he video: The Xperia Play, Sony's forthcoming phone-meets-videogame player, has been "one of the worst- kept secrets in gaming," says Andrew Webster at Ars Technica. Rumors emerged in August, pictures in October, and this week, the tech blog Engadget got its hands on a Chinese prototype and posted a detailed review. (See a video, below.) The Xperia, designed with frequent gamers in mind, features a "slide-out gamepad with four PlayStation style buttons" — plus all the trappings of a modern touchscreen smartphone, such as a five-megapixel camera and the new Gingerbread version of the Android operating system. Sony is expected to offically unveil its new toy at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress, which begins on February 14.
The reaction: "Having touched the actual gamepad on an Xperia Play," says Richard Lai at Engadget, "we'd be lying if we say we're not further tempted by it." The video games all ran "pretty well," and the phone functionality is "snappy and fairly stable" though a "flimsy" battery door is a definite design flaw. "Unanswered questions" still abound: How will games be priced, billed, and delivered? How much will the gadget cost? This looks like "a solid device, especially for serious mobile gamers," says Adam Frucci at DVice. Gameplaying on the iPhone is limited by its touchscreen, but the XPeria's controls "solve that problem swimmingly." Watch a video of the Xperia in action:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why ABC threw its Bachelor under the bus
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- Here's how Iran is covering Russia's invasion of Crimea
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
Subscribe to the Week