PlayStation phone has great controller, lousy screen

While waiting for a movie this weekend, I was amazed at just how many folks in the audience were passing the time by playing games on their smartphones. They looked ridiculous, not because there’s anything wrong with smartphone gaming, but because they all seemed to be rubbing their screens frantically. Smartphones absolutely make sense as handheld gaming platforms, but they desperately need better controls than a capacitive touchscreen.

With that in mind, Engadget’s review of Sony’s new PlayStation phone, the Xperia Play, comes at the perfect time. Rather than relying on its main touchscreen for input, the Xperia has a slide-out controller with a d-pad, a handful of buttons, and two small touchpads meant to simulate touchscreen input. For the most part, the controls appear to be excellent—and they won’t have you streaking movie popcorn dust all over your screen.

Unfortunately, the screen itself looks to be pretty poor. Although the viewing angles are reportedly good, the display is so dim that Engadget calls it “borderline dysfunctional.” The rest of the device appears to be a little lacking, as well, and the dearth of games optimized to work with the unique controller doesn’t help. That’s a shame, because all the bits and pieces exist to make a really compelling handheld gaming platform that’s also a phone. Someone just has to put them together.

Comments closed
    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    lousy review, currently eying this for next renewal but not soon though as they are coming in rather pricey. Meanwhile I have this:

    [url<]http://www.game-gripper.com/default.asp[/url<] Works great!!

    • darkprince
    • 9 years ago

    That was the worst review ever, it does not even qualify for the review. The guy doesnt even know how to take a video while reviewing(shaky and half of the screen doesnt even come in). I have seen so many other videos of xperia play which are much better in action.

    This has an actual review
    [url<]http://pocketnow.com/android/sony-ericsson-xperia-play-review[/url<] And according to them, one of the pros is Big , Bright Screen.

    • deathBOB
    • 9 years ago

    Why does Sony just kind of suck at everything? It seems like every Sony product sounds great on paper but is screwed up on execution.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    I think touchscreens can work for games, but the games have to take their limitations into account. It won’t be the first time a control scheme was taken into account for games that didn’t necessarily fit the scheme. Auto-aim in every FPS known to man on consoles and the auto-braking/auto-acceleration of Forza or GT are easy examples of this.

    Clearly, Halo and Call of Duty proved people don’t mind it if the game takes over certain elements of control that are not very easily controlled on a given platform. Why would that be any different on touchscreen-based games?

    • Johnny5
    • 9 years ago

    “…and two small touchpads meant to simulate touchscreen input.”

    I would think they would be to simulate analog sticks.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    I thought I read once that there exists technology to create the feeling of buttons on a touchscreen. Did I dream that or might that really be possible in the not too distant future? Seems like that would be best of both worlds.

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      You’re not dreaming, I recall very clearly reading that article myself. The only trouble with amazing technology, it seems, is that it’s always just amazing science-fiction reading. How often have you read about a new piece of technology and then kinda forgotten about it cause it never materialized?

        • glacius555
        • 9 years ago

        I think it will be materialized this time. Article was about Japanese who managed to create sensations of bumps and rough surfaces manipulating electrical current, if I am not mistaken. Who knows, it may be Apple’s next move, because I don’t see how one can “improve” what a touchscreen can offer in terms of controls.

        • The Dark One
        • 9 years ago

        I still want those oreo cookie sized speakers that could project sound onto any surface you wanted by outputting two ultrasonic tones and letting them interfere with each other after the first bounce.

        It sounded like such a cool idea.

      • Welch
      • 9 years ago

      I too remember seeing this article from something like CES 2 or 3 years ago. I always wondered why they never went ahead and made this a big part of all this “Touch” frenzy. Must really wear down on battery life in order to provide synaptic touch back or something. But I wonder if they can make it feel like a particular surface, say wood or metal….>?

      I recall the article being included in a big table that microsoft was developing, with the water drops when you place cups on it and things like that.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    My Droid X connects to a TV with an HDMI cable. What I would love is for an emulator that can be hooked up to the TV, and played with a blue tooth controller. Play some older games that way.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Excellent idea!

      • potatochobit
      • 9 years ago

      mobile gaming is about being mobile
      reminds me of people who buy an ipad then sit in front of their computers to read it /facepalm

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        Old consoles are for being played on your tv, and if you can do that with a phone, then great. Now we’re going to have to be uptight with ideas because of the definition of a device. No way in hell would I play a Super Nintendo game on my phone, with a touch screen. If at the end of the day I want to play a Nintendo 64 on my tv by simply connecting my phone, and then sitting back with a blue tooth controller, then that would be great. But lets not do that with a dual core CPU phone, because it’s a phone.

        So much wrong with your way of thinking, I cannot even explain it.

          • potatochobit
          • 9 years ago

          there is only one problem with your theory

          why they hell would you plug a phone in through HDMI when you can plug your PC in and play the same emulated game and use a wireless controller if you are sitting in your LIVING ROOM?

          to be fair I used to plug my gameboy advance in to my TV but those games are exclusive

            • jstern
            • 9 years ago

            Because I want to, or I might want to go to a different TV, or I might want to have the games simply so my cousin’s kids can play it on the TV when I visit them. I might not like to sit in front of my PC to play them, or maybe others in the house are always on the PC. I don’t know, the reasons why an individual might do anything are endless. The thing is that you’re looking at your needs and wants and projecting them onto others. You seem to be a person who really likes order.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            “So much wrong with your way of thinking, I cannot even explain it.”

            “The thing is that you’re looking at your needs and wants and projecting them onto others. You seem to be a person who really likes order.”

            sounds like you do too.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        hence me not buying one.

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    why didn’t they just stick a phone antenna on the PSPgo
    that probably would have helped it to suck alot less

      • Johnny5
      • 9 years ago

      It seem to me that would make it a much worse smartphone, and having chips unlike any other phone would screw up there Android gaming and the Playstation-certified thing they are trying to do.

    • niofis
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<] ...and they won't have you streaking movie popcorn dust all over your screen [/quote<] You would still be streaking it all over other places =)

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    But, but…. What is the primary purpose of thge device? That controller doesn’t look like it would be of much help in managing my address book, or making some quick notes in a meeting.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      gaming, and basic phoning. it’s still android, and the screen works just like any other android.

      • Johnny5
      • 9 years ago

      The controller is not intended to help you with that stuff, the touchscreen does it just fine. It’s fine if you don’t like the device, but it’s pretty clear that it’s a smartphone (and therefore does normal smartphone things) that makes an extra effort on the gaming front. You might prefer a keyboard, but plenty of people use keyboardless phones just fine, and some of those people are more concerned about their lack of physical buttons for gaming than for typing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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