a 4-inch display that looks solid and is responsive to touch. One thing that bugs me is that the phone doesn’t rotate the standard screens when you have the d-pad slid out. Lame.
As for the gamepad on the Xperia Play, I liked how most of the buttons felt. These were responsive without being too stiff and all of the buttons felt like it would stand up to a beating. The analog sticks take a while to get used to but they work really well for things like racing and shooting.
The Xperia Play will launch with at least 50 custom games when it hits Verizon in late March and the ability for it to use Havok tools mean we can look forward to multiple high-quality games. Sony Ericsson also stressed that it will play standard Android games well, so don’t worry Angry Birds fans.
There’s a 1-GHz SnapDragon processor inside and it seemed to provide enough power for the games I saw. There was some loading time that became annoying but once the game started, things performed smoothly and looked nice.
I’m still not sure if I would want this device over some of the dual-core, 4G stuff that’s coming out but hardcore mobile gamers may have found their new phone. Check out our video below and let us know what you think.