Android Central

Sony Mobile returns in late 2012 with a new design, and faster hardware in its most recent flagship smartphone, the Xperia T. If the Xperia T looks familiar, it might be because it's channeling a little of last year's Xperia Arc, with an elegant-flag front and a curved back. And while the Xperia T is heftier than its predecessor, it feels just as great in the hand. Hardware highlights include a Snapdragon S4 dual-core CPU at 1.5GHz, a impressively bright and clear Sony IPS-based HD Reality Display and a 13MP rear camera (check out our initial photo and video samples).

On the software side, we're unfortunately still running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, though Sony promises an upgrade to Jelly Bean in due course. Being a Sony phone, the Xperia T delivers an understated skin on top of ICS, with Sony-branded apps including a Walkman music player and PlayStation Mobile. Timescape returns to perform its social media duties, and Xperia Link allows an easy way to tether the device to a Sony tablet, if you have one.

On the whole, it's a solid high-end package from Sony, and a marked improvement upon early 2012 efforts like the Xperia S. We'll have a full review written up in the days ahead. In the meantime, check out our full hands-on video and photo gallery after the break.