Android Central

As we suspected last week, when phones started to appear in retailer listings, Sony's Xperia NXT series has launched in the United States. The manufacturer sends word today that its Xperia S, P and U handsets, available in Europe for a few months now, are now available stateside, unlocked and SIM-free. But before you reach for your wallet, a couple of caveats -- first, although these phones are unlocked, they'll only work on AT&T 3G/4G within the U.S., and they're all running Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box. Sony's quick to add that all three are upgradable to ICS, but we're already well into the age of Jelly Bean, and if you're shelling out the full retail price for a phone, you'd rightly be disappointed to find an 18-month-old OS loaded on there.

The Xperia S is Sony's flagship for the first half of the year, with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3 CPU, 1GB RAM, a 720p "Realiy Display" screen, a 12MP rear camera and 32GB of internal storage. The Xperia P is the mid-range offering, with a 1GHz ST-Ericsson dual-core chip, a qHD display, an 8MP shooter and an aluminum shell. And the Xperia U is the tiny entry-level model, sporting a WVGA screen, a 5MP shooter and interchangeable plastic bottoms.

To Sony's credit, all three are well-built devices with some decent hardware inside, and in our reviews of the Xperia S, P and U, we praised Sony's build quality and hardware. But in a market accustomed to buying phones directly from carriers at subsidized prices, we think they're going to struggle to sell many of these. And the price point certainly won't help. Here's what you can expect to pay for the NXT series phones in the U.S. --

  • Xperia S – MSRP $559.99, unlocked, in black or white
  • Xperia P – MSRP $479.99, unlocked, in silver, red or black
  • Xperia U – MSRP $299.99, unlocked, in black or white

In a world where the Galaxy Nexus sells for $350, and the AT&T One X is yours for $549 off-contract, it's difficult to recommend Sony's Gingerbread-based offerings at these price points. We'd much rather see the faster, more attractive, ICS-toting Xperia GX land on Western shores, instead. In any case, you can find Sony's presser after the break.

Sony Mobile Communications Expands Smartphone Portfolio Bringing Xperia™ NXT Series to the US

Xperia™ NXT series launching as next generation smartphones from Sony Mobile includes Xperia S, Xperia P and Xperia U.

  • Xperia S offers an all-around HD experience
  • Xperia P delivers outstanding screen brightness using Sony WhiteMagic(TM) display technology
  • Xperia U packs powerful Sony entertainment in a stylish and compact design

What: To continue offering customers the best connected entertainment experiences, Sony Mobile Communications (USA), Inc.  brings the next generation smartphones from Sony - Xperia NXT series – comprised of the Xperia S, Xperia P and Xperia U.

Incorporating the best of Sony technology and premium entertainment, the Xperia NXT series provide easy connectivity. These smartphones also have an instantly recognizable design with the “transparent element,” a band that encircles the base of the phone and also integrates invisible antenna components. The transparent element illuminates when receiving calls, texts and notifications.

Xperia S combines an amazing HD experience with an impressive viewing experience through the high resolution 4.3 inch display with Mobile BRAVIA® engine, a 12 MP camera that takes pictures in just 1.5 seconds from standby.

With a full aluminum unibody design, Xperia P debuts WhiteMagic™ display technology from Sony for the first time on a smartphone. WhiteMagic technology delivers the brightest viewing experience; whether at the beach or on the ski slopes. Smart power efficiency automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen to the surroundings to conserve battery life.

Xperia U combines powerful Sony entertainment with a stylish and compact design that consumers can personalize inside and out. In Xperia U, the transparent element illuminates to match the color of photos viewed in the gallery or the album art of music tracks currently playing. Xperia U can also be personalized with exchangeable color caps and themes. With xLoud and Sony 3D surround sound audio technology integrated into the music player, consumers will enjoy a crisp and loud sound experience. They can also stream music from their Xperia U to wireless speaks using DLNA.

Pricing & availability:

The Xperia NXT series is now available in the US at Sony stores nationwide and sony.com/NXT, Newegg.com and other online retailers. Please check with each retailer for additional pricing and availability.

  • Xperia S – MSRP $559.99, unlocked, in black or white
  • Xperia P – MSRP $479.99, unlocked, in silver, red or black
  • Xperia U – SRP $299.99, unlocked, in black or white

Network compatibility:

The Xperia™ NXT series are compatible with the network bands below.

Xperia S

  • UMTS HSPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100
  • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

Xperia P

  • UMTS HSPA 850/900/1900/2100
  • GSM GPRS EDGE 850/900/1800/1900

Xperia U

  • UMTS HSPA 850/1900/2100
  • GSM GPRS EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
 

Reader comments

Sony launches Xperia NXT series in the U.S., still running Gingerbread for now

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First...lol. Sony has it all wrong. Wrong marketing. They should just jump to JB instead of offering ICS as an upgrade

I am afraid that they don't have a clue.;)

I have seen the same behavior since the P990i days so the whole concept of releasing phones without updating them is very, very old and something that is a part of this particular brand.

When it comes to Android, we have the X10 with 1.6 as a good example and now those devices on Gingerbread.

The idea of selling unlocked products are very good but those are simply too outdated.

Maybe $50 too expensive across the board. Sony needs something to set it apart form the HTCs,Motos,and Samsungs.They need to offer "Nexus-type" devices running vanilla Android.UIX might be the lightest OS manufacturer overlay out there but going "Pure Google" would really separate them from the pack. Sony could always offer Mediascape & Timescape Apps thru the Google Play store.Let Sony focus on their great hardware while turning the OS responsibilities over to Google.

Full price in July 2012 for a phone that is not only running GB but is running an S3 chip?

Come on Sony, it's like you're asking for this thing to fail.

Gingerbread? Really? What is wrong with manufacturers these days... that's 2 versions behind... This is why I went with the G Nexus, always up to date on the OS's.

I played with an Experia S in a store today... The phone should have just ended above the transparent stripe... and it's too edgy -- a little rounder corners would've been better...